learning about prayer

Here is a quotation on learning about prayer:

"How can you make people understand that they are supposed to grow into prayer?--It is just like with a foreign language: you teach the pupil word by word the language of God and the saints.  And all at once they speak this language fluently.  But this is possible only when you teach them the rudiments very clearly.  In an I-thou relationship.  Then the pupil also hears how the teacher speaks the language with others, he listens and acquires fluency.  The teacher can be God himself or the Mother of God or a priest.  But it does not absolutely have to be a human being.  God can open up heaven to a child (Adrienne von Speyr, With God and with Men: Prayers, 118)."

 

Adrienne von Speyr's own mystical, contemplative prayer began as a child and I think that this statement on the need for learning about prayer reflects some of her own interpretation about how she was taken into mystical prayer.  Hers was not an ascetical, acquired mysticism, rather she was introduced to it through a sheer gift of God and through her ascent at an early age.