Sunday, October 31, 2004

He who dwells

in the shelter of the Most High,
who abides in the shadow of the Almighty,
will say to the LORD,
"My refuge and my fortress;
my God, in whom I trust."

For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence;
he will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.

You will not fear the terror of the night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.

A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand;
but it will not come near you.

You will only look with your eyes
and see the recompense of the wicked.

Because you have made the LORD your refuge,
the Most High your habitation,
no evil shall befall you,
no scourge come near your tent.

For he will give his angels charge of you
to guard you in all your ways.
On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you dash your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the adder,
the young lion and the serpent
you will trample under foot.

Because he cleaves to me in love,
I will deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows my name.
When he calls to me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will rescue him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him,
and show him my salvation.
Psalm 91
Abbey of Our Lady of Calvary monastery - Rogersville, NB (Canada)

Saint Michael the Archangel

defend us in battle;
be our protection
against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray:
and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host,
by the power of God,
thrust into hell Satan and all the evil spirits
who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.

Saint Michael the Archangel

Sancte Michael Archangele,
defende nos in proelio;
contra nequitiam et insidias diaboli
esto praesidium.
Imperet illi Deus, supplices deprecamur:
tuque, Princeps militiae Caelestis,
satanam aliosque spiritus malignos,
qui ad perditionem animarum pervagantur in mundo,
divina virtute in infernum detrude.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Preserve me, O God

I take refuge in you.

Praying for world peace

I say to the Lord: You are my God.
My happiness lies in You alone.

He has put into my heart a marvelous love
for the faithful ones who dwell in His land.
Psalm 16:1-3

Praying alone for the world

"The heart, however, is not narrowed but enlarged by intimacy with God, so that it is able to embrace in him the hopes and difficulties of the world, and the great causes of the Church (of which it is fitting that monks should have some knowledge).

"Nevertheless our concern for the welfare of men, if it is true, should express itself, not by the satisfying of our curiosity, but by our remaining closely united to Christ.

"Let each one, therefore, listen to the Spirit within him, and determine what he can admit into his mind without harm to interior conversation with God."
Statutes of the Carthusian Order, Book 1, Chapter 6, number 6

Friday, October 29, 2004

How sweet are thy words unto my taste!

yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

Through thy precepts I get understanding:
therefore I hate every false way.

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet,
and a light unto my path.

Psalm 119:103-104

Read well... and live

"First of all, lest we uselessly fritter away our religious life in cell, we should, at once with zeal and discretion, devote ourselves to studies fitting to us; and this, not from an itching desire for learning, nor from a wish to publish books, but because wisely ordered reading endows the mind with greater steadiness and provides a foundation for the contemplation of heavenly things.

"For they are mistaken who think that they can easily attain to interior union with God, while having previously neglected the study of the Word of God, or later abandoned it altogether.

"Intent, then, on the rich substance of truth rather than the froth of words, let us scrutinize the divine mysteries with that desire to know which both springs from love and in turn inflames love."

Statutes of the Carthusian Order, Book 1, Chapter 5, number 2

Chartreuse de Portes

Thursday, October 28, 2004

And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost

returned from Jordan
and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness...

Luke 4:1

Charterhouse of Portes - France

God has led us into solitude

"to speak to our heart.

Let our heart then be a living altar
from which there constantly ascends before God
pure prayer,
with which all our acts should be imbued."
Statutes of the Carthusian Order, Book I, Chapter 4, number 11.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

I remember thy name in the night, O LORD

and keep thy law.
Psalm 119:55

Night prayer

is the last “hour” of the Liturgy of the Hours (it is also known as “Compline”).

The Daughters of St. Paul single volume Christian Prayer: the Liturgy of the Hours includes all of Night Prayer. has substantial parts of Night Prayer online.

(UPDATE - The complete texts for all of the Liturgy of the Hours for each day [U.S. edition] are available at

Night Prayer is a spiritually moving and enriching way to end the day. It is a good habit to take up just before going to bed.

It begins in the same way as the other hours

God, come to my assistance
Lord, make haste to help me

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit
As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever.
Amen. Alleluia.

