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 it.”
The method is this: we know God is everywhere, but He dwells in the human heart in a special manner. Close your eyes, then and look at Him, present there within you. This look is already a prayer. This simple gaze gives glory to God. The whole problem, Saint Teresa teaches us, comes from our not really grasping the fact that He is within us: “How is it, Lord, that we do not look at Thy face when it is so near us?”
“Look at Him; keep Him company; talk with Him. Do not be foolish – speak with Him as with a Father, a Brother, sometimes in one way sometimes in another.”
This manner of praying brings with it a thousand blessings. “Before long,” says Teresa, “you will see how you gain. There will be a gradual gaining of mastery over oneself. The soul will be stronger for the fight.”
“You will be laying a good foundation so that if the Lord desires to raise you to achieve great things He will find you ready because you will be close to Him.”
“Gently recall your mind when it wanders . . . unceasingly gather up again your scattered spirit. Turn your inward eye once more towards Him . . . persevere with an unconquered heart.”
“During the day quietly prepare for prayer-time: in the midst of work recall, if only for a moment, your Divine Companion; go about your duties in a quiet way.”
Art and post from the website of the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus of Los Angeles. Used with permission.
Feature image art: Detail from Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Pietro Novelli, 1641, author’s life plus 100 years or less, Wikimedia Commons.