This morning I was taking another crack at contemplative prayer — rereading Teresa of Avila’s Interior Castle, trying to find that deep prayerful place.
As I’m slogging along with the words, Skye-the-Wonder-Schnauzer rubs against my leg, uncharacteristically wanting a morning sit in my lap. At this hour she’s usually too hyper for such restful repose, normally bouncing out the request for a walk instead. But this morning is cold, after several warm days. Skye wants the cozy warmth of my lap, and she’s a four-legged heating pad to me.
Back to St. Teresa. . . . She seems to be exploring the contrast between discursive (thinking) prayer that originates in our initiative and a deeper prayer that flows more directly from God. Read that passage again. Poor Teresa. She’s struggling to express the inexpressible.
I’m struggling to care any more. My mind wanders from the second chapter on the fourth mansion of the castle. Now aware of the sensation of fingers stroking the cotton fur on Skye’s back, as she blissfully snoozes.
Moments later her bliss becomes my bliss. Mind checks out. Feeling floats on the surface of the soul. And I realize I’m in a deep place of prayer, sinking into the warm presence of God.
Thanks, Teresa of Avila, for trying. But Skye is my priest today: canine mediator of the divine.