Monday, January 5, 2009

I reached a milestone

I reached a milestone in my Rosary-journey at the Irish Dominican College in Rome, when I came upon an the old precious book entitled, Le Triple Rosaire, by Pere Bernard, OP of Toulouse. It is a veritable mine of information. It proved to be an exciting stepping stone in my path to stillness and the discovery of the real secret of meditation, or to call it by the more traditional Western title, contemplation. The author does not deny the need for preaching and meditation and study but he insists that, at the actual time of praying the Rosary, a person moving into a prayer of simple union with God, leaves aside all anxiety about carefully worked out mental images or desires.

“These things,” he says, “dispose us for the Divine presence, but at prayer-time they no longer occupy the fore-front of our minds. This work has already been done. Now you are invited to rest in the Lord himself.”

Fr. Bernard then gives the following delightful comment: “Imagine a King who summons his two sons to reveal to them the secrets of his heart. One passes quickly through the ante-rooms to hasten to the throne-room. The other dallies on the way looking at the works of art, and never reaches the King. How much better to see the King than to be dazzled by his treasures.”

Many of those called to be contemplatives in the Rosary act like this.They try to be attentive and make sure that thoughts match up with words. But in the evening of life, as relationship has grown deep and strong, what matters is attention to the person who is present. That is true of ordinary conversation and it is true of the divine conversation of prayer. Strangers tend to talk and be careful of their speech. Intimate friends long to sit in silence and attend to each other. Reminds one of the disciples who asked: “Where do you dwell? and received the reply: “Come and see.”
Calm soul of all things!
Make it mine
To feel, amid the city’s jar
That there abides a peace of thine,
Man did not make
and cannot mar.

Lines written by Mathew Arnold in Kensington Gardens

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