Translated from the original by Ana Giménez.
We are about to finish the First Mansions. As we were saying, we have found an interlocutor with whom we can maintain a dialogue and have a relationship, which can last a lifetime. A God-Love who will little by little come forward and be our company, divine guest, and friend.
We start by greeting, as in every human relationship; common sentences in our language and culture, like: “good morning”, “how are you?” “Do you study or do you work?” etc. In a spiritual itinerary, they are called vocal prayers. Those we may have learnt when we were little and we have
stopped repeating them. In Christian tradition and for Teresa, as well, there are two prayers which are essential:
The Lord´s prayer and the Hail Mary. The Apostles Creed, Glory Be, I Confess or any other prayer which can help us pray, are vocal prayers.
To pray once a day The Lord´s prayer and Hail Mary, can be an excellent starting point for the First Mansion. The only condition that Teresa states is that they must be prayed conscientious of what it is said. Not to allow ourselves meaningless repetition, while our brain is somewhere else. She even states that The Lord´s prayer, well prayed and slowly said , can lead us to perfect contemplation. I met a woman who had a compulsion to play and would spend her money gambling in bingos. She would walk to the bingo house while praying The Lord´s prayer on her way. One day- once she had finished her prayer- she realised she had no need to play anymore, and felt completely free to get into the bingo or not.
In Teresa´s itinerary you are a free and active person. The Church´s wealth achieved along the years, is wide. It´s up to you, from your entire freedom, the way you want to practice the principle of your vocal prayer. It could lead you to reciting the Rosary every day. If this is the case, do it!
You may prefer an ejaculatory prayer or something you make up, like: ”Good morning, Lord“ or a quote from the Bible. Don´t be afraid. You may as well pray something you know by heart from a saint…Many laypersons also get used to reciting parts or the entire Breviary: lauds, compline,
vespers, etc. You just need to download a mobile application like e-Prex or similar. You will know what is more convenient for you, provided that you don´t forget to pray every day The Lord´s prayer and the Hail Mary.
Chapters 24 and 25 of The Way of Perfection by Teresa of Ávila, are devoted to the vocal prayer.
I include a wonderful prayer by Charles de Foucauld, regular reader of Saint Teresa for years. God-Love is your Father, he loves you, He calls you from deep inside and wants to communicate with you. He is the one who prompts you these vocal prayers.
The “Prayer of Abandonment”
I abandon myself into Your hands,
Do with me what you will
Whatever you may do,
I thank you.
I am ready for all,
I accept all.
Let only Your Will be done in me,
and in all your creatures,
I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into your hands I commend my soul
I offer it to you,
With all the love of my heart,
For I love you,
And so need to give myself,
To surrender myself into your hands
And with boundless confidence,
For You are my Father.