Today I want to address several things in this post, including answering a reader’s question about the meaning of recollection. I also have a housekeeping issue, want to share a few past posts about Advent for those of you with children at home, and tell you about the first ever sale on the paperback version of my book.
But first things first.
St. Teresa of Avila speaks of two different kinds of recollection, neither of which means “remembrance,” as we commonly use the word. And “being recollected” is an even more basic element of prayer.
We generally call it being recollected when we focus our attention on God.
As we read earlier in Interior Castle:
… if it is prayer at all, it must be accompanied by meditation. If a person does not think Whom he is addressing, and what he is asking for, and who it is that is asking and of Whom he is asking it, I do not consider that he is praying at all even though he be constantly moving his lips.” (1:1, 7)
How do become recollected? When we first go to pray, we make an effort to set aside interior distractions. We might picture ourselves laying our cares and trials at the feet of Jesus. In this way, we acknowledge that we are going to focus on him, not our affairs and preoccupations. Then we try to keep our mind on the Lord for the duration of our prayer time. When we get distracted, we gently bring our mind back to Him.
Another way to begin prayer in a recollected manner is reminding ourselves that God is present everywhere. We can think about His presence surrounding us. We recognize His power and majesty and make ourselves ready to address Him.
We could also remember that the Holy Trinity dwells in our souls. As we study Interior Castle, we can begin prayer by picturing a castle in our hearts, and moving towards the King who dwells in its center, getting rid of everything that holds us back from Him.
Practicing saying one Hail Mary with attention, as we talked about before, is practicing being recollected.
Teresa speaks about two kinds of recollection that are more than “placing ourselves in the presence of God,” as many writers put it.
Prayer becomes simpler as we become practiced in it and in virtue. As time goes on, we should find it easier to be aware of God’s presence. We slowly focus less on “thinking much,” and more on “loving much.” This is called acquired recollection. We will discuss that prayer development more when we discuss third mansions.
Additionally, there is infused recollection, the first type of contemplation. We will look at infused recollection as we discuss the fourth mansions.
More subscribers, less frequent posts
Now, a quick note on the frequency of my posts. I now have over 1400 subscribers, which means that I can only write up to 8 posts per month in order to deliver them to your email box without my having to pay. So I am reducing my posts to once per week, unless I have a post up at SpiritualDirection.com or elsewhere to share with you. I’ve been wanting to reduce the number of posts for months, but I feel guilty when I only post once a week! Now circumstances are forcing me to follow through. Doing fewer blog posts means I can spend more time writing books. And I have many, many ideas for books I hope to write!
I will try to post on Tuesdays. This week I got mixed up, because of the Holy Day on Monday.
Past posts on Advent
Speaking of past posts, here are a couple to help you with the rest of Advent.
In one of my first posts two years ago, I wrote how we use an alternative school calendar to help make our Advent more peaceful and prayerful.
This post from last year gives some ideas for Advent activities with your family.
My book and several others on sale for one day only!
And speaking of books, on Thursday, December 11, Indie Catholic Authors is sponsoring a one-day digital Christmas Party and sale. Join us on our facebook event page.
Eight authors, including me, best-selling fiction writer Ellen Gable, and noted suspense author R. B. O’Gorman, are discounting our books from 6 AM Central December 11 to 6 AM Central December 12. The paperback version of Trusting God with St. Therese will be 20% off at CreateSpace for the first time ever. You must use a coupon code, which I will post on Thursday on the facebook page and also on the homepage of Indie Catholic Authors (a writers’ group I created). Join the facebook event now, so you don’t miss out.
My ebook price will be slashed to $.99 on Amazon for 24 hours also.
This is a great opportunity to pick up some additional Christmas presents for your friends and family.
I will be available to answer your questions about my life, my writing, trusting God, St. Therese, and anything else appropriate from 10-11 AM Central on the facebook event page. I will also be giving away a free signed paperback to one attendee. At least two other authors will be appearing to answer questions and giving away books. Please see the facebook event or Indie Catholic Authors site more. for details.
Note: The Amazon link is an affiliate link. I get a little more money when you buy my book through such a link.