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Mental Prayer – Spiritual Dictionary

MENTAL PRAYER: The form of prayer in which the sentiments expressed are one's own and not those of another person, and the expression of these sentiments is mainly, if not entirely, interior and not externalized (e.g. not vocalized).  Mental prayer is accomplished by internal acts of the mind and affections that are a loving and discursive (reflective) consideration of religious truths or some mystery of faith.  In mental prayer the three powers of the soul are engaged: the memory, which offers the mind material for meditation; the intellect, which ponders or directly perceives the meaning of some religious truth and its implications for practice; and the will, which freely expresses its sentiments of faith, trust, and love, and (as needed) makes good resolutions based on what the memory and intellect have made known to the will. (Adapted from Fr. John Hardon)

This Spiritual Dictionary Term is an excerpt from the Glossary of Dan’s book Navigating the Interior Life – Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God. To learn more, click here
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About Dan Burke

Dan is the President of the Avila Foundation, the parent organization of SpiritualDirection.com, the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, Divine Intimacy Radio and Divine Intimacy Radio - Resources Edition, Into the Deep Parish Programs, the Apostoli Viae (Apostles of the Way) Community, and the FireLight Student Leadership Formation Program, author of the award-winning book, Navigating the Interior Life - Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God, Finding God Through Meditation-St. Peter of Alcantara, 30 Days with Teresa of Avila, Into the Deep, Living the Mystery of Merciful Love: 30 Days with Thérèse of Lisieux, and his newest book The Contemplative Rosary with St. John Paul II and St. Teresa of Avila. Beyond his "contagious" love for Jesus and His Church, he is a grateful husband and father of four, the Executive Director of and writer for EWTN's National Catholic Register, a regular co-host on Register Radio, a writer and speaker who provides online spiritual formation and travels to share his conversion story and the great riches that the Church provides us through authentic Catholic spirituality. Dan has been featured on EWTN's Journey Home program and numerous radio programs.

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  • Thank you, Dan, for this excerpt. I now understand that praying the “Divine Mercy Stations of the Cross” at 3.00 O’Clock is actually mental Prayer. Most of the Devotional/Spirituality terminologies and the Theology they teach is somehow new to the old Cradle Catholics.

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