A Journal for The Contemporary Church

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Personal Prayer and the Liturgy


Forty years ago I was challenged by a canoness. I had just finished a weekend course on personal prayer at a retreat centre in Dublin when she took me aside to share her misgivings with me. Her
dedication to liturgical prayer had made her somewhat dismissive of personal prayer which she felt was all well and good for the laity, but not for semi-contemplative nuns like her, whose spiritual meat and drink was primarily and almost exclusively the Prayer of the Church, the corporate expression of the faith of the community.

“I have read the New Testament from back to front and many times over,” she said, “but I can find no evidence there for the personal daily prayer that you have been advocating in your talks.