As we are removed from our attachments to sin, we become less self-centered in ways that go beyond simply thinking of others. Our prayer begins to be drawn up into the eternal exchange of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Not only our prayer, but also our lives enter into the heavenly liturgy, participating in the Trinity’s Divine life. This is the goal of prayer. Instead of prayer being about how I can best fulfill my needs, it becomes more about entering into this Divine communion and learning to explore this intimacy with wonder and zeal.
This kind of prayer requires a real dying to self, a dying to self that requires us to confront death and suffering. In our early spiritual development, we often labor under the illusion that progress consists primarily of our own effort and will. Although this illusion can be helpful at first, particularly in terms of motivation, it can be a real obstacle in the long run. Dying to self means that we let go of the illusion that we are in control, that we have everything figured out. This can be quite painful and requires real courage and receptivity. However, dying to self is a grace given by God.
As we grow in receiving our prayer from God, the Spirit begins to pray within us. Instead of inspirations seeming to be a random assortment of disconnected fragments, the patterns of grace begin to immerge from deep within our subconscious. This gives us the insight to recognize that nothing in this life happens by coincidence, nothing is outside of God’s Divine providence. The Spirit teaches us that by being open to reality, we discover God working in even the most common events.
Not only does the Spirit give meaning to the apparent randomness of life, He also charges the moment with the explosive force of the Gospel. Reality no longer seems like a dull series of chance encounters, but rather a drama of communion in which lives are intricately connected in a delicate balance. The burdens of daily life participate in the salvific suffering of Christ, losing the sense of isolation and frustration. In short, Christ makes everything new (Revelation 21:5).
Today, let us pray for the grace to let go of our limited ways of living. Let us pray that God will lead us along the path of perfection, calling us to die to self and to rise to new levels of intimacy with Him.