Session 4

This video gives an introduction to the stages of the Spiritual life.

There are three major expressions of prayer (CCC 2699):

1) Vocal prayer

2) Mental prayer or Meditation

3) Contemplative prayer

See the excellent videos below on these three major expression by my partner and cofounder, Deacon Omar Gutierrez.

See the handouts for some great materials to help you with your prayer life.

The three stages and the nine grades of prayer:

 

Reflecting on the stages graph, it is important to note that this is a visual help, but that these aren't always "linear," so to speak. For example, even if someone were to be in the unitive stage, they would still make use of vocal prayer. As stated in the video above, my main purpose is to highlight that there is a goal of the spiritual life and we are all called to the heights of holiness and to advanced forms of prayer and union with God, even in this life.

Click the button below for a more detailed description of the different grades of prayer:

 

 

The KEY to advancing in the Spiritual life is the daily practice of mental prayer or meditation, which can be defined as...

A reasoned application of the mind to some supernatural truth in order to penetrate its meaning, love it, and carry it out with the assistance of grace.

                                                           (Jordan Aumann, Spiritual Theology, p. 318)

 

The spiritual masters are unanimous in stating that the key to advancing in the spiritual life is the regular practice of mental prayer or meditation. 

 

So, let's not delay :-)

THE LIFE OF PRAYER

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states in paragraph 2697:

Prayer is the life of the new heart. It ought to animate us at every moment. But we tend to forget him who is our life and our all. This is why the Fathers of the spiritual life. . . insist that prayer is a remembrance of God often awakened by the memory of the heart "We must remember God more often than we draw breath." But we cannot pray "at all times" if we do not pray at specific times, consciously willing it These are the special times of Christian prayer, both in intensity and duration.

Challenge questions:

 

Why do we tend to forget him who is our life and our all?

How can you set aside specific times for prayer, especially mental prayer or meditative prayer?

Deacon Omar's excellent descriptions of the three major expressions of prayer along with a video on prayer trends to avoid.

Vocal Prayer
Contemplative Prayer
Mental Prayer
Trends to Avoid

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