Sometimes God seems gone. Even faithful Christians can sometimes feel absolutely alone. Carmelite nun, mystic and reformer Teresa of Avila called this feeling the “Dark Night of the Soul.” She also wrote that, for her, it lasted 19 years!
Yet every one of the spiritual mothers and fathers I’ve studied, including Teresa, engaged in prayer, including “receptive prayer.” Why? Because so much of our prayer lives involve asking for help. When we engage in receptive prayer, we open ourselves to receiving what we have asked for. After all, Scripture urges us to ask, listen, and receive.
Prayer is not just something we do. It is something God does in us. Even at age 10, I knew God was saying to me as well as to the disciples: “Receive the Holy Spirit.” And in gratitude, I still do.
This message is excerpted from “The presence in the prayer” by Grace Brame in the May 2019 Gather magazine. Today we commemorate Theresa of Avila, teacher, renewer of the church, 1582.
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