The Filial Prayer – SpiritualDirection.com

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Editor’s word: This text is an element 10 of a sequence, “The Kingdom of Grace.”  Half 9 might be discovered here. 

“Love unites,” says the traditional proverb. It’s notably true with the God of Love. When folks love one another they spontaneously have a tendency to hunt each other out, discover technique of contact, and work to stay collectively. On this sense, love seeks union.

However love unites in one other approach. Love forges a bond between folks, and thru the bond of affection options of 1 particular person switch to the opposite. Married {couples} who’ve lived collectively lengthy sufficient speak like one another, sound like one another, and even appear to be one another. Even the ideas and emotions of their hearts belong to 1 one other in ways in which solely they will perceive. If love works so powerfully to unite folks in pure friendships, how rather more so within the supernatural friendship between us and God.

God has given us a particular reward of Love referred to as grace. He has reached right down to us and referred to as us up into friendship with himself – into true Life in God. In our friendship with God, love is at work uniting us with God in wonderful methods. Simply as a lover seeks out the beloved, so God seeks us out. However for a second had Adam fallen and God referred to as out: “The place are you?” (Gen. 3:9).

The sample of God searching for us out repeats itself with the patriarchs, the prophets, the apostles – with every of us in a novel approach. He addresses us as buddies. Every of us tends to suppose that it’s I who search out God, however in actual fact, it’s God who first seeks out every of us. Certainly, “we’re not Christians due to our personal achievement, however as a result of God has sought us from eternity with the ability of his love.”*

Simply as buddies come to share each other’s options by way of the bond of affection, so we’ve come to share the options of God himself by way of the bond of affection established with him by grace. There may be actually no finish to saying all that has been or ever could possibly be exchanged between us and God in our friendship with him. It’s simply an excessive amount of. To take pleasure in his holy Identify dwelling in our hearts by grace is barely the start of the grandeurs.

One other astonishing factor transmitted to us by way of the bond of friendship with God is that our hearts now share in the very prayer of Jesus Christ himself.

What could possibly be extra central to somebody than his or her prayer? The prayer of an individual is an inside act, very secret, and one thing of a private attribute or distinctive trait. Simply as every human finger leaves a novel fingerprint, so every human coronary heart raises a novel prayer to God. The prayer of 1’s coronary heart is deeply private, and for no two folks is the prayer of the guts ever fairly the identical. The deepest prayer of your coronary heart or mine would possibly effectively be as of but unstated. It won’t but have surfaced. However actually God seeks your prayer. For nobody else can provide your prayer to God besides you. 

The deepest prayer of your coronary heart or mine would possibly effectively be as of but unstated. It won’t but have surfaced. However actually God seeks your prayer. For nobody else can provide your prayer to God besides you.

So, too, it’s with the particular person of Jesus Christ. He had a prayer all of his personal. The Gospels inform us what it was: “Abba!” (Mk. 14:36). It was a novel prayer, unprecedented in all of Israel, and it belonged to Jesus alone. However one thing very fascinating seems within the letters of the New Testomony. Saint Paul tells us that, due to the demise and resurrection of the Lord Jesus, the Spirit of sonship has been despatched into our hearts and now we cry: “Abba!” (Rom. 8:15: Gal. 4:6). Essentially the most private, inside, and intimate act of the guts of Jesus has now been transmitted to Christian hearts too by way of the Spirit of Love. In consequence, that prayer that was unique and correct to the guts of Jesus is now the prayer of our hearts too. Our prayer participates in his. Because of this participation, one and the identical prayer-event occurring within the coronary heart of the Lord Jesus is now occurring in our hearts too. “The Spirit of adoption permits us to share within the prayer of Jesus” (CCC 2717).

How can this be so? “All who cling to the Lord turn out to be one spirit with him,” says Saint Paul (1 Cor. 6:17). One may by no means ponder sufficient what it means to cling to the Lord and turn out to be one spirit with him, however in essence, it means that there’s an alternate of prayer-life with the Lord by way of the bond of affection. The prayer of his coronary heart and the prayer of our hearts are one prayer. The fusion of our prayer life together with his involves go by way of the bond of affection, or extra particularly, by way of clinging to the Lord in love. The extra deeply and intensely every certainly one of us clings to the Lord in love, the extra every and all of our hearts will share within the one prayer – the Son’s prayer to the Father within the Spirit. It’s typically referred to as the filial prayer.

The filial prayer is a shared motion occurring now between the guts of Jesus Christ in heaven, and our personal hearts right here on earth. Although we stay on the earth, and Jesus Christ lives within the heavenly locations, the prayer of our hearts on earth is the prayer of his coronary heart in heaven. It’s also the one prayer of the holy angels, the saints, and the Virgin. It’s the one prayer that saves the world, and it’s our pleasure and our calling to share within the filial prayer of the Lord day and evening. His filial prayer is at its most excellent on earth within the celebration of the Eucharist, however the share of our hearts within the filial prayer isn’t restricted or reserved to moments of exterior rites.

The filial prayer is a shared motion occurring now between the guts of Jesus Christ in heaven, and our personal hearts right here on earth. Although we stay on the earth, and Jesus Christ lives within the heavenly locations, the prayer of our hearts on earth is the prayer of his coronary heart in heaven.

For these residing in a state of sanctifying grace, strolling by the sunshine of religion and residing in friendship with God, the filial prayer takes place within the depths of our hearts even after we are busy about different issues. Within the depths of our hearts is the place the true life is discovered.

True life is present in residing the one prayer that saves the world – the filial prayer of Jesus Christ.   

*Josef Ratzinger, Searching for God’s Face: Meditations for the Church 12 months. Translated by David Smith and Robert Cunningham. (Windfall, RI: Cluny, 2020): p.54

Father James Dominic Brent, O.P. is a Dominican Friar who lives and teaches on the Dominican Home of Research in Washington, DC. A number of of his homilies, non secular conferences, interviews, and radio spots might be discovered on his personal Soundcloud site. He incessantly lectures for the Thomistic Institute and seems on Aquinas 101.

Picture courtesy of Unsplash.



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