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Many people followed him

  • FATHER BERNARD BRO, O.P.

In our relationship with Christ each of us must resolve one great problem.

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. . . We must also nourish this deep desire to meet God so that when the opportunity presents itself, we can take hold of it, and transform every event into an opportunity for genuine dialogue.  But the real obstacle to a life of prayer arises from an inordinate love; the love of self...

In our relationship with Christ, however, each of us must resolve one great problem: to pass from the abstract level to the personal one, that is, to put aside the kind of relationship that consists largely of ideas one has about Christ and to come to a direct encounter.  The same transition points are found in the life of prayer as in any friendship. 

There is a time when we are still not completely sure of the other person, when we are uncertain as to whether he will think or react like us.  Then the moment comes when we are assured of the other person, and every exchange is founded on a personal relationship.  Every event and even apparent differences are accepted without fear, since the reciprocity involved is one truly based on love. 

We love someone else because he loves us. What sustains and activates dialogue is this response, it is the fact that the other person is happy to learn the meaning of our life, and is happy to love us.  Therefore, the value of every method of prayer will depend primarily not on the number of abstract ideas it can give rise to, or on any other consideration, but on this fundamental question: Is it a help or a hindrance to the development of an authentic dialogue with Christ?

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Acknowledgement

Fr. Bernard Bro. "Many people followed him." excerpt from The Rediscovery of Prayer John M. Morriss, Tr. (The Society of St. Pauls/Alba House, Staten Island, NY, 1966).

Reprinted with permission of Alba House and St. Paul's US. The Rediscovery of Prayer is currently out of print. This excerpt appeared in Magnificat in July 2012.

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The Author

Dominican and doctor of philosophy, Fr. Bernard Bro has been a professor at the Pontifical Faculties of Saulchoir, preacher at Notre Dame in Paris, and recognized by the Academie Francaise for the whole of his work. He is considered among the world's foremost authorities on the life and writings of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. Bro is also director of the French publishing house, Éditions du Cerf, and a key figure in publishing the definitive editions of Thérèse's writings. He is likewise responsible for the religious broadcasts at France-Culture. His books, which have been translated into English, include St. Therese of Lisieux: Her Family, Her God, Her Message and The Little Way: The Spirituality of Therese of Lisieux.

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