15. The essence of prayer

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Do not these words “contemplative” and “contemplative vocation” frighten you. Do not picture an exceptional vocation so high that most people can never come near it.

Brother Charles of Jesus tells you what it means.  It is a completely simple, trusting and loving attitude of someone talking intimately with Jesus.  It is the affection of a little child for his father, the confident sharing of a friend with a friend:

When we love someone, we want to speak to him endlessly. Prayer is nothing else: a familiar conversation with our Beloved.  We gaze at him, we tell him we love him, we rejoice to be at his feet.  (Brother Charles of Jesus)

Praising God means to lose ourselves at his feet in words of admiration and love.  It means to tell him in all the ways we know that he is infinitely perfect, infinitely worthy of love. It means to tell him over and over again and never to stop saying that he is beautiful and that we love him. (Ibid.)

This is the essence of prayer and the meaning of contemplation.

As you work, as you come and go, as you pass among the crowds, to be a contemplative will means simply that you try to turn to Jesus within you and to enter into conversation with him, as with the one you love most in the world:

May God be the King of our thoughts, the Lord of our thoughts.  May the thought of him never leave us, and so everything we say or do or think will be for him and will be guided by his love.  (Brother Charles)

Then you will not lose your way in the midst of the world’s activity:

When you love, you do not lose sight of the one you love.  When you love you think of only one thing, the one you love. You worry about only one thing, the good of the one you love and possessing him.  When you love, only one thing exists, the one you love.  When someone loves God, can there be room in his heart for material cares and worries? To pray is to think of Jesus and love him. The more you love him, the better you pray.(Ibid.)