Then, before the hymn, there is a silent examination of conscience: a reflection on the words and deeds of the day and on our need for God’s grace and mercy. This need is then expressed aloud in some appropriate way, such as an Act of Contrition or the Confiteor.

After the hymn, one or two psalms and their antiphons are recited and there is a short reading that varies by weekday, always followed by the same responsorial.

Into your hands, Lord, I comment my spirit.
Into your hands, Lord, I comment my spirit.

You have redeemed us, Lord God of truth.
I commend my spirit.

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
Into your hands, Lord, I comment my spirit.

The Gospel Canticle, the exclamation of the old holy man Simeon upon seeing the infant Jesus, and its antiphon follow.

Protect us, Lord, as we stay awake; watch over us as we sleep; that awake, we may keep watch with Christ, and asleep, rest in His peace.

Lord, now you let your servant go in peace.
Your word has been fulfilled.
My own eyes have seen the salvation
you have prepared in the sight of every people:
A light to reveal you to the nations
and the glory of your people Israel.

A closing prayer follows and then the blessing.

May the all powerful Lord grant us a restful night and a peaceful death.

A Marian hymn is recited or sung and all depart in silence.

The day is over.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

I rise before dawn and cry for help

I hope in thy words.

My eyes are awake
before the watches of the night,

that I may meditate upon thy promise.
Psalm 119:147-148

Praying the Office - The Poor Clares of Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Quebec

The Office of the Readings

is the largest treasure house within the Liturgy of the Hours. It may be celebrated at any time of the day, but it is quite often celebrated before dawn - in which case it is the first hour of the day and opens with

Lord, open my lips
and my mouth will proclaim your praise.

The Office of the Readings follows the same basic structure as the other hours: the opening, a hymn, three psalms with antiphons, readings, and concluding prayer.

What makes the Office of the Readings unique is, naturally, the readings.

There are two readings, each of them fairly long. The first reading is from Scripture and is followed by a short responsorial.

The second reading is a selection from some venerable Church writing beyond Scriptures, most often by one of the Church’s most famous and ancient spiritual writers (today’s second reading is by St. Clement, a protégé of the Apostles, who later became one of St. Peter’s successors as Bishop of Rome and was martyred sometime in the late 1st century). Often, when the memorial of a saint is celebrated, the second reading is a selection by or about that saint. The readings follow a one-year cycle, providing a great richness and depth of spiritual reading. A responsorial follows the second reading also.

Before the concluding prayer, on Sundays and Feast Days, the great Christian hymn Te Deum is recited or sung.

You are God: we praise you;
You are the Lord; we acclaim you;
You are the eternal Father:
All creation worships you…

The best resource in the US for praying the Office of the Readings is a four-volume set by Catholic Book Publishing Co. The Daughters of St. Paul’s single volume, Christian Prayer: the Liturgy of the Hours, obviously can include relatively few of the actual readings.

Online, a good resource for experiencing at least some of the Office of the Readings is provided by, which includes many of the psalms, most of the Scriptural readings, and a substantial number of the non-Scriptural spiritual readings.

Even with its limitations, is an awesome resource, especially for providing web surfers most days with a meaty portion of good spiritual wisdom.

UPDATE - The complete texts for all of the Liturgy of the Hours for each day (U.S. edition) are available at

Monday, October 25, 2004

Blessing the middle of the day

In addition to Morning and Evening Prayer, the Liturgy of the Hours also has Daytime Prayer, consisting of three "little" Hours: Midmorning Prayer, Midday Prayer, and Midafternoon Prayer.

Most people pray only one of these little Hours each day, depending on the time of day that is best for them. Contemplative communities generally pray all three hours.

Each hour is structured in the same way, which is very much like that of Morning and Evening Prayer.
  • The opening

    God, come to my assistance.
    Lord, make haste to help me.

    Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit
    As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever.
    Amen. Alleluia.

  • A hymn

  • Three psalms with antiphons

  • A short Scripture reading

  • A very short responsorial

  • A concluding prayer

  • Closing verses

    Let us praise the Lord
    And give him thanks.

