Thursday, July 6, 2017

Divine Life

“...Many give up prayer in disgust because they do not understand its meaning, its nature and its end. They believe prayer consists in asking for graces, spiritual and temporal, the acquisition of virtues or the extirpation of vices, and they pray in the belief that God will bestow virtues just as we make presents of books, or take away our vicious habits as we remove dangerous instruments from the hands of children. Virtue is a growth and follows the laws and conditions of growing things. The same is true of vice. In the ordinary ways of Providence the sole mode of its removal is by the growth of the contrary virtue. God does not take away our vices as the surgeon severs a gangrenous limb from the body. We do not get virtues or lose vices merely for the asking. The desire prompting and inspiring our prayer should be the desire of growing in all respects like to Jesus. It is in that growth that vices vanish and virtues make their appearance. We pray to God through Jesus not so much to get something as to become something, namely to become ‘conformable to the image of His Son.’ The ultimate object of prayer is to glorify God and we glorify God by being as we should be. The real end of prayer therefore is to be good, to effect in ourselves the dispositions to sanctification, that is, to purify our souls and replace our natural views by the views of Jesus Christ and to substitute for our natural life, His mode of life...

...In a word prayer may be considered a going to Jesus for spiritual direction—a direction on the way that is to lead to God. We pray not to dispose God to give, but to prepare ourselves to receive—to receive that plenitude of Divine life which is in Christ Jesus Our Lord.”
~Edward Leen

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