Carmelite sister speaks on importance of prayer


Photo by: Patrick Berry

“The Real Presence desires your presence,” Sr. Mary Louise Marck, OCD, said in a talk on prayer Wednesday night. The last of Christ the King Chapel’s Lenten series, the talk began at 9: p.m.

Marck spoke of how prayer is ultimately centered on God’s desire for man’s happiness and invitation into the life of the Trinity, placing a secondary importance on giving God greater glory within prayer.

Marck invited attendees to “prayerfully imagine God the Father, at the beginning of time, perfect,” and to also “imagine the Son knowing the Father.”

She portrayed the Holy Spirit as a “gaze between (the Father and the Son),” which is “a sigh of delight and desire that we call the Holy Spirit.”

To Marck, this “delight and desire” is directed towards everyone, and she used the previous Sunday’s Gospel, Mark 1:12, to illustrate this. This Scripture passage speaks about Jesus being driven out by the Spirit into the wilderness among the wild beasts.

Marck spoke of this verse allegorically, calling the wilderness “the wilderness of your soul” and referring to the wild beasts as our fears, failures, addictions and aversions.

Since the “Holy Spirit did not drive him to the periphery,” prayer begins from God speaking to the core of our interior lives, said Marck.

Normally, said Marck, when we go to Mass, holy hour and such, we think of what we’re planning to pray about, and this can make prayer rather worrisome. She counseled to not worry because if prayer is about God’s desires for us, we just need to be present to him and listen to those desires.

Thus prayer is, as Marck cited from the Catechism, “the encounter of God’s thirst with ours,” meaning that God truly loves us and ultimately desires permanent happiness for us, as opposed to consuming us and using us as mere instruments to his greater glory. To Marck, this desire commands that one trust God, which is difficult because that makes a person realize that he or she is powerless on one’s own.

Mark said that when we go to prayer, we ought to realize that, in Pope Francis’s words, “God is a Father, and he wants us to live well,” which means that God would like us to have the same life he has always had in the Trinity. Thus, within the ordinary moments of the day that we pray, such as before meals, we ought to realize that God has been longing for that moment for centuries, said Marck.

The talk was well-received and was followed by a half of Eucharistic adoration in Christ the King Chapel.