BTP11 – Heaven In Faith: Day 6 Prayer 1 by St. Elizabeth of the Trinity – Beginning to Pray with Dr. Anthony Lilles – Discerning Hearts Podcasts

Episode 11 – “Heaven in Faith”  Day 6 Prayer 1  – “To Approach God, We Must Believe”

In this episode, Dr. Anthony Lilles and Kris McGregor discuss the importance of faith in prayer and the true nature of encountering God. They reflect on the writings of Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity, particularly focusing on the disposition required to receive the Eucharist and the essence of living faith.

Faith is not about achieving a certain psychological state or feeling good, but rather it is about communion with God. Regardless of whether one feels God’s presence or not, faith connects the soul with the substance of God himself. Faith allows access to God, transcending any technique or method. While techniques like the Jesus prayer or the rosary are beneficial, they are secondary to the access to God through faith.

The Samaritan woman’s encounter with Jesus, highlights that faith is a gift that ignites a deep desire for God in the soul. This desire for God surpasses any human effort or technique. Faith is also seen as a journey guided by love, leading believers into the heart of the Father.

Encountering God in prayer is encountering a person, not just an abstract idea or feeling. This encounter fills every void and stands behind all jubilation. It is described as a dance where believers learn the steps through techniques but ultimately surrender to God’s lead, allowing His presence to pierce their hearts.

We are reminded of the centrality of faith in prayer, emphasizing a trust-filled relationship with Jesus as the key to experiencing God’s exceeding love.

From “Heaven in Faith: Day 6 Prayer 1”:

“To approach God we must believe.” Thus speaks St. Paul. He also says, “Faith is the substance of things to be hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” That is “faith makes so present and so certain future goods, that by it, they take on existence in our soul and subsist there before we have fruition of them.” St. John of the Cross says that it serves as “feet” to go “to God,” and that it is “possession in an obscure manner.” “It alone can give us true light” concerning Him whom we love, and our soul must “choose it as the means to reach blessed union.” “It pours out in torrents in the depths of our being all spiritual goods. Christ, speaking to the Samaritan woman, indicated faith when He promised to all those who would believe in Him that He would give them ‘a fountain of water springing up unto life everlasting.’” “Thus even in this life faith gives us God, covered, it is true, with a veil but nonetheless God Himself.” “When that which is perfect comes,” that is, clear vision, then “that which is imperfect,” in other words, knowledge given through faith, “will receive all its perfection.”

Elizabeth of the Trinity. The Complete Works of Elizabeth of the Trinity, vol. 1 (featuring a General Introduction and Major Spiritual Writings) (Elizabeth of the Trinity Complete Work) (p. 101). ICS Publications. Kindle Edition.


Discerning Hearts Reflection Questions

  1. Understanding Faith in Prayer: How do the speakers define faith in prayer, according to the teachings of Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity?
  2. The Gift of Encounter: Reflect on the Samaritan woman’s encounter with Jesus. What does this story teach about the gift of faith and its role in deepening our relationship with God?
  3. Faith as a Journey Guided by Love: Discuss the concept of faith as a journey guided by love. How does this perspective reshape our understanding of prayer and our relationship with God?
  4. Encountering God as a Person: What does it mean to encounter God as a person in prayer, as opposed to simply seeking a certain psychological state or feeling? How does this perspective transform our approach to prayer?
  5. The Dance of Prayer: Explore the metaphor of prayer as a dance, where believers learn steps through techniques but ultimately surrender to God’s lead. How can we apply this metaphor to our own prayer lives?
  6. Trusting in God’s Love: Reflect on the importance of trusting in God’s love, even in the midst of challenges or uncertainties. How can we deepen our trust in God’s love through prayer and daily life?
  7. Applying the Lessons to Our Prayer Lives: How can we integrate the insights from this episode into our personal prayer lives? What practical steps can we take to cultivate a deeper, more trusting relationship with God?

We would like to thank Miriam Gutierrez for providing “the voice” of St. Elizabeth for this series

For other episodes in the series visit the Discerning Hearts page for Dr. Anthony Lilles

Anthony Lilles, S.T.D., has served the Church and assisted in the formation of clergy and seminarians since 1994. Before coming to St. Patrick’s, he served at seminaries and houses of formation in the Archdiocese of Denver and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. The son of a California farmer, married with young adult children, holds a B.A. in theology from the Franciscan University of Steubenville with both the ecclesiastical licentiate and doctorate in spiritual theology from the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas in Rome (the Angelicum). An expert in the writings of St. Elizabeth of the Trinity and the Carmelite Doctors of the Church, he co-founded the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation and the High Calling Program for priestly vocations. He also founded the John Paul II Center for Contemplative Culture, which hosts symposiums, retreats, and conferences. In addition to his publications, he blogs at .

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