The anatomy of mental prayer.

The anatomy of mental prayer.

Excerpt from Chastity: The Angelic Virtue

Mental prayer in my opinion is nothing else than an intimate sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with Him who we know loves us.” + St. Teresa of Avila

Mental prayer in general is an interior and silent prayer, by which the soul raises itself to God without the aid of words or formulas.  Mental prayer comprises three parts; the preparation, the body of the meditation, and the conclusion.

 1) The preparation essentially consists in placing oneself in God’s presence.

 2)  The body of the meditation is the chief part of this exercise.  We reflect on a subject, we turn it over in our mind again and again in order to become thoroughly impressed by it.  This work of the mind is not yet prayer, it is only introductory.  The other half is reserved for acts of the will which constitute the prayer proper; where certain affections arise of their own accord from the reflections we have been just making; thus, Our Saviour’s Passion excites love, gratitude, confidence, contrition, humility, etc.  The examination of ourselves gives rise to regret for the past and strong resolutions for the future. 

 3)  The conclusion consists in thanking God for the graces He has granted us during our prayer and recommend to Him our resolution. 

To sum up then, after having placed ourselves in the Divine presence, we reflect upon a pious subject, examine ourselves, form suitable affections and petitions, make a resolution, and, having thanked God, we retire.  According to the beautiful doctrine of Monsignor Olier, mental prayer is a communion with the internal dispositions of Our Lord. 


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