What is Your Desire when you are in Christ?
Once we come to know our deepest desires, we have to ask the next question, “What do I desire when I am in Christ?” When I am in prayer (in Christ), what do I notice about my thoughts, feelings and desires? What do I notice about Jesus’ thoughts, feelings and desires that are manifested through his actions?
When we are “in Christ” we begin to take on Christ’s own disposition of heart. We begin to think, feel and desire as Jesus does as He is “in the Father”. The disposition that Jesus creates in us is a profound openness to do whatever the Father desires. This too takes time and practice.
To be aware of our interior moments when we are “in Christ” means that we need to come to know Him and be with Him in Sacred Scripture. Praying with Sacred Scripture in a contemplative manner – that is, placing ourselves in the scene in an imaginative way – opens up new horizons of personal prayer that is rooted in Jesus’ own experience. Take a moment to learn some simple steps of praying with Sacred Scripture, PRRR.
Praying with scripture is a way to focus yourself on Christ and achieve a disposition of openness to His will.
PRRR – Prayer with Sacred Scripture
The PRRR method of praying with Sacred Scripture begins with preparing your heart for deep sharing, reviewing the text slowly and prayerfully with great expectation, reflecting on the text by placing yourself completely into the scene, and responding by speaking freely with God. This prayer can be done in front of the Blessed Sacrament or in the silence of your room. Don’t rush through the steps. Feel free to linger with the Lord as the Holy Spirit moves your prayer.
Prayerfully choose the time, place and content of your prayer. What scripture passage has your attention? Ask the Holy Spirit to quiet and inspire you. Consider how God our Lord looks upon you as you enter into prayer. Offer your will and actions to God for His greater glory.
This brief review of the text renders its content fresh in your mind and heart. Perhaps close your eyes and focus on the scene, letting yourself go in the Spirit. In the stillness of prayer, that Scripture is now alive in your consciousness, and you are free to enter in as the Lord desires.
You are now invited to enter the place of Scripture by “composing” yourself imaginatively within the event described in the text. You see the persons in the event, you hear the words they speak, and you observe the actions they accomplish. From deep within the place of Scripture you now ask God what you wish and desire in this prayer.
As friends conclude conversation together, they may communicate with ease remaining concerns for each other. Something similar is true in prayer. As the prayer concludes you simply speak freely with God as one friend speaks to another. This is our response to God’s action on us in heartfelt prayer. Naturally, it is a response of love.
Richard’s Experience Praying with Luke 19
“I took the place of Zacchaeus. I was there in the tree, waiting for Jesus to pass by. When I imagine the Gospel, I don’t see things in great detail. I just had a sense of being in the tree, waiting for Jesus to come. Then he did come, and he stopped. I sensed that, for him, at that moment, I was all that mattered. He was giving me his entire attention. And that was where the prayer stopped – Jesus looking at me, with his whole attention, with warmth, with desire to be with me, and my looking at him in response. It was quiet and happy. It lightened my worry and self-doubt. I knew that Jesus wanted to be with Zacchaeus regardless of Zacchaeus’ sinfulness, and that by being with him, simply by letting him know that he was loved, Zacchaeus would be transformed. I felt that Jesus was with me in the same way. Then I heard Jesus say, “Richard, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.” And we were together in the house, without many words, just together.”
As Richard contemplates this Gospel event, he grows in personal knowledge of Christ: “I knew that Jesus wanted to be with Zacchaeus”; “I sensed that, for him, at that moment, I was all that mattered.” Through his contemplation, Richard’s relationship with and love for Christ deepen: “Jesus looking at me, with his whole attention, with warmth, with desire to be with me, and my looking at him in response. It was quiet and happy.” Clearly, if Richard prays regularly in this fashion, his readiness to follow Jesus – that is, his readiness to discern – will grow as well.
See “Discerning the Will of God” By Fr. Timothy Gallagher, O.M.V., pg. 52-54.
What should I read at this point?
Discovering Your Personal Vocation: The Search for Meaning through the Spiritual Exercises
By Herbert Alphonso, S.J.
Meditation and Contemplation: An Ignatian Guide to Praying with Scripture
By Fr. Timothy Gallagher, O.M.V.
The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming
By Henri Nouwen