July 15, 2009
Julian Meditations

July, 2009

True Prayer

by John Tauler (ca. 1304-1361 A.D.)

THE SAINTS AND TEACHERS of the Church tell us that prayer is the lifting-up of the mind to God. Reading and vocal prayer help in this lifting-up, and it is good to use them for this purpose. Just as my clothes are useful to me but are not me, so spoken words are a help to true prayer without being that prayer: its essence is that the heart and mind go out to God without intermediary.

True prayer is simply that, and nothing else: the lifting-up of the mind to God in love, interior longing for and humble submission to Him.

St. Augustine says that there is a mysterious place deep in the soul that is beyond time and this world, a part higher than that which gives life and movement to the body. True prayer so raises the heart that God can come into this innermost place -- the most disinterested, intimate, and noble part of our being -- the seat of our unity.

It is His eternal dwelling place, and into this grand and mysterious kingdom he pours the sweet delight of which I have spoken. Then are we no longer troubled by anything; we are recollected, quiet and really ourselves, and we become daily more detached, spiritualized and contemplative -- for God is within, reigning and working in the depths of the soul.

From An Anthology of Mysticism, edited by Paul de Jaegher (London: Burns & Oates, 1935), p. 39; taken from Meditations on the life and Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ: Eighty-three sermons, addressed to contemplative Dominican nuns in the Rhenish region of France, attributed to Dominican John Tauler.