More quotations to share:
from St Teresa "...we should grow more in virtue (humility) by contemplating the divine Perfections, than by keeping the eyes of our soul fixed on the vile clay of our origin....The best method of acquiring self-knowledge is to apply ourselves to the knowledge of God. His greatness makes us see our lowliness, his purity reveals our stains, and his humility show us how far we are from being humble. We draw to advantages from this practice; one, a clearer vision of our own nothingness in contrast to the divine grandeur...the other, that our intelligence and our will become ennobled and capable of every kind of good."
The Interior Castle, First Manson, Chapter ii.
The Maritains, who were both Benedictine Oblates, wrote this as well:
"The study of the Sacred Doctrine and of Holy Scripture is also a normally necessary means of the attainment of contemplation. This is what the ancients called, with S. Benedict, lectio divina. 'It is no mere cold and abstract speculation, it is not an affair of simply human curiosity or of superficial reading, it is a serious, profound and persevering research into Truth itself. It is informed by prayer and tenderness. It is called lectio, and it is but the first degree of the ascending scale: lectio, cogitation, studium, meditatio, oratio, contemplatio; but S. Benedict knew well that in the case of a loyal and courageous soul he others would in their turn be added...The method of prayer of the ancients was simple and easy: it consisted in self-forgetfulness and living in habitual recollection, in assiduously steepig their souls in the beauty of the mysterious, in taking an interest in all the aspects of the supernatural economy following the inspiration of that Spirit of God who alone can teach us to pray..."
Dom Delatte in Commentary on the Rule of S. Benedict
The Maritains refer to the "dissipation" and feverishness of our modern daily lives. This is why I have written so much here on simplicity. A true Catholic, in order to concentrate more on God and His ways, on Himself, must simplify one's lifestyle.
There are so many things one can omit from a daily schedule. Talking without necessity may be the first way.
Again, the Maritains: "It is probable that may souls deprive themselves of the choice graces of higher states of prayer because they are unable to sacrifice themselves with the requisite generosity to the exigencies for this heart to heart communion with God."
The writers refer to S. Teresa yet again: "There is but one road which reaches God, and that is prayer; if anyone shows you another, you are being deceived."
And, to S. John of the Cross: "Mental prayer should take precedence of every other occupation; it is the force of the soul."
Great works and activities in the Church will not save us--we are not saved by good works, but by the holiness of those works, which come from a pure heart and pure mind.
Without mental prayer, one thrashes around uselessly, creating things in the world which are not only ephemeral, but not part of the Kingdom of God.
As a parent, I created a quiet house in order to teach solitude and listen for the small, still voice of God at home. Too many activities wear out the soul and the body, taking away energy from the interior life, which takes energy.
Prayer demands attention and energy. The Maritains admit that those of us in the world fall into imperfections and many venial sins because of the lack of contemplation. Here is a crunch idea--if there are no contemplative houses of prayer in your area, praying for you and interceding for the Church in the area, one is absolutely in need of personal contemplative prayer, as one has no external support.
There is NO orthodox, obedient, contemplative house in this entire diocese. Pray that if God wants me to start this here, the needed benefactors come forth. I found several houses with three bedrooms, with room for a chapel, for three to six women, for under 100,000 USD. That is not a lot for the Heart of Prayer at the center of activity here in this wounded place. I need a benefactor. I have a priest who says the Latin Mass who is encouraging me, although he does not live very close to the location of the houses for sale. However, his moral support has been gratifying.
Pray for this cause. If it does not happen here, God will lead me somewhere else, and this area will keep lacking the Heart of Prayer it needs to survive the coming onslaught of evil. A diocese without a Heart of Prayer cannot endure, as the laity need this backup, this bulwark of prayer power-the force of the soul.