I am daily more and more conscious of an interior disposition of love and praise for Our Lord that is constant, but I am wondering if I should still be applying myself to the Rosary or other Devotions while this experience seems to be growing ever more present.
I am wondering if this is what constitutes contemplation as simple and gentle, infused prayer.
And if so, do I just remain in Our Lord’s presence rather than saying prayers vocally or even mentally? Thank You!
First let’s say, Yeah!!! How many people would love to have the interior prayer life come so naturally??? You are so blessed!!!
But to answer you I am not sure! I listened to the Carmelite Sisters who gave us a talk on holiness. In summation, we are all capable of being mystics, that is being in constant conversation with God. Some of it fits into our comfort zone and some of it drags us outside that comfort zone. The aspiration though to find the Lord present with us in our daily life is where that takes us. I have looked at the word mystic and thought hmm probably something only saints can do…NO, it’s a calling to each of us. The Lord desires to be with us and part of us all day long. We should seek that.
I think that your interior prayer life and being with God all day IS your devotion don’t you? You might use the more external sources of devotion when you find some hurdle to your interior prayer life.
If you actually are experiencing the beginnings of infused contemplation, then you should keep yourself open to it, and allow yourself to receive it as it comes, and not force yourself to remain in prayer preliminary to it - such as meditation or vocal prayer. Here is some wise counsel from Fr. Aumann, in Spiritual Theology:
Spiritual directors should take great care to guide the soul that begins to receive the first lights of contemplative prayer. They must be especially careful not to place any obstacles to their advance in prayer. The following are the principal counsels to be given in this particular grade of prayer:
Not to cease discursive meditation until one clearly perceives the call to a higher grade of prayer. In the practice of prayer, as in the exercises of the spiritual life in general, souls should always be prepared to do as much as they can with the assistance of ordinary grace. It would be a source of great harm if they were to attempt to enter upon a mystical grade of prayer when the Lord has not yet called them to such a high degree of prayer. St. Teresa warned that, so long as the soul is not sure that God is drawing it to a mystical grade of prayer, it should not attempt to remain passive and inactive because that would produce nothing but aridity, and the individual would soon grow restless because of its inactivity.(20)
Immediately to terminate all discursive prayer as soon as one feels the impulse of grace toward infused prayer. This is a consequence of the foregoing counsel. It would be foolish to anticipate mystical prayer, but it would be tantamount to obstructing the action of God in the soul if souls were to attempt to proceed by their own efforts when grace impels them to the passivity of contemplation. The teaching of St. Teresa on this particular point should be read with great attention.(21)
Spiritual directors will usually have to exert great effort to convince the soul that it should immediately abandon itself to the action of God as soon as this is felt. Some souls become disobedient and stubborn at this point of their development. Accustomed as they ate to certain vocal prayers and discursive meditations, it seems to them that it would be a waste of time to remain in a passive state, and they may have scruples about neglecting their customary private devotions. They do not realize that it is of much more value for a soul to experience even the slightest touch of the Holy Spirit than to practice all manner of spiritual exercises on their own initiative.
To give themselves completely to the interior life. Souls that receive the first mystical communications can usually suspect that God has predestined them for great things in the spiritual life. If they do not resist God, they can arrive at the summit of perfection. Fully convinced of the necessity of a conscientious correspondence with grace, they must definitively break with all the attachments that still keep them bound to earth, and must give themselves completely and with all their strength to the practice of virtue.
The director must especially insist upon the practice of habitual recollection, interior and exterior silence, the mortification of the senses, complete detachment from earthly things, profound humility, and, above all, an ardent love of God that will inform and vivify everything that they do. They must therefore give themselves fully to the practice of prayer and remain attentive to the voice of God, which will call them frequently to the sweet and holy repose of contemplation. Nevertheless, they must take great care not to use violence on themselves, because God will come in his own time, and until he does, they should try to do all things gently and without violence under the assistance of ordinary grace.
However, it must be said that you should be very sure that you are indeed experiencing infused contemplation, before setting aside meditation. The same chapter quoted above can give additional guidance - and the entire book is on-line.
I’d say don’t give up the regular forms of prayer, but do hold on to the infused type of prayer you describe.
Frequently, when I pray my ‘prescribed’ type of prayer, I often get lost in contemplation. I don’t think that’s wrong, however, I do get annoyed that sometimes I can’t finish a simple rosary!
Only once can I remember having “infused” or “unitive” type of prayer. I was living back in PA and all I can say is that I had this whole conversation with God (I know not what of!) and I wasn’t praying or thinking anything at all. It was a wonderful feeling, and at that point in time, although I had thought about speaking in tongues, I realized that with God, one doesn’t need to think or speak at all sometimes. I would much rather have that “unitive” or “infused” type of prayer than any other gift of prayer - it’s that wonderful.
Unfortunately, I only experienced it once. I hope God grants me His Grace to become more holy and allow me to pray that way again.
May I thank you all for your replies and the time you took to offer them on my behalf. I will prayerfully take them all into my heart and follow the path that reveals itself through them. Thank you and God Bless…Theresa