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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Overcoming distractions during prayer

By Carlos X.

File:San Pedro en lágrimas - Murillo.jpg
St. Peter in Tears by Murillo (Wikimedia Commons).

"That labor of the intellect which we call meditation," wrote the Venerable Fr. Luis De La Puente (1554-1624), “is among the most difficult things about mental prayer.” We all know the reasons: “It is easy to have several things in mind at once, and to dash from one thing to another without order or concert, but it is very difficult to think about a single thing with concentration, with fixed memory and understanding of God, without diverting to or spilling over to other things; even the great Saints have this trouble sometimes, and they complain about it.”

Fr. La Puente prescribes four potent tools to avoid distractions during prayer:
  • Profound humility
  • Prayer itself
  • Faith
  • Spiritual fortitude

Fr. La Puente was the subject of Archbishop Óscar A. Romero’s thesis for his doctorate studies in theology.  Romero never obtained the degree but he put Fr. La Puente’s methods into practice. Fr. La Puente spurred the young Romero to strive to perfect his devotion.  “In recent days the Lord has inspired in me a great desire for holiness, after I had read some of Father La Puente,” Romero wrote in his diary in February 1943."I have been thinking of how far a soul can ascend if it lets itself be possessed entirely by God." But, like the saints that Fr. La Puente tells us had trouble concentrating during prayer, Archbishop Romero sometimes felt distracted.

Continue reading at Carlos' blog Super Martyrio.

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