March 2015: Tend
Prayer inspired by Teresa of Avila
There is no method as such for contemplative prayer - whatever works. Not elitist.
Prayer as conversation and friendship.
Could be many things that create the conversation - nature, reading, imagination, gospel story, visualising gospel story, holy picture, letter to God etc...
Centred on Christ
Has 4 stages of prayer which build on image of a garden and tending and watering it.
Welcome prayer and psalm
“A beginner must look at him or herself as one setting out to make a garden for the Lord’s pleasure on most unfruitful soil which abounds in weeds.”
Set up space with garden - plants, white roots, compost, soil, food rubbish, watering can, hose, etc
Use metaphor to give some input to spark imagination for prayer later.
Include Teresa’s 4 types of watering - well (watering can), windlass (hose), stream/irrigation, gentle rain
Give some short background to Teresa and focus on the garden as a metaphor for prayer and mention stages of watering. Later when it comes to conversation people can use this to interact with or as a focus for conversation.
Space for prayer as conversation with God
20 minutes for conversation individually with God drawing on any approach that appeals - could be:
passage of scripture to read as basis -John 4; John 15
passage of scripture to visualise -John 4, John 15
holy picture - art books
art - draw a garden and talk to God about it
nature - go outside or have some flowers
In groups discuss how you found prayer above
Prayer of quiet
“All that the soul has to do at these times of quiet is merely to be calm and make no noise...
It dares not move or stir for fear that this blessing may slip through its fingers; sometimes it is afraid even to breathe.... If the state of quiet is deep it is difficult and painful to speak.”
Silence and dim lights to candles in bags
Prayers of Teresa
church has no body but yours... etc
I tried as hard as I could to bring the presence of Jesus Christ, my Lord and my God, into my heart and through and this was my method of prayer. If I thought of any incident in his life I represented it to myself within me.
Mental prayer as I see it is simply a friendly intercourse and frequent solitary conversation with him who as we know loves us.
I also find it helpful to look at fields, water of flowers. These reminded me of the creator. I mean they woke me and brought me to a recollected state and served me as a book.
A beginner must look at him or herself as one setting out to make a garden for the Lord’s pleasure on most unfruitful soil which abounds in weeds.
Beginners in prayer find it very tiring to keep the senses recollected when they are used to a life of distraction... They should endeavour to meditate on the life of Christ.
(meditating on a scene in the life of Christ) We should occupy ourselves if we can by gazing at him who is gazing at us and should keep him company and talk with him and pray to him and humble ourselves and delight in him...
The prayer of quiet:
All that the soul has to do at these times of quiet is merely to be calm and make no noise...
It dares not move or stir for fear that this blessing may slip through its fingers; sometimes it is afraid even to breathe.... If the state of quiet is deep it is difficult and painful to speak.