A Talk About Prayer* (Part 3)
Next come the words "Who art in heaven." Our Father is in heaven-therefore heaven is our country; and the devout soul may make acts of desire and longing for her heavenly home. Again, wherever God is, by His grace and love, there is heaven. His presence makes heaven. Now we know by divine faith that God is everywhere, and intimately present in all things and in all places; therefore, He is present in our own souls; and in a special manner, as He is more particularly present to spiritual substances than to other things. He is present there really and actually, at every moment, by His essence and His power, and, let us humbly and confidently trust, also by His grace and love.
Therefore, heaven is in our souls. Every time we say: "Our Father. Who art in heaven," we can look at God continually abiding in the very centre and essence of our souls, so that He is not far off from us, nor must we go to the: heavens above to find Him, as St. Teresa says, but He is very near to us, as near as our own souls, to our own bodies. And this all the time, at any and every moment; and with the Father we have the Son and the Holy Ghost.
So there are the Three Persons of the Trinity, enacting their wonderful relations one with another, working Their mighty works, upholding the entire universe, all within our own soul-wondrous thought! And since Jesus Christ our Lord is God the Son, then Jesus our Lord is present in our souls, making heaven there; and, by a sort of spiritual concomitance, we can represent to ourselves His sacred humanity as present also, and His blessed Mother, too, who is not separated from Him, and the saints and angels who constitute His court; these also we can represent to ourselves as present, though in a spiritual sense and not with the same actuality that the Divinity is present.
Since God then, and heaven, are present in our souls, at all times and in all places, we surely should have but little trouble in finding Him or in speaking with Him in our thoughts, or in making Him hear us: and this makes it very easy for us in time of prayer to form acts of love, etc., and to converse with Him. And not only in time of prayer, but at all times, all we have to do is to look within, and God is really and actually present. This should help us greatly to be recollected everywhere, and we should endeavor, little by little, to learn to keep up a continual conversation in our souls with God, Who is so much nearer to us than our dearest friend can ever be.
In this way we would always be on our guard against offending one who inhabits our very soul, and we would be habitually filled with a holy filial fear and love. The heaven that is within our souls by this divine presence will begin to project itself upon our surroundings, and we will be almost living in heaven, the world about us and our lives becoming tinged with its light. Behold all there is in the Our Father in this manner of prayer, before we come to the first petition.
And many other holy thoughts with accompanying requests and acts of the will and aspirations will present themselves to your minds, as God the Holy Ghost within you may direct....
* From Spencer's "The Little Grain of Wheat."
From "Prayer-Book for Religious"
by Rev. F.X. Lasance
Copyright 1904, 1914