Catechism of the Catholic Church

650 Part Four movements that stir the heart and we are able to discern them. It is a question of acting truthfully in order to come into the light: “Lord, what do you want me to do?” 2707 There are as many and varied methods of meditation as there are spiritual masters. Christians owe it to themselves to develop the desire tomeditate regularly, lest they come to resemble the three first kinds of soil in the parable of the sower. 5 But a method is only a guide; the important thing is to advance, with the Holy Spirit, along the one way of prayer: Christ Jesus. 2708 Meditation engages thought, imagination, emotion, and desire. This mobilization of faculties is necessary in order to deepen our convictions of faith, prompt the conversion of our heart, and strengthen our will to followChrist. Christian prayer tries above all to meditate on the mysteries of Christ, as in lectio divina or the rosa­ ry. This form of prayerful reflection is of great value, but Christian prayer should go further: to the knowledge of the love of the Lord Jesus, to union with him. III. C ontemplative P rayer 2709 What is contemplative prayer? St. Teresa answers: “Con­ templative prayer [ oración mental ] in my opinion is nothing else than a close sharing between friends; it means taking time fre­ quently to be alone with him who we know loves us.” 6 Contemplative prayer seeks him“whommy soul loves.” 7 It is Jesus, and in him, the Father. We seek him, because to desire him is al­ ways 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. 2710 The choice of the time and 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 5 Cf. Mk 4:4-7, 15-19. 6 St. Teresa of Jesus, The Book of Her Life, 8, 5 in The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, tr. K.Kavanaugh, OCD, and O. Rodriguez, OCD (Washington DC: Institute of Carmelite Studies, 1976), I, 67. 7 Song 1:7; cf. 3:1-4. 2690 2664 516 2678 2562-2564 2726