We all have heard prayer described differently. One of the most useful definitions includes the notion of dialog with God. As we know, dialog can take many forms, and the columnist writing on spirituality for the Catholic Times introduces us to one of the more unusual forms practiced by a religious brother who spends much of his time in prayer.
The writer, a priest, visited the brother, a friend, at his monastery. On
this occasion, he went to the porter's lodge to ask to see his friend.
The brother responsible for meeting guests went to the church to tell
the brother of his visit. When he came into the reception room, he
opened the door slowly, looked in, and when he saw his friend, he
greeted him warmly.
spent time drinking tea and conversing, but the priest friend admits
that he did all the talking. The brother's daily routine never varies
and may be the reason, the columnist says, his friend had so little to
say. The columnist monopolized the conversation and confessed, perhaps
cynically, he admits, asking the brother that it must be nice to spend
the whole day in prayer.
the brothers have different tasks, the brother answered. They are busy
with lectures, sermons, counseling, teaching, and the like. He was not
gifted in this way, he said, so he takes care of the house and does his
little tasks, and with the time left over goes to the church to pray.
The priest then asked what he suspected might be considered a foolish
question: how should one pray?
brother said that those who know more than he knows examine themselves
spiritually with the head and with whole-body pray. "I do not know how
to do this," he said. "I just sit my butt in the church. Those who see
me think I'm praying but it's not the usual kind of prayer. When we
experience God's love, doesn't the body in some way respond? For myself,
just sitting in the church for one or two hours is just fine. I look
at the cross, the tabernacle, the heavens through the open widows, feel
the breeze, and speak to God with the feelings I have. I don't know how
to pray, but I do know how to sit my butt in a church pew."
He added, "My body goes to where it wants, and what I feel with my body I present to God."
columnist says that his own butt does not particularly like going into
church to sit down. However, he hopes the day will come when his butt
will want to do what the brother enjoys doing.