Nothing in particular!

August 26, 2009

abbey120Dom John Chapman, OSB, was Abbot of the Benedictine community at Downside Abbey. I have always found his character attractive. A volume of his letters on prayer have recently been republished with an introduction by the equally unique Dom Sebastian Moore, OSB. The letters make great reading and are also very practical. The one bit of advice that really sticks in my mind is the very famous quote from one of his letters, “pray as you can, not as you can’t.” One quote which is rarely mentioned is, “meanwhile the mind is concentrated on nothing in particular – which is God of course.” This is surely Chapman at his best! So often with prayer we are concerned with our own needs, the needs of others, the conversation, the method, our own distractions that we can often forget the “nothing in particular.” In prayer we have to return gently to ourselves. In returning we discover that we are not alone and that the nothing in particular is God. If you seek to make the pilgrimage to the heart then there are many great resources on the net. Two which are particularly good: The Spiritual Solution and Sacred Space.

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