The Daughters of St. Paul edition of Christian Prayer: the Liturgy of the Hours contains Daytime Prayer

Online, the Brothers and Sisters of Penance of St. Francis have posted complete examples of each of these hours.

UPDATE - The complete texts for all of the Liturgy of the Hours for each day (U.S. edition) are available at

Seven times a day I praise you

because your edicts are just.

Lovers of your teaching have much peace;
for them there is no stumbling block.

I look for your salvation, LORD,
and I fulfill your commands.

I observe your decrees;
I love them very much.

I observe your precepts and decrees;
all my ways are before you.

Psalm 119:164-168

Cartoixa de Santa María de Montalegre, Spain

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Sanctifying the Day

The Liturgy of the Hours, also known as the Divine Office, is a wonderful way of sanctifying every part of the day with prayer, used by monks, religious, clergy, and even lay people for many centuries.

Each "Hour" of prayer (except the first) begins in the same way:

God, come to my assistance.
Lord, make haste to help me.
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit
As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever.

Amen. Alleluia.

A hymn is then sung or recited.

The first "Hour" begins with:

Lord, open my lips
And my mouth will proclaim your praise.

There is then an antiphon, which changes daily, that invites people to prayer, followed by a recitation of Psalm 95 (or an alternate).

Come, let us sing to the Lord
and shout with joy to the Rock who saves us.
Let us approach him with praise and thanksgiving
and sing joyful songs to the Lord....

The pillars of the Liturgy of the Hours are Morning Prayer (also known as Lauds) and Evening Prayer (also known as Vespers). Each are structured in the same way:
  • two psalms plus another Scriptural canticle,
  • a short Scripture reading and responsorial verses,
  • a canticle from the Gospel of Luke,
  • prayers for various intentions,
  • the Lord’s prayer,
  • a concluding prayer, and
  • a blessing.

The Gospel Canticle for Morning Prayer is the Canticle of Zechariah, John the Baptist’s father

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
he has come to his people and set them free...

The English translation of the Canticle’s closing is particularly beautiful.

In the tender compassion of our God
the dawn from on high shall break upon us
to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.

The Gospel Canticle for Evening Prayer is the Canticle of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Magnificat.

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant....

Except for the Gospel Canticles, the psalms and the canticles change daily. A different antiphon, that also changes daily, is recited with each psalm and canticle. The psalms, canticles, readings, and prayers follow regular cycles and are also determined by the seasons of the year (e.g., preparing for Christmas, extending the celebration of Easter) as well as special feasts or memorials that may fall on particular days.

The Daughters of St. Paul have a very nice volume that contains pretty much everything one needs for the recitation of Morning and Evening Prayer: "Christian Prayer: The Liturgy of the Hours" available on their website, on Amazon (isn't everything?) and other places. Catholic Book Publishing also has a single volume version.

For the online world, the Monks of Blue Cloud Abbey in South Dakota have posted a modified version of Morning and Evening Prayer. It is not complete, but easy to follow.

UPDATE - The complete texts for all of the Liturgy of the Hours for each day (U.S. edition) are available at

"They are not of the world"

says the Lord,
"even as I am not of the world.

"Sanctify them through thy truth:
thy word is truth.

"As thou hast sent me into the world,
even so have I also sent them into the world.

"And for their sakes I sanctify myself,
that they also might be sanctified
through the truth."
John 17:16-19

Not for monks alone

"The Genesee Lay Contemplatives (GLC) are a group of men and women committed to following a life-long search for God within the Benedictine/Cistercian Tradition. Sponsored by the Cistercian Abbey of the Genesee, they are under the supervision of the abbot. A monk, appointed by the abbot, serves as the spiritual director for the lay community and directs and aids them in deepening their spiritual life. Since their beginning in 1992, the GLCs have adopted certain prayer practices so as to closely follow the Cistercian way."

