Sr. Maria Benedicta, O.P. Prayer takes a lot of work and I’ve realized that, more and more, over the years. I always think of St. Paul’s analogy of the spiritual life as a race. He talks about how runners and athletes will train to win a crown of laurel wreaths and how we’re training for the crown that’s imperishable.
I think that analogy fits very well because when you start something like running or playing a sport it really hurts and it’s no fun at all because your body’s not used to it, but then you get to the point where all of a sudden you go out for a run one day and you realize I actually enjoy doing this – WOW! It’s fun and my body was made to do this; it just wasn’t prepared before.
I think it’s the same way with a soul in prayer when you start because of concupiscence, original sin, and because of all the distractions in the world; the soul’s not ready to pray right away, even though that’s what we were made for. It really takes hard work, it takes effort, and it takes lots of not feeling God or not necessarily hearing his voice even though He is speaking. It takes a lot of that sort of practice before the soul actually enjoys prayer.