prompt the conversion of our heart, and strengthen our will to follow Christ" (CCC. 2708). We employ the intellectual capacity of the mind to think upon things. When we think upon God in prayer, we "should go further: to the knowledge of the love of the Lord Jesus, to union with him" (CCC. 2708). Even the atheist can think about God. Charles emphasizes that meditation is prayer when we think of God and love him simultaneously. It follows that as we increase our knowledge of God and intensify our love, then our life of prayer grows. In this soil, the free gift of contemplative prayer can find root (CCC. 2713). Such prayer is not opposed to meditation, but rather in it the inner eyes of our heart is lovingly gazing upon Christ (CCC. 2709).
Ultimately, the formation of the Companions of Jesus of Nazareth aims at cultivating hearts to receive this free gift of contemplative prayer. God desires to give the gift of prayer to his children. "Contemplative prayer is the prayer of the child of God, of the forgiven sinner who agrees to welcome the love by which he is loved and who wants to respond to it by loving even more. But he knows that the love he is returning is poured out by the Spirit in his heart, for everything is grace from God. Contemplative prayer is the poor and humble surrender to the loving will of the Father in ever deeper union with his beloved Son" (CCC. 2712). Therefore, it is our conviction that contemplative prayer is for all; whether priest or laity, religious or married.
The readings that follow serve the purpose of providing a minimum of theological formation in the spirituality of Charles de Foucauld for the ultimate purpose of prayer. In prayer, our hearts are filled with the Spirit of God.
Charles de Foucauld defined prayer succinctly as "thinking of God while loving Him." In this definition, Charles holds together two elements involved in prayer: the will, in its capacity to love, and the mind, in it's capacity to understand, comprehend, and think. The Catechism of the Catholic Church includes a section on the Christian Life entitled Expressions of Prayer. It describes the prayer known as meditation. "Meditation engages thought, imagination, emotion, and desire. This mobilization of faculties is necessary in order to deepen our convictions of faith,