During the February meeting the first formation group discussed Lesson 7 (V2.Nov.I) on The Liturgy of the Hours and Lectio Divina. As a supplementary reading I sent out the first chapter from St. Teresa and the Our Father : A Catechism of Prayer.
The Rego reading was to set the context. There is so much we can read about prayer: inspiration, tools, techniques, advice and guides. Fr Rego is perhaps another one to add to the mix but I felt it provided a nice counterpoint to the very detailed technical and theological references given in the introduction the Divine Office. The message is simple – friendship with Christ. It is this simple message that can remind us that ultimately it is the Holy Spirit who guides and sustains all our efforts.
If the Holy Spirit can guide us so well then it begs the question of why do we need to fulfil a duty of morning and evening prayer?
St Teresa asked a similar question about why God would give us the petitions of the Our Father when He knows our needs so well?
Fr Rego summarises the two reasons she gives:
- We are not like Jesus in that we do not instinctively trust God to provide what is truly good for us. We need to be guided to ask for what is good for us and trust that it will be given.
- Jesus wants us to consider exactly what it is that is good for us. We may not desire it sufficiently nor know it when we see it. Teresa advises that we pray for light in understanding and desiring what is good for us so that, ‘if the Eternal Father should offer it to you, you will not scoff at it’ (Way of Perfection, 30:3)
Around the group we agreed that friendship implies listening, it has certain duties and responsibilities, and it means being present. This friendship grows as we come to know God and His gifts better by praising and praying with the heavenly choir. Through this universal prayer we are never alone.