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Audio files and accompanying prayer booklets of prayer poems by Margaret Claire can read, listened to and downloaded from this site free of charge.

 

 

I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continuously be in my mouth. (Psalm 34:1)

Emptying

Unceasing Prayer

Although our minds are not capable of comprehending the infinite expanse of God, of how God came to be, or more accurately, how God always was, we are able to comprehend or sense God's nature, to experience or feel God, more closely in our hearts. It is here God comes to “rest,” and to love, and desires to be loved in return. This is the nature of God. In the Trinity, we have the eternal self-giving community of Love. God is not static but a self-emptying interaction of love. I recently found an expression of this in a book about Clare of Assisi. [Clare of Assisi, A Heart Full of Love by Ilia Delio, O.S.F. p. 5-6] It was part of an explanation of Francis and Clare's concept of poverty (or self-emptying.) In it the author, with some references to Bonaventure, expressed: “God is a fecundity of love, an inexhaustible fountain of love that flows from the Father to the Son in the Spirit. The Father is the overflowing fountain of love who, by nature, shares love diffusively with another person, the Son, and the two persons are in such a deep, intimate bond of love that they breathe forth love in a single breath and this is the Spirit. Lover, beloved, co-beloved—such is our God who is Trinity.”

I have referred to love as being the very “substance” of God. It is my sense that God continuously pours out God's-self in community as the Trinity, but also in community with God's Creation. This outpouring, the very substance of God, is love. (1 John 4:16) It is this elixir, this nectar of love, that crystallizes, so to speak, in Creation and that sustains us and draws us into relationship with God, for who can resist a love such as this? God made us in this image, with a need for such an intimate community of love, and therefore, we spend our lives seeking another to pour ourselves into, to unite with in a “community” of love. What we are ultimately looking for is God. When we find that in another, we are forming a God-like union of self-gift. This is the relationship of the Beloved-- a relationship of self-gift, of desiring the other so much that one is willing to give all they are in one continuous stream of love, and are willing to be receptive to this love in return. It is one in which the good of the Beloved comes before one's own good, and one “gives one's life for a friend.” (John 15:13)

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Pray Unceasingly

How does this relate to prayer? Prayer is not just reciting form prayers or asking for things we want or need from God. Prayer is about loving the Beloved. It is about intimacy and self-emptying. It is that stream of love reaching for the Beloved, desiring to love Him as He desires to be loved, in complete self-gift, and receiving that flow of eternal self-giving love in return, to be then given back again in this continuous stream. It is this continuous flow of love, of unity in mind and heart, that is unceasing prayer. If a person is receptive to this passionate love of our God, this person's great desire is to return this passionate love. As in anything you are passionate about, it becomes seemingly effortless because it is what your heart longs for. This is the flame that ignites unceasing prayer.

Unceasing prayer is like breathing. It becomes part of you, to have your thoughts always on or close to the Beloved. Just as in a newly found love relationship, in that “infatuation” stage, the lover cannot take his/her thoughts off the Beloved even when apart. Everything becomes a thought of the Beloved. So in God, we find our Beloved, and our thoughts naturally turn to God with everything we see, feel and experience. Everything we do, even our suffering, becomes an act of love for the Beloved. Our greatest desire is to love God as He desires to be loved. Even when engaged in manual labor, our minds and hearts are communing with our Beloved in the silence of our hearts. We are continuously conscious of the presence of God in our lives, in our work, in each other, in creation, in Eucharist, in everything.

Next Page: The Jesus Prayer, Presence and Silence

Following pages:

Gratitude and Praise, Intercessory and Petition Prayer

Humility and Penance,Gazing at the Crucifix, the "Mirror"

The Word (Lectio Divina) and Praying through the Dark Night of the Soul

Form or Formal Prayers

Prayer in Action~Service