Thought of the day
2/23/2021 6:02:26 AM

"This is how you are to pray"


Saint John of the Cross (1542-1591)

Carmelite, Doctor of the Church

The Ascent of Mount Carmel Bk.III, ch.44 (trans. Kieran Kavanaugh and Ottilio Rodriguez)

"This is how you are to pray"

Regarding other ceremonies in vocal prayers and other devotions, one should not become attached to any ceremonies or modes of prayer other than those Christ taught us. When his disciples asked him to teach them to pray [Lk 11:1], Christ obviously, as one Who knew so well his Father's will, would have told them all that was necessary in order to obtain an answer from the Eternal Father; and, in fact, he only taught them those seven petitions of the Our Father, which include all our spiritual and temporal necessities, and he did not teach numerous other kinds of prayers and ceremonies. At another time, rather, he told them that in praying they should not desire much speaking because our heavenly Father clearly knows our needs. He only charged us with great insistence to persevere in prayer - that is, in the Our Father - teaching in another place that one should pray and never cease. [Lk.18:1] He did not teach us a quantity of petitions but that these seven be repeated often, and with fervor and care. For in these, as I say, are embodied everything that is God's will and all that is fitting for us. Accordingly, when His Majesty had recourse three times to the Eternal Father, all three times he prayed with the same petition of the Our Father, as the evangelists recount: “Father, if it cannot be but that I drink this chalice, may your will be done.” [Mt. 26:42] And he taught us only two ceremonies for use in our prayers. Our prayer should be made either in the concealment of our secret chamber [Mt 6:6] where without noise and without telling anyone we can pray with a more perfect and pure heart (…). Or, if not in one's chamber, in the solitary wilderness, and at the best and most quiet time of night, as he did. [Lk. 6:12]