[Note: This medition is from a different book by Fr. Plus - Meditations for Religious will resume on April 20.]
Continued from yesterday.
It is conceivable that someone, without excluding other forms of prayer as being evil, may rightly decide that he will not use them himself, but devote his attention for long periods or even habitually to the prayer of adoration. After being for a long time in close touch with God he loses the desire to ask anything for himself. His petition is all for God. In the Our Father he willingly pauses in the middle: "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done...hallowed be thy name." In the rest: "give us...forgive us...deliver us," he has little or no further interest. He knows that God is good, merciful, infinite; that is enough for him. What need is there for him to speak to God of himself? To God he prefers to speak of God.
It is permissible to go even further. Towards the end of the Exercises St Ignatius suggests to the retreatant "the contemplation for divine love," and in this contemplation first of all thanksgiving to God for his benefits. But he advises going beyond this. God is not only what he is for you; he is what he is in himself. He is Creator, Providence, Giver of all blessings; but before all he is God. Put aside all other thoughts and concentrate upon this ultimate fact, this final consideration. Love God not for what he gives to us; love God for what he gives to himself eternally, for that unceasing intercommunication between the Father and the Son, for the eternal act whereby the Father contemplates himself, for the reciprocal love between the Father and the Son, the result of which is the eternal procession of the Person of the Holy Ghost. O beata Trinitas, O Blessed Trinity!
Be it noted, however, that we have called this the ultimate fact, the final consideration. To want everyone to have pure love and to use only the prayer of adoration is a dream, and an heretical dream at that. But it is quite another thing, when a person has reached the stage at which he has wholly decided upon perfect generosity and the complete offering of himself to God, to advise him to practise pure love, complete forgetfulness of self, and definitively, as far as is possible on this earth, to make "his conversation in heaven," that is, to live entirely in God.
To sum up. The prayer of adoration is very perfect, the most perfect of all, in itself. Hence it is advisable to practise acts of it occasionally. From this, however, it must not be concluded that the other forms of prayer are to be condemned, and that we are not to give thanks or to ask pardon or benefits of God.
It is an error to hold that the state of pure love is possible for all or, in an exclusive sense, desirable for everyone. But what we may conclude is that it is not surprising to find in a generous soul a strong inclination to place the prayer of praise and adoration in the forefront of the spiritual life, and that, moreover, it is desirable for Christians in general occasionally to leave the everlasting prayer of petition and to rise sometimes, and even often - as the Church invites us - to the disinterested prayer of praise.
To help these souls we will indicate the two forms that the prayer of adoration may take: affective adoration, which consists in transports of the heart, and effective adoration, which finds expression in acts, in faithful, loving and devoted service.
Adapted from How to Pray Well
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. ( 1929, Burns, Oates, & Washbourne Ltd.)