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Contemplative in the midst of the world
Posted By Eric Sammons On July 13, 2009 @ 4:30 pm In Spirituality | Comments Disabled
Over the past few years, I have increasingly come to appreciate the importance of prayer in our daily lives. I have been told since I became a practicing Christian in high school that I must pray every day, yet for some reason I never took that seriously. I would often make attempts to pray more, but they would inevitably fail as the demands of my daily life (read: my laziness) interfered.
About five years ago, my attempts finally “stuck.” I eventually found that if I missed prayer in my day (for me, that involves at least Morning Prayer and a Rosary each day), I would notice it in my bones – my day felt incomplete. I have since come to see prayer as the lifeblood of every Christian – if you are not praying regularly, you are spiritually dead.
With that in mind, I found this interview with a lay Catholic contemplative  very interesting and educational. Some excerpts:
So you are a “mystic”?
Well, I used that word because that’s both the theological technical word as well as the popular term to refer to my “thing”. But I also shy away from the word “mystic” because in our popular context it gives rise to misunderstandings. Like with the word “metaphysics,” the word “mystic” has been tied to New Age mumbo-jumbo and emptied of its rational contents. I would prefer “person of prayer” or “contemplative.” Then again, I would rather be called “a normal Christian” because this is the life we Christians are called to live, a life of prayer.
What do you mean by this connection between being a “normal Christian” and living a “life of prayer.”
I mean that all Christians are called to pray, and to pray with intensity, to engage with God in a constant conversation.
So, it is not a matter of saying certain words or applying certain techniques.
Heavens, no! There’s no recitation of words, there’s no “technique” that can produce “contemplation.” Contemplation is a gift freely given by God. A person can’t presume to be “ready” for communion with God after saying a set number of prayers, rosaries, chaplets, novenas, or psalms; or after mastering certain psychosomatic techniques like quieting the breath and the mind. God is certainly not obligated to increase our consciousness of His indwelling merely because we think we are ready. What we can do is to be willing to engage Him in dialogue and to humiliate ourselves before Him, something that doesn’t come easy for most of us.
Then, there’s minimal discipline involved?
The Holy Spirit is a Spirit of order; an undisciplined prayer life, like a life of work and creativity, must include a healthy amount of discipline. The discipline start with a clear act of the commitment: one commits oneself to pray regularly. The best way to do this is to pray the Liturgy of the Hours. In this way one will be praying with the Church. Commit yourself to pray at least Morning or Evening Prayer every day. If you can commit to both it would be even better. Pretty soon and with His help the practice will grow in you. You’ll learn to desire it and will find out that your day would become incomplete without those set prayer times. Use them as your “jumping board” to a deeper prayer life with God in worship, adoration, and petition.
Isn’t that time consuming?
Not at all; a person can pray the Morning or Evening prayer properly and with devotion in 10 or 15 minutes. Some people would find even that amount as excessive. I pity them, particularly those who watch TV or are in the Internet for hours at an end but can’t spare 30 minutes to talk with their Father and Creator every day. Take it from me, if I can do it, anyone can. I am nothing special in this regard.
Be sure to read the entire interview  – it can help you draw closer to God. And isn’t that why we are here?
Article printed from Divine Life – A Blog by Eric Sammons: http://ericsammons.com/blog
URL to article: http://ericsammons.com/blog/2009/07/13/contemplative-in-the-midst-of-the-world/
URLs in this post:
 interview with a lay Catholic contemplative: http://vivificat1.blogspot.com/2009/07/interview-with-lay-catholic.html
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