Knowing How To Pray

“I don’t know how to pray,” my mother Margaret said to me during a recent visit Ysabel and I made to London, Ontario for her 88th Birthday.  Her comment surprised me since she grew up in a Northern Ontario Catholic family that included an aunt who was Mother Superior of the Grey Nuns of Canada, Sr. St. Helena, and two of six brothers who were Basilian Priests, Uncles Pat and Gerald.

I refrained from advising her, deciding instead to give it some thought. What came to me is that my mother really does know how to pray, she just didn’t realize she’s a contemplative.

Memories of Mom in a contemplative state include one of her sitting on the dock of her brother Ivan’s camp on Ella Lake, her legs tucked beside her, learning on her left arm, her right hand holding a magnifying glass a foot above the wood planks. She used the morning sun’s rays to burn the names of her five children, Tim, Kathleen, Pat, Peggy, and Sean, into the wood of the dock. She did it with steady concentration, absorbed in the present moment, and oblivious to my gaze.

My other memory is of Mom contemplating is of her gazing silently into the flames of a fire she had made in our fireplace on Naomee Crescent in London. I could sense by her countenance that she was at peace, letting the flames of the fire hold her in a sense of well-being.

Catholic contemplation is the practice of immersing one’s self in the present moment. In trust and in hope, it is a giving of one’s being to the interior presence of God in us. It is as easy as falling off a log, and as difficult as making a horse drink.

The first step is to find your breathing. The second step is to call ever so gently to God within our hearts.

Categories Blog Post | Tags: , , , , | Posted on January 21, 2020

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