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   the
caritas
   of
prayer

'If you long to pray then avoid all that is opposed to prayer.
Then when God draws near he has only to go along with you.'

(Evagrius of Pontus, Chapters on Prayer, 65)

Daily life in the twenty first century - although so different even half a century ago - can still allow us to be aware of prayer as part and parcel of the day and months and years as they mature in life.

Beyond the diversity of corporate forms of Christian worship, there is also the encouragement to silent prayer - as with many forms of monastic life.

For the Christian, there is a deep and expanding consciousness of personal life. This seam of prayer lies deep within the Christian psyche enabling us to form creative ways in which we live our lives.

Prayer is not about thinking or imagining anything, but a resting in, what at the time and place of prayer, seems to us to be the reality in which we seek to live in God and in the Son of man.

Our own memory acts to enter into this quietness of prayer in attentiveness of thanks, forgiveness and joy, passing into other peoples lives.

These rich relationships turn out to be one of the vital elements of prayer without any interruption, keeping them apart in quiet moments of life.

The creative element of our mind in prayer brings out into full view the workings of our life in the fruitfulness of caritas, or love.

Caritas is always a support system for life in relationship with others. Perhaps for a brief moment someone, somewhere, is enfolded in love, supported in and through the stillness you have been experiencing.

The mind and the memory are always free flowing even in the quietness of prayer and yet, out of the love that comes to us in Christ, we are often emboldened into some courageous moment for the sake of our friends.

'And also to prayer belongeth thanking. Thanking is a true inward knowing, with great reveremce and lovely dread turning ourselves with all our mights unto the working that our good Lord stirreth us to, enjoying and thanking inwardly.'

(Julian of Norwich, Revelations of Divine Love, 41.)

When you give yourself to prayer, rise above every other joy -
                        then you will find true prayer.

Evagrius of Pontus, Chapters on Prayer, 153.




© Aelred Arnesen

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