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Friday, 21 November 2014

Perfection Series VIII Part VI Advanced Prayer

In the last post in this series, I noted that oraison could be called acquired contemplation. This phrase means that the person who is involved in oraison, or acquired contemplation, is entering into the prayer with the will. The person praying takes the initiative.

In the next stage, which is infused contemplation, which Raissa calls recueillement, God takes over and takes the initiative.

But, the French word is more exact than the English in that the position of the soul is in rest, not in activity; that is, a completely passive position.

I am going to bullet point some of the editor's comments, plus Jacques' interpretations, to make this state of prayer more easy to understand. I did write about this in the perfection series on the Unitive State under the name of infused contemplation, but Raissa's words and the comments are simpler to understand.

  • Recueillement is a deep interior state
  • It is not based on concentration, as in oraison, due to "voluntary effort"
  • It is sheer gift from God
  • It involves a "quiet absorption" of the soul with a deep activity of unity with God
  • Phrases like "mental prayer" do not convey the correct meaning
  • One can move in and out of this state through the grace of God daily
  • One can stay in this state for minutes or hours depending on God's initiative
  • Sometimes it involves deep suffering
  • Daily and more than once daily seems to be the call for deepening the relationship with God in recueillement.
  • one can move back and forth between oraison and recueillement
I prefer the French terms as liberal nuns and priests, as well as New Age followers, have used the term "mental prayer" and "contemplation" incorrectly.

That Raissa reached such a high level of prayer at such an early age is astounding. Few saints reach this point in their early thirties. 

Again, one does not have to have all the virtues perfected to enter into this prayer, especially oraison, as prayer can aid in the perfection of the virtues, which Raissa, like other mystics, saints, and Doctors of the Church teach is the call of all Catholics. But, one would most likely be through the Dark Night and in the Illuminative State.

I do think that the perfection of the virtues, which happens after purgation, accompanies deeper prayer, such as acquired contemplation and infused contemplation. Raissa says the same thing. She compares one working on the perfection of the virtues without contemplation like expecting a plant to have leaves and fruit without soil. However, I doubt whether the Unitive State happens until the virtues are perfected. Recueillement is a sign of the Illuminative State and the beginning of the
Unitive State. 

Back to her later today...

There are other posts on prayer...just follow the tags.

to be continued..