"Prayer is by nature a dialogue and a union of man with God." —from The Ladder of Divine Ascent by St. John Climacus (579–649)
St. Paul urges Christians to pray without ceasing. Our Lord Himself told us to pray to our Father in secret. The saints have always interpreted these two injunctions as pertaining to mental prayer, that form of prayer which is not public, or liturgical, but interior, in the silence of the heart. It is this prayer, made without any external manifestation, that must be ceaseless. But how can we do this?
In this short booklet, Catechism of Mental Prayer, Fr. Joseph Simler, a Superior General of the Society of Mary, exposes the method of mental prayer recommended by all the spiritual masters of the tradition. While many have considered mental prayer, or meditation and contemplation, the province of dedicated monastics and hermits, the Catholic truth is that all are called to a participation in the fruits of mental prayer by turning our interior dispositions to God. The basic fact from which all mental prayer flows is the recollection of the omnipresence and omniscience of God. In this way, Fr. Simler shows how to proceed on the path of interior prayer, progressing through all the stages of spiritual recollection.
There is no greater means of growing in sanctity than interior, mental prayer. Indeed, many saints would say it is essential to salvation. But the true mark of prayer is not that it is sought for some end—even the noble one of sanctification—but rather that one seeks with longing the presence of God, wishing to abide in His embrace through a dialogue of charity. Indeed, this is what it means to pray in secret: for the most secret prayer is that made without anyone but God's knowing—even oneself. Let Fr. Simler show you the way.