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SJC13 – The Incipient Signs of the Grace of Contemplation – St. John of the Cross: Master of Contemplation with Fr. Donald Haggerty – Discerning Hearts Podcast
In this series Fr. Donald Haggerty and Kris McGregor discuss the depths of prayer as explored by St. John of the Cross, the Mystical Doctor of the Church.
An excerpt from St. John of the Cross: Master of Contemplation
We turn our attention now to one of the most important contributions to spirituality in the writings of Saint John of the Cross. This concerns the signs that indicate a need to discontinue the practice of discursive meditation and shift to a prayer of contemplation. Two things might be stressed before providing an extensive treatment of these signs. One is that a soul’s practice of meditation as a daily method of prayer is presumed in this teaching. A person has a regular commitment to silent prayer and is employing some method of reflective consideration on the Gospels or other parts of Scripture, as spoken of previously. The signs that Saint John of the Cross will identify make no sense except as a trial and struggle that enter into the prayer of meditation.
There is no encouragement here to forgo the preliminary effort of meditation, as though one might simply enter into a more graced and intimate relationship with God by leaping ahead into contemplative prayer as a favored method of prayer. The preliminary stages must be observed. A propaedeutic period of learning to pray reflectively in silence is indispensable. We have to learn to think about our Lord and the mysteries of faith in order to enter into deeper love for our God. This effort in turn must be accompanied by a serious pursuit of virtue and of faithfulness to the will of God. A life without a clear sacrificial dimension should not expect graces of contemplation in the interior life of prayer.
Haggerty, Donald. Saint John of the Cross: Master of Contemplation (p. 175). Ignatius Press. Kindle Edition.
For more episodes in this series visit Fr. Haggerty’s Discerning Hearts page here
You find the book on which this series is based here