CP13 – Awareness of God’s Presence in Prayer – Reflections from Contemplative Provocations by Fr. Donald Haggerty – Discerning Hearts Catholic Podcasts

Reflection 13 – Awareness of God’s Presence in Prayer – Reflections from Contemplative Provocations by Fr. Donald Haggerty – Discerning Hearts Catholic Podcasts

The mind cannot think about God in prayer in a way that will ensure a contact between our soul and God. No thought in itself, even the thought that he is looking at us with love, brings him closer. Only a thought accompanied by a blind, passionate desire toward God can do so. And then we are not merely thinking about God.

A refinement of attention is necessary if we are to seek God from a greater silence in our soul. But this cannot be simply the discipline of a mental effort. If we are to find a richer silence in prayer, it is because Jesus Christ has taken greater possession of our inner life. He has a tighter hold upon us. Attention to God in prayer is inseparable from love for him. It is because of love that we listen better in the silence of prayer. With love we wait more patiently upon his divine voice. We come to know only by love that silence is the secret language he prefers when expressing his own love for us.

We must strike a balance in prayer between taking up a thought about God and striving for a real encounter with God. The encounter in love is the purpose of prayer. It goes beyond what engages the mind in prayer. Unfortunately we can place a thought of God before our mind as we might lay an object of interest on a table, where it lies still and unmoving, ready for viewing. On the other hand, there are thoughts which enhance the possibility of a loving encounter with God—that God seeks our soul, that he wants to give himself, that he abandons himself to us inasmuch as he is sought. These thoughts, when pondered, cannot remain fixed and immobile, examined simply as thoughts. They urge our soul to offer itself in turn, fearless and bold before God’s drawing attraction. God wants to give himself to us at this very hour. Unfailingly, this thought can enhance our own offering to God.

Haggerty, Donald. Contemplative Provocations: Brief, Concentrated Observations on Aspects of a Life with God (pp. 84-86). Ignatius Press. Kindle Edition.

Discerning Hearts Daily Contemplative Prompts

How can you differentiate in your own prayer life between merely thinking about God as an abstract concept and actively seeking a real, loving encounter with Him?

Consider the role that desire and love play in transforming your prayer from a mental exercise into a heartfelt communion with God.

In what ways can you cultivate a more profound silence and attention in your prayer to allow Jesus Christ to take greater possession of your inner life, thereby fostering a deeper relationship with God?

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A great many religious people undertake a serious dedication to prayer. They are moved by a longing for a deeper encounter with God that beckons them as a distant light at night on the sea. Yet far fewer become true contemplative souls, for it is difficult to continue the quest for God in the face of many obstacles.

For those who are spiritually courageous and full of desire for God, this book will provoke them to persevere in this ultimate adventure in life-the more complete discovery of the living God. Thematically unified by the notion of God’s ultimate transcendence to our limited human knowledge, this work offers a rich profusion of insights on the life of prayer and the pursuit of God.

A key to spiritual growth is the understanding that the hiddenness of God becomes a paradox in the experience of a soul seeking him wholeheartedly. Rather than enjoying a more intimate familiarity with God, the soul advancing in prayer is likely to experience more intensely the concealment of God. This surprising truth undergirds true contemplative prayer. It is a reason why every contemplative soul, and every saint, is inflamed with a never satisfied thirst for God.