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Begin the Prayer »

Something to think and pray about this week

How I Pray

…I confess that personal prayer has accompanied me through the years, steadily and usually daily. Often it was careless, poorly prepared, skimped, rushed and so on. But it has also been a source of depth, joy, strength and I dare say love. That has been particularly true in this year of serious illness, probably because I had the time and the quiet to enjoy the presence of God. St Ignatius of Loyola surprises people with his claim that consolation is normal and desolation abnormal. He implies that God delights in people, as the Bible says. All I can say is that my everyday times of silence (never very lengthy, often just 30 minutes) have left me blessed and ready for life. And yet they are hard to describe or communicate for others.  I usually started from some ‘self-gathering’. The other constant was some starting point in scripture. Often just a phrase or two. Enough to awaken a sense of promise and of presence. Then sometimes it was enough to rest there, to let the heart learn its own way.  But the scope of prayer is not rest, but movement, change, transformation, ultimately love learned from the action of the Spirit. Before concluding, and following the guidance of Ignatius again, I usually made it more conversational, as if speaking to Our Lady or Jesus or the Father (or some of the Saints). The focus here is to ask more concretely to live what I have glimpsed in the gift of being with God in prayer.

Excerpted from Into Extra Time – Living Through the Final Stages of Cancer and Jottings Along the Way by Michael Paul Gallagher SJ
(pp 40-41)