It is a form of recollection that also seems to me supernatural for it does not involve remaining in the dark, or closing the eyes, nor is it dependent upon anything exterior. A person involuntarily closes his eyes and desires solitude; and, without the display of any human skill there seems gradually to be built for him a temple in which he can make the prayer already described; the senses and all external things seems gradually to lose their hold on him, while the soul, on the other hand, regains its lost control. (Teresa of Avila: Fourth Mansions: Chapter 3)
Teresa notes five things about The Prayer of Recollection:
- It’s a supernatural event initiated by God.
- Without any human skill a “temple” is gradually built where prayer and meditation occur.
- The soul desires solitude to embrace the interaction with God.
- External things gradually lose their hold on us.
- The soul regains its lost control (i.e. recollection or centering).
When exterior things distract our souls; when our interior life is cluttered; when we are driven by fear and trivial competition, the Prayer of Recollection can help our soul regain control and center our scattered faculties. I encourage you to practice ten minutes of solitude and silence each day. While we cannot make the Prayer of Recollection happen, we can learn to be attentive to God and our own inner voice.
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