COLUMNS: GETTING TO THE HEART OF THE MATTER

by Sister Mary Lucy Astuto

Conversational Prayer

    Many spiritual writers have written extensively about prayer. They have expounded on the meaning of the OUR FATHER; they have explained the different KINDS of prayers; they have stated in detail HOW to pray.

    Verily, there are different ways to pray. One can engage in VOCAL prayer; that is, praying preformatted prayers, i.e., the Our Father, Hail Mary, Act of Contrition, etc. One can engage in MEDITATION, which is, thinking about a certain truth found in Scripture or Catholic teaching in order to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of it. (It should lead us to prayer from the heart.) One can engage in LITURGICAL prayer, such as Holy Mass or praying the Divine Office. There are prayers of PRAISE, such as that engaged in by many charismatics. And then there is CONTEMPLATION, "...the simple expression of the mystery of prayer. It is a gaze of faith fixed on Jesus, an attentiveness to the Word of God, a silent love. It achieves real union with the prayer of Christ to the extent that it makes us share in His mystery." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 2724)

    Yet any or all of the above forms of prayer (volumes of which could be written about each) can and ideally should lead to CONVERSATIONAL prayer. This is simply TALKING TO GOD, or Our Lady, the angels or the saints. It is talking to them as we would talk to our best friends, about anything no matter how small or insignificant, great or impossible. How do friends talk to each other? They share their joys and sorrows, their successes and failures. They "open" their hearts to each other.

    Conversational prayer can happen at home, our place of employment, while driving our cars, anyplace, anytime, anywhere. We can ďconversateĒ with Our Lord in the silence of our hearts or out loud when we are alone. I frequently do this. I take care of my elderly mother (for whom I request your prayers). Her hearing is very waned. I can walk around the house talking out loud to God and my mother canít hear me. I like that! I talk to Our Lord about the most insignificant things at hand: what Iíve done, need to do, failed to do, my friends, my enemies. I often just say: "Jesus, I love You!"

    By engaging in CONVERSATIONAL prayer, we can carry out Our Lordís directive: "Pray always!" And it is one of the easiest ways to pray with our hearts.

    Iíve been reading a small book about conversational prayer by Brother Craig Driscoll. I highly recommend it to you. Brother Craig does a great job of explaining all the many ways you can simply converse with God. This book is so easy to read, but so profoundly accurate and sound in its spiritual direction.

    Give yourself a gift. You can secure the book directly from Brother Driscoll at: The Monks of Adoration, PO Box 546, Petersham, MA 01366-0546 Tel: (508) 724-8871 or from Queenship Publishing Company at: PO Box 42028, Santa Barbara, CA 93140-2028 (800) 647-9882.

    God bless you!


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