Thursday, April 6, 2017
Live Today Well, Chapter 11...
I really needed this chapter, because although I think of God often throughout the day, I feel like I don't dedicate enough time to set aside, quiet prayer. My mind is always whirling, and I squeeze prayer time in (when I remember to) around all of that. Not exactly a stellar model. And so what does Salesian tradition have to say to help us out in this regard?
The Salesian model is based on meditation for prayer time. This is defined as:
"...a prayer of the mind and heart. It follows the example of Jesus, who at important moments in his public ministry would often go off by himself to a quiet place to pray and thus to be in communion with the Father and the Spirit...Conceived as a form of inspired imagining, it focuses more on listening to God than on speaking to God."
To prepare for this type of prayer, St. Francis recommends the following:
(1) Presence. We focus on God's presence by recalling that He is everywhere, that he is indeed present within us, and that He is gazing down on us from heaven. We should also picture Christ near us by imaging him walking beside us.
(2) Imagination. I love this step. We can use our imagination to focus on a particular place or scene in which God acts, such as in a biblical story. We could picture ourselves being present at the Last Supper, or the healing of the woman. This makes it easier for us to imagine Christ working in our own lives, in the present day.
(3) Consideration. Now, we allow the Spirit to guide us from thought and feeling, into action. Based upon what we just re-imagined in our minds of how God worked in the lives of other people, and knowing that He is present with us (albeit in a different way), how might He want us to act now?
(4) Affection. When we think of our affection for the Lord, it inspires us to act in holy ways.
(5) Resolution. With all of this in mind, we make a resolution to act in a certain way that aligns our human reality with the divine mystery we have envisioned:
"Devotion, according to St. Francis de Sales, is not simply a thought or a feeling. The good life is one that is lived!"
Amen, am I right?!
St. Francis also promotes a form of prayer called aspirations, in which you repeat short sayings to yourself as you move through your day. Such as "Jesus, I trust in you." I enjoy this form of prayer as well, since it lends itself nicely to my always preoccupied state of mind. ;-)
What did you all think of this chapter on prayer? Will you incorporate any of the suggestions into your day? I'm going to try and work on the imagination part more, and allow my mind to be quiet while doing so. For Holy Week, we move on to virtues! Please do post your prayer thoughts in the comments. :)