Faith is more than our exterior practices. It is more than the action of saying and of doing. There is a deeper element – the interior. Allowing God’s words to wash over us and the meanings to penetrate to our innermost self, allowing it to penetrate our thoughts until it speaks to our heart and to our soul. That is when we truly are in communion with God.
Jesus said, “Were you not able to keep watch one hour?” (Mark 14:37) I have noticed that it is not until I am able to pray for at least an hour that I am able through thought and meditation during prayer to enter into the interior practice of prayer. It is then that I am able to forget myself and focus on God and the lessons He has to teach me. It is then that my soul is comforted. It is then that true change happens.
I have noticed, while walking and praying, that at this point small animals (birds, squirrels, cats) tend to not be frightened, and not scurry away as I pass close to them. It’s as if they sense God’s Spirit that is stirred in me. There’s a sense of peace that surrounds me that they notice. This only happens after at least an hour of prayer, and it doesn’t happen often. It’s a little gift God gives me to reassure me that my prayers are heard. At times like this I am reminded of St. Francis and his friendship with animals. It is at times like this that I am humbled.