Orienting Asceticism to Mysticism (Part 2)

Audio: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/souls-of-the-christian-apostolate/id1457867057

Video: https://youtu.be/HE7VMtBuM24

In the growth of holiness, asceticism refers not only to the active attainment of virtue, but also to the discursive element of prayer. Saint Teresa describes the beginning stage of meditation as manually getting water into a bucket from a well. Once prayer becomes more mystical, God starts to give water directly himself without such manual effort to reason/discourse through the meditations–these are known as “living” waters (as our Lord speaks of). She describes this beginning of mystical or infused contemplation as a baby who is drinking from the breast of his mother: it is gentle, nourishing, quiet. It is important to note the ascetic nature of the beginning stage of this prayer–for it is something deeper than the general notion of “praying” that usually entails less deep vocal prayer. It takes work. But that is a part of the purification: it would not take work if our desires were truly ordered to God; Saint Alphonsus says,Mental prayer is tedious to those who are attached to the world, but not to those who love God only. Ah! Conversation with God is not painful nor tedious to those who truly love Him. His conversation has no bitterness, His company produces not tediousness, but joy and gladness.”

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