…which I totally stole from St. John Vianney, who was quoting a man in his parish, but that’s besides the point.
I’ve been doing a reading plan with my friend to finish the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) in a year. I’m super behind in my reading, but I’m kinda glad, because it led me to this reflection. The reading was about contemplative prayer, and it may have been the most beautiful thing ever (check out CCC 2709-2719). For those that don’t know, contemplative prayer “is a gaze of faith fixed on Jesus, an attentiveness to the Word of God, a silent love” (CCC 2724). There was one paragraph that really stuck out to me:
“One does not undertake contemplative prayer only when one has the time: one makes time for the Lord, with the firm determination not to give up, no matter what trials and dryness one may encounter. One cannot always meditate, but one can always enter into inner prayer, independently of the conditions of health, work, or emotional state. The heart is the place of this quest and encounter, in poverty and in faith.” CCC 2710
This paragraph specifically hit me because I had also just been reading Rediscover Catholicism, specifically the part about Saint John Paul II and his after-communion prayer. No matter where he was saying Mass, whether privately or with millions of people, he always knelt and prayed after receiving the Eucharist. He found the place deep within him that connected with God and transported. He was locked-in with God, regardless of the potential distractions.
I wanted to find that place within myself. I tend to be easily distracted, and I immediately yearned to find the place where I could be locked-in with God, distraction-less.
The CCC reading on contemplative prayer totally went hand-in-hand. This spot within me where I go for contemplative prayer, that gaze on Jesus… that’s my place. I sat in adoration this morning with this sense of awe. I’ve found the place. I don’t need to search for it, because I know how to be locked-in with the gaze of Jesus. I just need to fight to be fully locked-in. I need to work on being able to go to that place of contemplative prayer no matter the chaos or noise or distraction going on around me, yet I know that this is not something I can do on my own; I will need to rely on God’s grace. I need to fight and ask the Holy Spirit for the strength to completely surrender to the Lord and forget about the world around me as He captures my heart.
In Scripture, the Lord commands us to be still to know that He is God (Psalm 46:10). In a world of motion, I need to fight to be still so that the Father can strengthen my “inner being with power through His Spirit” (CCC 2714). I need to be silent with the Lord so that He can strengthen me, guide me, ground me in love… but I have to fight for this silence.
I’m ready. I’m up for the challenge. Are you?