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Carmelite Prayer

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Editor’s Note:  As we approach the Memorial of Our Lady of Mount Carmel this coming week, it is appropriate to consider a Carmelite prayer. Our Lord taught Saint Teresa a simple method of prayer. It is often called mental prayer. “I never knew what it was to get satisfaction and comfort out of prayer,” confesses the Saint, “until the Lord taught me this method – I beg of you to test... Read More

Celebrating St John Paul II’s Canonization — (Part 12)

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This post is part of a series of talks by Dr. Anthony Lilles celebrating St. John Paul II’s canonizaton, April 27th, Divine Mercy Sunday 2014. 12. Dr. Lilles on the Prayers of Pope John Paul II from Avila Institute on Vimeo. Video used with permission [Celebrating John Paul II's Canonization]. Editor’s Note:  For Dr. Lilles’ insights on prayer, don’t miss his new book, Hidden Mountain... Read More

Celebrating St John Paul II’s Canonization — (Part 11)

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This post is part of a series of talks by Dr. Anthony Lilles celebrating St. John Paul II’s canonizaton, April 27th, Divine Mercy Sunday 2014. 11. Dr. Lilles on an Unlikely Conversion from Avila Institute on Vimeo.   Video used with permission [Celebrating John Paul II's Canonization]. Editor’s Note:  For Dr. Lilles’ insights on prayer, don’t miss his new book, Hidden Mountain... Read More

Celebrating Blessed John Paul II’s Canonization (Part 4)

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 This post is part of a series of talks by Dr. Anthony Lilles celebrating the upcoming canonization of Blessed John Paul II on this coming Sunday, April 27th, Divine Mercy Sunday 2014. 4. Dr. Lilles on the Message of Hope from Avila Institute on Vimeo. Video used with permission [Celebrating Blessed John Paul II's Canonization]. Editor’s Note:  For Dr. Lilles’ insights on prayer, don’t... Read More

Dryness in Prayer – God’s Part in the Struggle (Part III of III)

April 14, 2014 by  
Filed under Aridity or Dryness, Fr. Bartunek, Prayer

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Editor’s Note:  In Part I, we talked about what is going on with dryness in prayer.  In the second installment of this series, we addressed our part in the struggle.  Today, we will look at God’s part in the struggle. A reader asks: Dear Father John, I have been praying (mental prayer) for a long time.  But lately I seem to be experiencing dryness in my prayer – I just don’t... Read More

How can I better prepare for prayer and meditation?

February 24, 2014 by  
Filed under Fr. Bartunek, Meditation, Mental Prayer, Prayer

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Q: Dear Father John, in the first part of your book, The Better Part, you mention something about preparing for tomorrow’s meditation the night before. I also heard that mentioned by a priest giving us a talk during a retreat. Can you explain this a little bit more? What do you mean, exactly, and is that something just for religious and priests, or should I be doing it too? A: It seems to me that... Read More

Saint Bernard’s Four Kinds of Contemplation

February 8, 2014 by  
Filed under Anthony Lilles, Contemplation, Featured, Prayer

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At the end of his treatise on contemplation (also known as his treatise On Consideration), Saint Bernard of Clairvaux observes the dimensions of Christian mental prayer.  Specifically, when Saint Paul prays in Ephesians 3:18 that we might come to comprehend and be filled with the breadth and length, height and depth of the fullness of God revealed in the love of Christ, Saint Bernard sees four kinds... Read More

St. Teresa, should I strive to quiet my mind during prayer?

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Q: Dear Saint Teresa, I have read a number of books on prayer that advocate methods of suppressing, shutting down, or eliminating thinking all together during prayer.  In one centering prayer book it said to “let your thoughts go” and that “thoughts are a normal part of prayer.” Even though the book claimed that it was not teaching to eliminate thoughts, in the end, the method... Read More

Mental Prayer – Spiritual Dictionary

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MENTAL PRAYER: The form of prayer in which the sentiments expressed are one’s own and not those of another person, and the expression of these sentiments is mainly, if not entirely, interior and not externalized (e.g. not vocalized).  Mental prayer is accomplished by internal acts of the mind and affections that are a loving and discursive (reflective) consideration of religious truths or some... Read More

Meditation – Navigating the Interior Life Spiritual Dictionary

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MEDITATION: Reflective prayer.  It is that form of mental prayer in which the mind, in God’s presence, thinks about God and divine things.  While the affections may also be active, the stress in meditation is on the role of the intellect.  Hence this is also called discursive mental prayer.  The objects of meditation are mainly three: mysteries of faith; a person’s better knowledge... Read More

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