Quote of the day, 7 February: Père Jacques

In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed.

Mark 1:35

I would like to join with you in observing Christ at prayer. On occasion, his apostles observed Christ at prayer, perhaps at sunset or after the last of the sick and the curious headed home. Then, when the weary apostles searched for lodgings and longed for rest at the end of the day, Christ sought solitude, usually on the top of a hill, looking out toward the distant horizon. There he remained for some time, absorbed in prayer. What was his prayer like? […]

How boundless and constant is Christ’s prayer! Throughout his life, Christ beholds God, as we will do in heaven. Yet, that vision does not prevent Christ from acting in accordance with his human nature. He develops his faculties and learn to say “Daddy” and “Mama” at the same pace as other children. He works with his hands and earns his livelihood by the sweat of his brow. Later on, he watches out for his family and his apostles, making sure that they have food to eat. He fulfills all his daily duties. However, these practical tasks never impinge upon his profound prayer. Whether he is planing planks at work or going to school or doing errands for his mother, he is uninterruptedly engaged in deep prayer.

Those who maintain that basic duties, social service, physical labor, or intellectual activity can interrupt prayer are mistaken. Recall the episode in the life of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, when she was in her room sewing. One of the novices came along unexpectedly and was struck by the radiant beauty of her face. The novice asked: “What are you pondering, Sister?” Saint Thérèse replied unassumingly: “I was just meditating on the Pater Noster and reflecting on how beautiful it is to say ‘Our Father’ when speaking to God.” Her hands were at work, but her heart was at prayer. Bear in mind, her state of prayer was the same, even in the laundry.

No work can interrupt prayer.

The Servant of God Père Jacques de Jésus, O.C.D.

Retreat conference 4: Christ at Prayer
Tuesday evening, 7 September 1943
Carmel of Pontoise, France

Jesus Goes Up Alone onto a Mountain to Pray
(Jésus monte seul sur une montagne pour prier)
James Tissot, (French, 1836-1902)
Opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper, 1886-1894
Brooklyn Museum (No known copyright restrictions)

Jacques, P 2005, Listen to the silence: a retreat with Père Jacques, translated from the French and edited by Murphy F, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

2 thoughts on “Quote of the day, 7 February: Père Jacques

Add yours

  1. How about the times people kept pressing? Jesus was with them too. Didn’t like it. Pitied them. Stayed God-man. Do not want to accept this for me. But fiat.

    1. Jesus seemed to find a way to strike a balance in his life, didn’t he? Time for ministry and time for prayer. It can be a challenge to maintain that balance in my life at times. How about you?

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