Angela on Prayer
Who am I?
Who is God?
Who are others?
These questions lie at the heart of Angela’s approach to prayer,
her approach to her relationship to God,
her approach to others.
Angela came to prayer deeply aware of her own fragility, the fragility of others and the human need for God. The prayer she gives in her Rule starts with the words:
“My Lord, light up the darkness of my heart” and continues “strengthen my affections and senses so that they do not stray, neither to right nor to left, nor turn me away from that dazzling face of yours which contents every afflicted heart.”.
Prayer for Angela was not just a personal matter between herself and God but an expression of her concern for and solidarity with all God’s children. Hers was a universal prayer. Further down in this same prayer she says: “Deign also to forgive the sins, alas, of my father and mother, and of my relatives and friends, and of the whole world.”
But Angela was not just aware of her fragility, she was also deeply conscious of her dignity as chosen by God to be the spouse of his Son Jesus. This made Angela approach God in prayer with supreme confidence, hope and trust; above all her relationship with the divine manifested itself in great joy and awareness of being loved.
She recognises too the dignity of other people as children of God. For Angela, we are all bonded in the blood of Christ. She appreciates deeply the love from which flowed Christ’s suffering and death. Her favourite place for prayer is at the feet of Jesus whom she calls “the Lover of us all”. She also encourages others to gather in prayer at the feet of Jesus and she longs that all may “be partakers in” his “most sacred Passion”.
Thus, through prayer, Angela’s heart became one with the heart of Christ. This is the goal of all prayer. Yet Angela knew that to arrive at this union one needs to “be diligent in prayer, mental and vocal”. To this advice she added the discipline of fasting as part of one’s prayer life. Moreover she advocates frequent attendance at Holy Mass where “are to be found afresh all the merits of the Passion of our Lord.”
Above all Angela’s prayer is Trinitarian. Her writings show that she has a relationship with each person of the Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. She begins her writings “In the name of the blessed and indivisible Trinity” and concludes “begging God to bless…In nomine Patris ,et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti. Amen”.