Questions and Answers
In this page, different questions concerning mental prayer are presented with the answer. These answers might help other people as well.
What else can be done during mental prayer?
I would like to advance in a progressive union with God. In the method you gave, you explained that we must first silence all our earthly or worldly desires and then make acts of faith by regularly coming back to a truth of the faith. I am wondering what is to be done between these two things. Most of the time, I don’t think of anything or I imagine the Quinternity or I talk to them. What is the best way to contemplate God?
It’s wonderful that you should want to progress in mental prayer! You are doing the right thing in your way of going about it. Yes, use your imagination. You can read a passage in Life of Love or from the Gospels and then meditate on what you read. You imagine the scene; you imagine yourself imitating Jesus, Marie-Paule or some other saint; you try to arouse within you the same desires, the same feelings as they had so as to then be able to imitate them better.
When you talk with God, believe that He hears you, that the entire heavenly court hears you. Offer yourself up for the salvation of souls. If you write down the prayers you say concerning your future, keeping in mind the glory of God, you will come across them again someday and then you will be quite astonished to see just to what extent your prayers were heard! That might take ten years, but God always fulfills our prayers, and one day, He leads us to understand this. He is infinitely good and He loves us without measure… and that’s so true!
During mental prayer, you can also recite very slowly a beautiful prayer that already exists and which you know, such as the Lord’s Prayer, and think of the words you are saying, think of the One you are talking to and think of who you are before the Persons of the Quinternity.
“I am nothing, but you are everything. Everything comes from you. I love you!”
Then too, every day is different, so that we must discover what is best for us each time. Then, when the times of mental prayer seem to have been useless, remember that, in reality, it is quite the opposite. You mustn’t trust what you feel or what your feelings are indicating, but trust in the Truth, make acts of faith. If you are able to be near the Eucharist, the Truth in person is there, the Word of God. Here is a sentence from Him:
“All that the Father gives me shall come to me,
no one who comes will I ever reject,
because it is not to do my own will
that I have come down from heaven,
but to do the will of him who sent me.”
In this quotation from the Gospel according to Saint John, note that Jesus cannot reject a person who approaches Him in the Eucharist or simply through a real desire to be united with Him.
Finally, with regard to contemplating God, this is a bit like what happens to us when we see a breathtaking landscape. We are taken hold of and captivated by the beauty that suddenly appears before us.
In the case of divine contemplation, the Love and Goodness of God is what is at the center and captivates or grips the soul. Usually, that doesn’t happen very often at the beginning of the spiritual life, but is consistently present in the soul that has reached the unitive life. God’s action produces it.
(Other questions and answers will follow…)