A list of other Lay Cistercian groups throughout the United States and the world can be found at

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Let all mortal flesh keep silence

Rose Window, North Transcept - Cathedral of Notre Dame, Paris

And with fear and trembling stand;
Ponder nothing earthly minded,
For with blessing in His hand,
Christ our God to earth descendeth,
Our full homage to demand.

King of kings, yet born of Mary,
As of old on earth He stood,
Lord of lords, in human vesture,
In the body and the blood;
He will give to all the faithful
His own self for heavenly food.

Rank on rank the host of heaven
Spreads its vanguard on the way,
As the Light of light descendeth
From the realms of endless day,
That the powers of hell may vanish
As the darkness clears away.

At His feet the six wingèd seraph,
Cherubim with sleepless eye,
Veil their faces to the presence,
As with ceaseless voice they cry:
Alleluia, Alleluia
Alleluia, Lord Most High!
Li­tur­gy of St. James, 4th Cen­tu­ry

Each of us

Alone in prayer before the Lord Jesus - Augustinian Nuns of Contemplative Life, New Lenox, IL

"whether we are aware of it or not,
is continually and insatiably drawn toward God.

"We are drawn by that natural longing
which, God himself, as a wise Creator,
has placed in our hearts.

"'You have made us for yourself,'
wrote Saint Augustine,
"and our hearts are restless
until they rest in you, O Lord.'

"Our primary ministry in the Church
and to our world
is our hidden life of prayer
as we witness to this search for God,
which is rooted in the heart of every human being.

"Consecrating ourselves to God
for his honor and glory
we share in the prayer of Jesus
that 'all may be one'
in the life and love
of our heavenly Father."
From the website of the Augustinian Nuns of Contemplative Life
New Lenox, IL

Friday, October 22, 2004

Love one another

O most Sacred Heart of Jesus, we implore that we may ever love Thee more and more!
as I have loved you.
John 15:12

The quest for God in contemplation

"indeed cannot be dissociated
from love of our sisters and brothers,
love that makes us recognize the face of Christ
in the poorest of men.

"Contemplation of Christ
lived in brotherly love
remains the safest path of all for a fruitful life.
St John unceasingly reminds us of it:

let us love each other,
because love is of God,
and whoever loves
is born of God
and knows God.'
(1 John 4,7)."

John Paul II
Letter to all the members of the Carthusian family
May 14, 2001

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Glory be to God

Cartuja de Benifaçà - Spain
for dappled things...

A certain amount of manual work

"should also be done,
not merely for an hour’s relaxation,
but chiefly because this submission of the body
to the common lot of mankind
helps to conserve and nourish
joy in spiritual things."

Prologue to the Statutes of the Carthusian Order, 3 (excerpt)

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

I arise today

Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through a belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
Of the Creator of creation.

I arise today
Through the strength of Christ's birth and His baptism,
Through the strength of His crucifixion and His burial,
Through the strength of His resurrection and His ascension,
Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.

I arise today
Through the strength of the love of cherubim,
In obedience of angels,
In service of archangels,
In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In the prayers of patriarchs,
In preachings of the apostles,
In faiths of confessors,
In innocence of virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven;
Light of the sun, Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning, Swiftness of the wind,
Depth of the sea, Stability of the earth,
Firmness of the rock.

I arise today
Through God's strength to pilot me;
God's might to uphold me,
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye to look before me,
God's ear to hear me,
God's word to speak for me,
God's hand to guard me,
God's way to lie before me,
God's shield to protect me,
God's hosts to save me
From snares of the devil,
From temptations of vices,
From every one who desires me ill,
Afar and anear,
Alone or in a mulitude.

I summon today all these powers between me and evil,
Against every cruel merciless power that opposes my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom,
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of women and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man's body and soul.
Christ shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that reward may come to me in abundance.

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me.

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through a belief in the Threeness,
Through a confession of the Oneness
Of the Creator of creation
(St. Patrick's Breastplate)

Pleterje Charterhouse - Šentjernej, Slovenia

A stern battle in love

"The monk, who continues faithfully in his cell and lets himself be molded by it, will gradually find that his whole life tends to become one continual prayer.

