Sunday, November 7, 2010

Chapter XXI: Importance of Setting out on the Road to Prayer with Firm Resolution

We must not be dismayed at the number of things we have to consider before setting out on this Divine Journey which is the royal road to Heaven.  By taking this road we gain such precious treasures that it is no wonder if the cost seems to us as high as one.  The time will come when we realize that all we have paid is as nothing at all by comparison to the greatness of our prize.

For those whose goal is to drunk the water of life, which is contemplation, it is all important that they begin well and most determined resolve not to halt until they reach their goal, whatever may come, whatever may happen to them, however hard  they may have to labor, whoever may complain of them, whether they reach their goal or die on the road, or have no heart to confront the trials they meet, or whether the world dissolves around them.

We must take notice of those who try to discourage us by saying such thing as, "it may lead to delusion"; "We should stick to our spinning"; "It is quite enough to say the Pater Noster (Our Father) and the Ave Maria (Hail Mary)."

Of course it is not enough!  Were it not for our great weakness and the lukewarmness of our devotion, there would be no need for any other systems of prayer or for any books at all.  But I am speaking to those who are unable to recollect themselves by meditating upon other mysteries, and who think they need special methods of prayer.  So I think I shall start to lay down some rules for each part of our prayer, beginning, middle, and end; though I shall not spend long on the other higher stages for I have already written about them.

I have always been found of the words of the Gospels and have found more recollection in them than in the most carefully planned books;  specially books who's authors were not fully approved.

If I keep close to the master of Wisdom, He will help me to explain.  Consulting a great many books may well kill our devotion, when we are most anxious to nurture it.

Pay no heed, then, to those who try to frighten you by depicting the perils of the way.  If this royal road, the safe road trodden by our King and by His elect and His saints - is so full of danger, what of the danger those who are not even on the road?  How incomparably greater the risk they run!

Prayer is the duty of religious;  God forbid that it should be dangerous.  There is one great blessing -- you will always find a few people who will help and encourage you;  and if one or two are fearlessly following the better path, the Lord regains what is lost.

Cease troubling about these fears;  This is not the time for believing everyone; believe only on those whom you see modeling their lives on the life of Christ.  Endeavor always to have a good conscience;  practice humility;  despise all worldly things,  believe firmly in the teachings of our Holy Mother the Church.  If anyone should try to discourage you, tell him that you have a Rule which commands you to pray without ceasing, to practice mental prayer, and even contemplation, if God should grant it to you.


The Way of perfection

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