Spiritual Discipline



Presenter: Father Trevor Scott of the Jesuit Spirituality Centre, Halifax


Precis: 

Father Scott speaks on the theme of prayer and spiritual discipline. 


One of the most difficult engagements of our prayer life is personal prayer, simply being with God. Sunday worship, meetings, etc. are structured and programmed. These kinds of gatherings possess set patterns and structures and are social in nature.  


 Why is it so difficult to be in God’s presence during personal prayer? This is likely because this time with God is also so seemingly so full of inactivity. In the privacy of our prayer, we so often don’t know what is going on, we are confused. In the privacy of our time of prayer with God, we don’t have an agenda in front of us. We are active people, not prepared for times of inactivity. It is for this reason that it is often difficult for us to enter into this time of prayer.


There are people who can and do pray. It is their witness which instills in us the continual desire to keep striving to want to pray, to believe in prayer. 


Father Scott presents Brother Roger Schultz, the founder of the Taizé community and how he incarnated the gentle and humble face of Christ through: prayer and continually being in the presence of God.


What is prayer? It is our means of being with God. It is the time where we allow ourselves to be led by God in our lives. In the midst of prayer, we are most fully alive.


Father Scott refers to and quotes a number of early Christian theologians such as St Ignatious of Loyola and St Thomas Aquinas in this presentation.


Prayers of awareness are presented. Do we see God? Do we hear God. The disciples on the Road to Emmaus are presented as examplars.


Spiritual wisdom and spiritual attraction can be deceptive. It is easier to think about prayer than to actually pray. Prayer can become a means of self-absorption, rather than a means to our God.


Authentic prayer does not arise easily, nor is it natural. We need God’s help and patience. Using the example of the Disciples on the Road to Emmaus, Father Scott points out that the results of prayer are not always immediate. 


In Matthew 6:6 we are told “Shut yourself in your room and pray to your Father who is in secret.” We must learn to be with God, wherever he leads us, both in the depths of our silence, in the midst of our days and the needs of others…in the midst of our world.