"But he cannot attain to this repose except at the cost of stern battle; both by living austerely in fidelity to the law of the cross, and willingly accepting the tribulations by which God will try him as gold in the furnace.

"In this way, having been cleansed in the night of patience, and having been consoled and sustained by assiduous meditation of the Scriptures, and having been led by the Holy Spirit into the depths of his own soul, he is now ready, not only to serve God, but even to cleave to him in love."
Statutes of the Carthusian Order - Book 1, Chapter 3, number 2

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

With all my heart I seek you

La Grande Chartreuse - France

do not let me stray from your commands.

In my heart I treasure your promise,
that I may not sin against you.

Blessed are you, O LORD;
teach me your laws.

With my lips I recite
all the edicts you have spoken.

I find joy in the way of your decrees
more than in all riches.

I will ponder your precepts
and consider your paths.

In your laws I take delight; I
will never forget your word.

Be kind to your servant that I may live,
that I may keep your word.

Open my eyes to see clearly
the wonders of your teachings.

Psalm 119:10-18

Giving witness by being alone

"Making Him who is the exclusive center of our lives through our Profession, we testify to a world, excessively absorbed in earthly things, that there is no God but Him.

"Our life clearly shows that something of the joys of heaven is present already here below; it prefigures our risen state and anticipates in a manner the final renewal of the world."
Statutes of the Carthusian Order
Book 4, Chapter 34, number 3

"For the solitudinarians, being such a witness is not realized by speech nor by personal contact.

"By his mere presence,
the monk is a witness
that God lives
and can take over the hearts of men."

(From the Carthusian website)

Monday, October 18, 2004

And he withdrew from them

about a stone's throw, and kneeled down,
and prayed, saying,

remove this cup from me:
nevertheless not my will,

but thine, be done."
Agony in the Garden - Our Lady of Hope - Potomac Falls, Virginia
And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven,
strengthening him.
And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly:
and his sweat was

as it were great drops of blood
falling down to the ground.
And when he rose up from prayer,

and was come to his disciples,
he found them sleeping for sorrow...

Luke 22:41-45

Contemplative prayer is

"a communion of love
bearing Life for the multitude,
to the extent that
it consents to abide in the night of faith.

"The Paschal night of the Resurrection
passes through the night of the agony
and the tomb
—the three intense moments of the Hour of Jesus
which his Spirit
(and not 'the flesh [which] is weak')
brings to life in prayer.

"We must be willing

to 'keep watch with [him] one hour.'"
Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2719

Sunday, October 17, 2004

If it is possible

let this cup pass from me;
yet, not as I will,
but as you will.

Contemplative prayer is

"a union with the prayer of Christ
insofar as it makes us participate in his mystery.

"The mystery of Christ
is celebrated by the Church
in the Eucharist,
and the Holy Spirit makes it come alive
in contemplative prayer
so that our charity will manifest it in our acts."

Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2718

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Behold, I show you a mystery

A community of prayer united even beyond death into eternal life - Chartreuse de la Valsainte, Switzerland

We shall not all sleep,
but we shall all be changed,
In a moment,
in the twinkling of an eye,
at the last trumpet:
for the trumpet shall sound,
and the dead shall be raised
and we shall be changed.

1 Corinthians 15:51-52

Contemplative prayer is silence

"the 'symbol of the world to come'
or 'silent love.'

"Words in this kind of prayer
are not speeches;
they are like kindling that feeds the fire of love.

"In this silence,
unbearable to the 'outer' man,
the Father speaks to us
his incarnate Word,
who suffered, died, and rose;
in this silence
the Spirit of adoption enables us
to share in the prayer of Jesus."
Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2717

Friday, October 15, 2004

Let it be done to me

The Annunciation by Murillo - Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, Russia
according to your word.

Fiat mihi
secundum verbum tuum

Contemplative prayer is

"hearing the Word of God.

Far from being passive, such attentiveness is
the obedience of faith,
the unconditional acceptance of a servant,
and the loving commitment of a child.

It participates in
the 'Yes' of the Son become servant
and the Fiat of God's lowly handmaid."

Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2716

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Act of Consecration

St. Margaret Mary Alacoque's Vision of the Lord Jesus and the love of His Sacred Heart - from a painting by Carlo Muccioli

I give myself
and consecrate to the Sacred Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ
my person and my life, my actions, pains, and sufferings,
so that I may be unwilling to make use of any part of my being
save to honor, love, and glorify the Sacred Heart.

This is my unchanging purpose,
namely, to be all His,
and to do all things for the love of Him,
at the same time renouncing with all my heart
whatever is displeasing to Him.

I therefore take Thee, O Sacred Heart,
to be the only object of my love,
the guardian of my life, my assurance of salvation,
the remedy of my weakness and inconstancy,
the atonement for all the faults of my life
and my sure refuge at the hour of death.

Be then, O Heart of goodness,
my justification before God Thy Father,
and turn away from me the strokes of His righteous anger.
O Heart of Love, I put all my confidence in Thee,
for I fear everything from my own wickedness and frailty;
but I hope for all things from Thy goodness and bounty.

Do Thou consume in me
all that can displease Thee or resist Thy holy will.
Let Thy pure love imprint Thee so deeply upon my heart
that I shall nevermore be able to forget Thee
or to be separated from Thee.
May I obtain from all Thy loving kindness
the grace of having my name written in Thee,
for in Thee I desire to place all my happiness and all my glory,
living and dying in true bondage to Thee.

Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque

Contemplation is

"a gaze of faith, fixed on Jesus.

"'I look at him and he looks at me': this is what a certain peasant of Ars in the time of his holy curé used to say while praying before the tabernacle.

"This focus on Jesus is a renunciation of self.
His gaze purifies our heart;
the light of the countenance of Jesus
illumines the eyes of our heart
and teaches us to see everything in the light of
his truth
and his compassion for all men.

"Contemplation also turns its gaze
on the mysteries of the life of Christ.

"Thus it learns the 'interior knowledge of our Lord,'
the more to love him and follow him."

Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2715

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Behold, O kind and most sweet Jesus

I cast myself upon my knees in Thy sight,
and with the most fervent desire of my soul
I pray and beseech Thee
that Thou wouldst impress upon my heart
lively sentiments of faith, hope and charity,
with true contrition for my sins,
and a firm purpose of amendment,
while with deep affection and grief of soul
I ponder within myself and mentally contemplate
Thy five Wounds,
having before my eyes
that which David, Thy prophet,
spoke of Thee, my Jesus:

"They have pierced My hands and My feet;
they have numbered all My bones."

(Traditional Prayer Before a Crucifix)

En ego, O bone et dulcissime Iesu,
ante conspectum tuum genibus me provolvo,
ac maximo animi ardore te oro atque obtestor,
ut meum in cor vividos fidei, spei et caritatis sensus,
atque veram peccatorum meorum poenitentiam,
eaque emendandi firmissimam voluntatem velis imprimere;
dum magno animi affectu et dolore
tua quinque vulnera mecum ipse considero ac mente contemplor,
illud prae oculis habens,
quod iam in ore ponebat tuo David propheta de te, o bone Iesu:
Foderunt manus meas et pedes meos:
dinumeraverunt omnia ossa mea.

Contemplative prayer is also

"the pre-eminently intense time of prayer.

"In it
the Father strengthens our inner being with power
through his Spirit
"that Christ may dwell in [our] hearts through faith"
and we may be "grounded in love." (Ephesians 3:16-17)
Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2714

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Let us deepen through adoration

"our personal and communal contemplation,
drawing upon aids to prayer
inspired by the word of God
and the experience of so many mystics, old and new."
John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Mane nobiscum Domine, 18

And I shall cultivate

the ground around it and fertilize it;
Charterhouse of the Transfiguration - Arlington, Vermont (USA)
it may bear fruit in the future.
Luke 13:8b-9a

Contemplative prayer is

"the simplest expression
of the mystery of prayer."

"It is a gift,
a grace;
it can be accepted
only in humility
and poverty.

