Translated from the original by Ana Giménez.
The transition from vocal prayer to mental prayer can be done in different ways. The contemplation of nature was a handy and practised prayer by Saint Teresa, also loved by Saint Juan de la Cruz and other spiritual people. The habit dates from long ago, the Greek philosophy. They used to start on the basis of created things to reach communication with the gods.
In a fight which lasted more than 20 years and after her “resurrection”, that is, a serious illness she suffered in her youth, nature was of great help to her:
“It used also to help me to look at a field, or water, or flowers. These reminded me of the Creator. I mean, they awakened me, helped me to recollect myself and thus served me as a book” (Life 9.5)
Jesus called her to a friendship deal with Him, and she would indulge herself: “I began, then, to indulge in one pastime after another, in one vanity after another and in one occasion of sin after another.” (Life 7.1) “For I had been a year or more without praying” (Life 7.11)
And when she prayed she had constant distractions:
“I suffered great trials in prayer, for the spirit was not master in me, but slave. I could not, therefore, shut myself up within myself (the procedure in which consisted my whole method of prayer) without at the same time shutting in a thousand vanities.” (Life 7.17)
Praying while contemplating nature will be of great help in this period of her life, along with other ones that we will see.
Contemporary spiritual theologians think that this starting point for praying is not biblical. They see more appropriate a starting point from history and people, especillay underpriviledged groups, as it is explained in the readings from the Word of God proposed just today.
Nevertheless, the truth is that we are nowadays facing the return to silence due to the excess of noise we are bearing. I have been told by those who have practised it, that walks in silence and in beautiful landscapes are organised. In groups without talking.
In conclusion, the fight to go through, from first to second mansion, is very hard; and anything which may help us to reach to meditation prayer as soon as possible along with the Word of God, should be welcomed.