Catherine of Siena and Prayer Catherine of Siena and Prayer

Prayer has been heavily on my mind these last few weeks. It began on retreat when the question “how do you pray?” was posed and the group asked to respond. Everyone who answered talked about the prayers they say each day such as the Rosary, Morning Offering, Divine Mercy Chaplet and other formal or memorized type prayers.

Then I read God’s word’s to Catherine of Siena “You see then, that perfect prayer is not arrived at through many words, but through affection of desire, when the soul raises itself to me, knowing itself and my mercy, seasoned one with the other. Thus the soul will practice mental and vocal prayer together, even as the active and contemplative are one, so are they.” God further goes on to explain vocal and mental prayer; vocal being the type of prayers I mentioned above while mental prayer is prayer without words, for being united with God. He also explains that “mental prayer is reached by exercise and perseverance” and that vocal prayer, practiced persistently will lead to “perfect mental prayer.” (Quotes taken from Little Talks with God by Catherine of Siena, Nook version)

There is much more about prayer, but I cannot quote the entire section. What all this has led me to consider is this: “Am I allowing myself time to practice mental prayer?” Truthfully, I am not. I do pray regularly and often, both prayers of the Church as well as personal prayers, but I spend too much time praying vocal prayers and not enough time praying mental prayers. I think it’s time for a schedule adjustment.

As summer vacation time approaches and our schedules change, hopefully to be less ruled by time constraints and to do list, will you make time for mental prayer? From what God told Catherine, it is important to our spiritual life and relationship with him.

Copyright 2013 Deanna Bartalini