"Contemplative prayer is
a covenant relationship
established by God within our hearts.

"Contemplative prayer is
a communion
in which the Holy Trinity
conforms man, the image of God,
"to his likeness."
Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2713

Monday, October 11, 2004

And he arose and came to his father

The Return of the Prodigal Son by Rembrandt - Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia

But when he was yet a great way off,
his father saw him, and had compassion,
and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.

And the son said unto him,
Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight,
and am no more worthy to be called thy son.

But the father said to his servants,
Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him;
and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:
And bring hither the fatted calf,
and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:
For this my son was dead, and is alive again;
he was lost, and is found.

Luke 15:20-24

Contemplative prayer

"is the prayer of the child of God,
of the forgiven sinner
who agrees to welcome the love
by which he is loved
and who wants to respond to it
by loving even more.

"But he knows
that the love he is returning
is poured out by the Spirit in his heart,
for everything is grace from God.

"Contemplative prayer
is the poor and humble surrender
to the loving will of the Father
in ever deeper union
with his beloved Son."
Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2712

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Adoro te devote

Pope John Paul II adoring the Lord Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament

Adoro te devote, latens Deitas,
Quae sub his figuris vere latitas:
Tibi se cor meum totum subiicit,
Quia te contemplans totum deficit.

Visus, tactus, gustus in te fallitur,
Sed auditu solo tuto creditur.
Credo quidquid dixit Dei Filius:
Nil hoc verbo Veritatis verius.

In cruce latebat sola Deitas,
At hic latet simul et humanitas;
Ambo tamen credens atque confitens,
Peto quod petivit latro paenitens.

Plagas, sicut Thomas, non intueor;
Deum tamen meum te confiteor.
Fac me tibi semper magis credere,
In te spem habere, te diligere.

O memoriale mortis Domini!
Panis vivus, vitam praestans homini!
Praesta meae menti de te vivere
Et te illi semper dulce sapere....

Iesu, quem velatum nunc aspicio,
Oro fiat illud quod tam sitio;
Ut te revelata cernens facie,
Visu sim beatus tuae gloriae.

O Godhead hid, devoutly I adore Thee,
Who truly art within the forms before me;
To Thee my heart I bow with bended knee,
As failing quite in contemplating Thee.

Sight, touch, and taste in Thee are each deceived;
The ear alone most safely believed:
I believe all the Son of God has spoken,
Than Truth’s own word there is no truer token.

God only on the Cross lay had from view;
But here lies hid at once the manhood too:
And I, in both professing my belief,
Make the same prayer as the repentant thief.

Thy wounds, as Thomas saw, I do not see;
Yet Thee confess my Lord and God to be:
Make me believe Thee ever more and more,
In Thee my hope, in Thee my love to store.

O Thou, memorial of our Lord’s own dying!
O living bread, to mortals life supplying!
Make Thou my soul henceforth on Thee to live;
Even a taste of heavenly sweetness give....

O Jesus! Whom for the present veiled I see,
What I so thirst for, oh, vouchsafe to me:
That I may see Thy countenance unfolding,
And may be blest Thy glory in beholding.

St. Thomas Aquinas

Entering into contemplative prayer

"is like entering into the Eucharistic liturgy:

"we 'gather up' the heart,

"recollect our whole being
under the prompting of the Holy Spirit,

"abide in the dwelling place of the Lord
which we are,

"awaken our faith
in order to enter into the presence
of him who awaits us.

"We let our masks fall
and turn our hearts back
to the Lord who loves us,
so as to hand ourselves over to him
as an offering
to be purified
and transformed."
Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2711

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Yea, though I walk

through the valley of the shadow of death
Charterhouse of the Transfiguration - Arlington, Vermont (USA)
I will fear no evil: for thou art with me
Psalm 23:4

The choice of the time

"and of the duration of the prayer
arises from a determined will,
revealing the secrets of the heart.

"One does not undertake contemplative prayer
only when one has the time:
one makes time for the Lord,
with the firm determination not to give up,
no matter what trials
and dryness one may encounter.

