Sunday, November 13, 2011

Mass Chat: Recollection

For me, a perfect way to assist at Mass is after I have recently made my confession, performed my penance, and spent about an hour or so in solitary prayer in the company of the Blessed Virgin immediately before Mass.  Thus recollected, it seems to me, just about anything can go on at Mass and I do not mind at all. 

I am so grateful for Mass and the sacraments and Our Lady and the angels and saints and for the grace to receive Jesus in Holy Communion - who remains with us always...
St Teresa notes that we can obtain the prayer of recollection for ourselves, "for this is not a supernatural state [a passive recollection which can only be produced by divine motion], but depends upon our own volition; and by God's favour, we can enter it of our own accord."
Therefore, it is important to know what the soul should do in order to practise this prayer, and this can be reduced to two things: "The soul collects together all its faculties and enters within itself to be with its God" (ibid, 28). Our senses, imagination, and intellect tend spontaneously toward exterior things, on which they are dispersed; therefore, the soul, by a prolonged, resolute act of the will, ought to withdraw them from these exterior things in order to concentrate them on interior things -- in this little heaven of the soul where the Blessed Trinity dwells. This exercise, especially in the beginning, requires effort and energy and it will not be easy at first. However, the Saint teaches, "let the soul try to cultivate the habit, despite the fatigue entailed in recollecting itself and overcoming the body which is trying to reclaim its rights." Little by little, "as a reward for the violence which it had previously done to itself" (ibid.), recollection will become easy and delightful; the senses will obey promptly; and even if the soul is not entirely from distractions, it will not be so hard to overcome them.
"O my God, You are in me and I am in You. I have found my heaven on earth, since heaven is You, O Lord, and You are in my soul. I can find You there always; even when I do not feel Your presence, You are there nevertheless, and I like to seek You there. Oh! if only I could never leave You alone!" (cf. Sr Elizabeth of the Trinity, Letters) - Divine Intimacy



  1. So Terry, when you are recollecting yourself, do you then close your eyes? How do you silence the noises about you - even chattering old ladies 2 aisles behind you in the Adoration Chapel? How do you know the difference between true recollection and navel gazing? Do you have a "prayer word" or are you empty? Or do you have a multiplicity of thoughts?

  2. Really struck me, Terry - thank you.

  3. DB - I'm not sure. I pray many, many rosaries each day, so I think that is it. When people are chattering or kids running around, it is only like white noise to me - most times - it doesn't seem to grab, or at least hold my attention.

    Now watch - having said that - next time it will scatter my thoughts all over the place, but then, by the grace of God, I can recover my peace by reminding myself how "He walked in peace through the midst of them" or better - how he stood recollected before Pilate while the crowds shouted and called for his crucifixtion. See - nothing can separate us from the love of God that comes to us in Christ. Nothing.

  4. i love that response.

  5. DB--us Carmelites do some thing called Mental Prayer...
    And as St Teresa said it is not easy to do...

    For me to learn--part of it was learning how to RELAX and turn off the cartoons continually runningthrough the mind. A yoga class really helped me as as the end you are invited to go into a "relaxation phase", and as stray thoughts enter your mind you put them on a balloon and let them float away. The stray thoughts are not bad in was also helpful for me to give myself permission to think about them later.

    At home what helped me was putting on some very soft music, instrumental, nothing with words, not even chant. Have a quiet room with a chair and comfortable temperature. Have a one word mantra like Jesus or peace or love, which helps with breathing. I also light a candle to invite Jesus and the angels and Saints to accompany me in prayer. It lets my mind know that it is prayer time.

    You may one be able to do this 30 seconds or a minute at a time. Do not beat yourself if you cannot do takes LOTS of practice. the tiniest of effort is so pleasing to God. The goal is not to EMPTY your mind, but to quiet the mind of the racing thoughts so that God may enter.

    It took me about two years to get to the point where I can do this for about 1/2 hour in front of the Blessed Sacrament..and that is in a quiet is like BEING with someone you love very much and not having to say anything or do anything, just BEING. The verse "be still and know that I am God" is really fulfilled. A noisy environment would be very difficult for me.

    Also this is not "speakign prayer"--you are not praying requests or are just "hanging out"...

    You can also perform this prayer with the Blessed Mother to "keep Her company".

    Good luck!!


  6. PS...those of you who have the mental ability to multi-task will probably find this VERY hard..have to disable the multi-task button.



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