“When the soul has been deeply touched, it is by love alone that it desires to be intimately joined to God. This is why we advocate reducing ardent aspirations to a few words, even to the mere word ‘love.’ This love sends forth ardent and fiery flames with all its strength. As a result a blazing fire is enkindled in the soul. It is in this way that God stirs up in the soul and draws it strongly inward.” – John of Saint-Samson
An Advent Prayer
In the spiritual classic, The Cloud of Unknowing, the anonymous author recommends containing our thoughts and desires into a short prayer, even a single word like “God” or “Lord,” which represents to the soul God and all his fullness. Let aspirations reduce into a few words, one word, or even a simple and subtle stirring of the spirit. Let your love for God draw you inward. As prayer becomes more wordless and image-less, we may follow this pure desire into the cloud of unknowing between us and our God.
How to Pray
Aspirations are a simple regard for God, a sigh of desire for Him, an internal act of love that inflames the heart. They are an elevation of the heart to God and a settling gently back into oneself. Prayers of aspiration can take the form of a wordless sigh of love for God, or a short prayer that helps aspire the heart, like “Come, Lord Jesus,” “Lord, please help me,” “Please forgive me, Lord,” or “Thank you, Lord.” Don’t strain the mind or heart when making aspirations, they should be gentle and concise, and practiced with discretion and moderation.
An easy way to practice making aspirations is to use them in an exercise of meditation. Sit in a comfortable position and close your eyes. Recollect yourself. Begin making aspirations slowly and easily. You will begin to think about, desire and remember many different things. You may use these distractions as subjects with which to make aspirations, but don’t get too wordy. Let go of preoccupations, return gently to making aspirations again and continue.
A period of 15 to 20 minutes prayer of aspirations is adequate. After your prayer period has ended, sit for a minute or two before returning to your daily activities.
We encourage you to use the meditative music below to assist you in your Prayer of Aspiration.