Sign Up for our Free Daily Email Updates / Catholic Spiritual Direction

Light of the Spirit and True Knowledge of God

March 14, 2016 by  
Filed under Dan Burke, Liturgy of the Hours, Prayer

Light of the Spirit and True Knowledge of God


Lent is a time of intensified prayer.  See what Saint John Chrysostom has to say about this discourse with God.

“Prayer and converse with God is a supreme good: it is a partnership and union with God. As the eyes of the body are enlightened when they see light, so our spirit, when it is intent on God, is illumined by his infinite light. I do not mean the prayer of outward observance but prayer from the heart, not confined to fixed times or periods but continuous throughout the day and night.

“Our spirit should be quick to reach out toward God, not only when it is engaged in meditation; at other times also, when it is carrying out its duties, caring for the needy, performing works of charity, giving generously in the service of others, our spirit should long for God and call him to mind, so that these works may be seasoned with the salt of God’s love, and so make a palatable offering to the Lord of the universe. Throughout the whole of our lives we may enjoy the benefit that comes from prayer if we devote a great deal of time to it.

“Prayer is the light of the spirit, true knowledge of God, mediating between God and man. The spirit, raised up to heaven by prayer, clings to God with the utmost tenderness; like a child crying tearfully for its mother, it craves the milk that God provides. It seeks the satisfaction of its own desires, and receives gifts outweighing the whole world of nature.

“Prayer stands before God as an honored ambassador. It gives joy to the spirit, peace to the heart. I speak of prayer, not words. It is the longing for God, love too deep for words, a gift not given by man but by God’s grace. The apostle Paul says: We do not know how we are to pray but the Spirit himself pleads for us with inexpressible longings [cf Romans 8:26].

“When the Lord gives this kind of prayer to a man, he gives him riches that cannot be taken away, heavenly food that satisfies the spirit. One who tastes this food is set on fire with an eternal longing for the Lord: his spirit burns as in a fire of utmost intensity.

“Practice prayer from the beginning. Paint your house with the colors of modesty and humility. Make it radiant with the light of justice. Decorate it with the finest gold leaf of good deeds. Adorn it with the walls and stones of faith and generosity. Crown it with the pinnacle of prayer. In this way you will make it a perfect dwelling place for the Lord. You will be able to receive him as in a splendid palace, and through his grace you will already possess him, his image enthroned in the temple of your spirit.”*

* From a homily by Saint John Chrysostom, Second Reading of the Liturgy of the Hours, Friday after Ash Wednesday.


Art: Saint James the Greater, Rembrandt van Rijn, 1661, PD-US author’s life plus 100 years or less.

Print Friendly
Profile photo of Dan Burke

About Dan Burke

Dan is the President of the Avila Foundation, the parent organization of, the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, and Divine Intimacy Radio, author of the award-winning book, Navigating the Interior Life - Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God, and his newest books Finding God Through Meditation-St. Peter of Alcantara, 30 Days with Teresa of Avila, Into the Deep and Living the Mystery of Merciful Love: 30 Days with Thérèse of Lisieux. 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.

please consider supporting our mission with a donation!

  • Judy Silhan

    Such a meaningful homily, and one of many other beautiful writings found in the Liturgy of the Hours. Thank you so much for sharing with your students, the wisdom to be found in the Liturgy of the Hours, and which became a part of my prayer life after your speaking about it.

  • Joan

    Thank you Dan. A really beautiful post! I have been feeling a bit dull in my efforts and this description of prayer has lifted my spirit and given me a gentle push to go forward in love. Thank you.

  • Paul Diemert

    While recuperating from an auto accident I read the book, “The Way of a Pilgrim” and decided I would like to pray for one whole day without ceasing. After working on this project for about fifteen days, a union with God came about and life has taken a profound change as described above.

Skip to toolbar