The more childlike we want to be, according to the teaching of our Master, Jesus Christ, the more we shall urge the Holy Spirit to achieve our transformation.
He seems to work too slowly for our liking, so we plead with him to come, to complete his work before we die. For when we understand what adoption means, the Father being our Father, we see to what likeness to the Son it must lead. And so we shall have a growing devotion to the Holy Spirit, feeling our need of him, for he alone can make us childlike. Veni, Sancte Spiritus!...
Prayer follows an awareness of dependence: a little child relies on his parents for everything, and a child of God feels like this about his heavenly Father. So his prayer is a need, a life, a way in which the spirit expresses its sense of poverty and trust. The way to learn to be a contemplative is to learn how to ask. Through such an expression of dependence we come to recognize God’s mercy, his goodness, his beauty, whatever attribute we are most drawn to, for he fulfills all our longings. Then petition is transcended, for God himself will open our eyes.
Those who are spiritually poor have immense confidence in their Father. They are certain that he will give what they need; it is given, though perhaps not when, or how, it is expected, for his children have to be at his disposal. Seeing ourselves as poor as we are, we long for his Spirit to come and sanctify us. And because we are human, this longing is often expressed in words, sometimes spoken, sometimes imagined. Or else the longing can simply come to the surface of our consciousness without words, for it may be too deep for them. This is genuine prayer of petition: asking for something we long for, personally and intensely.
Father Bonaventure Perquin, O.P. "Asking the Father for the Holy Spirit." from Abba, Father (New York, NY: Scepter Press 2001).
Reprinted with permission of Scepter Press.
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