Pray without ceasing
ALL are capable of prayer, and it is a dreadful misfortune that almost all the world have conceived the idea that they are not called to prayer. We are all called to prayer, as we are all called to salvation.
PRAYER is nothing but the application of the heart to God, and the internal exercise of love. St. Paul has enjoined us to “pray without ceasing;” (1 Thess. v.17) and our Lord bids us watch and pray, (Mark xiii. 33,37): all therefore may, and all ought to practice prayer. I grant that meditation is attainable but by few, for few are capable of it; and therefore, my beloved brethren who are athirst for salvation, meditative prayer is not the prayer which God requires of you, nor which we would recommend.
…Let all pray: you should live by prayer, as you should live by love. “I counsel you to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that ye may be rich.” (Rev. iii. 18.) This is very easily obtained, much more easily than you can conceive.
Come all ye that are athirst to the living waters, nor lose your precious moments in hewing out cisterns that will hold no water. (John vii. 37; Jer. ii. 13.) Come ye famishing souls, who find nought to satisfy you; come, and ye shall be filled! Come, ye poor afflicted ones, bending beneath your load of wretchedness and pain, and ye shall be consoled! Come, ye sick, to your physician, and be not fearful of approaching him because ye are filled with diseases; show them, and they shall be healed!
Children, draw near to your Father, and he will embrace you in the arms of love! Come ye poor, stray, wandering sheep, return to your Shepherd! Come, sinners, to your Saviour! Come ye dull, ignorant, and illiterate, ye who think yourselves the most incapable of prayer! ye are more peculiarly called and adapted thereto. Let all without exception come, for Jesus Christ hath called ALL.
Yet let not those come who are without a heart; they are excused; for there must be a heart before there can be love. But who is without a heart? O come, then, give this heart to God; and here learn how to make the donation.
—A Short and Very Easy Method of Prayer, Madame Guyon (1648–1717)
Today is the 299th anniversary of the death of Madame Guyon.
But there is no feast day on the calendar of the Catholic Church for her. No, since during her lifetime it disapproved of her ideas and actually threw her in jail for eight years after she published the book quoted above. She seems pretty harmless today, but this French mystic promoted a heresy known as Quietism back in the day. Her published works, the Moyen Court and the Règles des associées à l’Enfance de Jésus, were both placed on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum in 1688. To the church she was no better than a Puritan or a Quaker. Seems like a good reason to read them.
Surprisingly, the Episcopal Church doesn’t have a day for her either. Kind of an oversight if you ask me.
The painting is “The Light of the World” by William Holman Hunt