Thursday, July 2, 2009


The author of The Third Spiritual Alphabet gives an excellent description of recollection in the first treatise of his book: "May the person and the spirit always walk together." This means that "wherever you go carry your mind along, for no one should go divided unto himself. Do not allow the body to travel one path, the heart another."

How is it possible to communion with God when at prayer the heart is on the things of the world, musing over conversations experienced with others, tasks still yet to be done, events yet to happen or past hurts or family sorrows and woes?

While seeking God through prayer this communion requires that the soul use whatever means possible to fix its heart only on God.

The author of this book, which St. Teresa of Jesus was so fond of, goes on to advise further on the practice of recollection - "to disencumber our hearts and drain them so everything created is emptied out and thrown away in order for the Lord alone to dwell there".

At prayer the recollected soul wants to devote itself entirely to God; therefore it will enter into the privacy of its soul, setting aside everything else and leaving inside God alone. This is the advice given by Jesus, "But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret". (Mt6:6)

This practice of recollection cannot be perfected in this life, but it can be begun. Once begun one must persevere in its practice in order to reap its benefits.


  1. I love this! I have been debating whether to get this book. Would you recommend it?

    The question is still HOW? I have the right intention but when I get there, it's nearly impossible to empty myself of all those thoughts that threaten to pull us away.

    I can only pray and be open to any advise from those more experienced.

  2. I would recommend the book. It is written in medieval style. There is lots to glean from it and you can see where St. Teresa got some of her ideas. There are 24 treatises (chapters) each one a "letter" like the one I commented on. Each letter can be interpreted in different ways which the author explains. It is mostly a book about recollection. It is a long book, 600 pages, but can be read a chapter at a time and not necessarily in any particular order.