Quote of the day, 7 September: Père Jacques de Jésus

Have you ever wondered what Christ’s prayer was like? Upon explanation, we realize that his prayer consisted essentially in the penetration of his very being by God.

Consider the experience of Saint John of the Cross. His life was brief because his great love prepared him for an early death. Near the end of his life, he tells us how at Beas, he could not hear the name of God uttered without entering into ecstasy. His body lost its weight and rose toward heaven. It was as if he were caught up and carried off by the movement of his soul in its eagerness to head off to God. The Lord truly dwelled within him.

I vividly remember a priest in Le Havre. Whenever I would go very early in the morning to offer Mass at his church, he was already there, deep in prayer. I was struck by the fact that, when I approached him, he seemed to take a break from his conversation with God. It was as if he were saying: “please, excuse me, Lord. I have to help someone. I’ll be back as soon as possible.” That priest gave the impression of being fully absorbed in the presence of God. Our prayer should reach that level of intensity and development.

Prayer should be our steady supernatural method of breathing, day and night, in the silence of our souls. Our prayer should grow more intense at certain times and those times should increase in both frequency and duration. Eventually, even daily duties… will be subsumed into prayer and nothing will be able to disrupt its focus.

Servant of God Père Jacques de Jésus

Retreat to the Carmel of Pontoise
Conference 4, Christ at Prayer (excerpt)
7 September 1943

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.

Featured image: Photographer Christof Timmermann captures this image in absolute black and white photography, which he titles “Silent Moments“. You can view more of his street photography on Flickr.

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