"One cannot always meditate,
but one can always enter into inner prayer,
independently of the conditions
of health, work, or emotional state.

"The heart
is the place of this quest and encounter,
in poverty and in faith."
Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2710

Friday, October 08, 2004

Whom my soul loves

"O Sacred Heart of Jesus, fountain of eternal life,
Your Heart is a glowing furnace of Love.
You are my refuge and my sanctuary.
"O my adorable and loving Savior,
consume my heart
with the burning fire with which Yours is aflamed.
Pour down on my soul
those graces which flow from Your love.
Let my heart be united with Yours.
Let my will be conformed to Yours in all things.
May Your Will be the rule of all my desires and actions.
Saint Gertrude

What is contemplative prayer?

"St. Teresa (of Avila) answers:

"'Contemplative prayer [oración mental]
in my opinion is nothing else than
a close sharing between friends;
it means taking time frequently
to be alone with him who we know loves us.'

"Contemplative prayer
seeks him 'whom my soul loves.'

(Song of Songs 1:7; cf. 3:1-4)

"It is Jesus, and in him, the Father.

"We seek him,
because to desire him
is always the beginning of love,
and we seek him
in that pure faith
which causes us
to be born of him
and to live in him.

"In this inner prayer we can still meditate,
but our attention is fixed on the Lord himself."

Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2709

Thursday, October 07, 2004

The earth is the LORD's

and the fulness thereof
'Domini est terra, et plenitudo eius, orbis terrarum, et qui habitant in eo' - Valsainte, Switzerland
the world, and they that dwell therein.
Psalm 24:1

The Lord leads all persons

"by paths and in ways pleasing to him,
and each believer responds
according to his heart's resolve
and the personal expressions of his prayer.

"However, Christian Tradition
has retained three major expressions of prayer:
vocal, meditative, and

"They have one basic trait in common:
composure of heart.

"This vigilance in keeping the Word
and dwelling in the presence of God
makes these three expressions
intense times in the life of prayer."
Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2699

The Carthusian monastery

" a community. Nevertheless, (the Carthusian monk) will pass the greater part of his life in his cell where he prays, works, takes his meals and sleeps. During the course of the week, he only leaves three times a days for (communal prayers and Mass): in the middle of the night, the Night Office, the morning Eucharist and Vespers towards the evening.

"The Carthusian can be a cloistered monk or a brother, two different ways of living the same vocation of solitude.

"This solitude is not lived for it's own sake, but as a privileged means of attaining intimacy with God."

The Carthusian website,, is a wonderful place to explore: with extensive information about their very special contemplative lifestyle (including their rigorous daily schedule); about their houses - for men and for women - in France, the United States and elsewhere (with beautiful pictures); and about vocations.

(Originally posted on A Penitent Blogger)

Alternative to the world

"What benefits and divine exaltation the silence and solitude of the desert hold in store for those who love it, only those who have experienced it can know.

The mother house - Monastère de la Grande Chartreuse - France

"For here men of strong will can enter into themselves and remain there as much as they like, diligently cultivating the seeds of virtue and eating the fruits of paradise with joy.

Carthusian Nun - Cartuja Santa María de Benifaçà - Spain

"Here they can acquire the visage that wounds (Christ) the Bridegroom with love, by the limpidity of its gaze, and whose purity allows them to see God himself.

Solitude - Charterhouse of the Transfiguration - Arlington, Vermont (USA)

"Here they can observe a busy leisure and rest in quiet activity.

Charterhouse of the Transfiguration - Arlington, Vermont (USA)

"Here also God crowns his athletes for their stern struggle with the hoped-for reward: a peace unknown to the world and joy in the Holy Spirit. "

Carthusian Nun - Cartuja Santa María de Benifaçà - Spain

From a letter by St. Bruno

Spiritual Reading during meals - Chartreuse de Montrieux - France

(Originally posted on A Penitent Blogger)

Toward Contemplation

In the midst of a chaotic world, online and otherwise, this blog hopes to be a voice calling people to consider contemplation - for a few minutes a day or for a lifetime - as a path to God and to the peace the world cannot give.