Adrian van Kaam

A deep way of learning to pray is to try to live in the presence of God

A deep way of learning to pray is to try to live in the presence of God. We try in a relaxed way to become aware of the Divine Presence during our waking hours. We need the grace of quiet concentration and perseverance to develop this disposition. Gradually, awareness of God's presence becomes an underlying theme of our life, an undercurrent of our stream of consciousness that never leaves us totally. This silent orientation is more spiritual and less bound to images than other kinds of prayer... We try in inner quiet to grow in living faith in the conviction that Divine Love is alive and at work deep within us.

~ from COMMITMENT by Susan Muto and Adrian van Kaam

The night of inner quiet

A hindrance to the fullness of Divine Presence is the lack of silence. The Word comes only in a deeper way when peaceful silence encompasses everything. I may refuse to enter into the night of inner quiet, of non-resistance to the Divine. Then my life is doomed to remain parched and lifeless -- a wasteland. Silence is a gentler rhythm of speaking out and keeping still. The cultivation of silence belongs to the gentle style of life.


In both marriage and the single life

In both marriage and the single life, the celibate moment may be experienced intensely when we discover in each other an ultimate inner solitude that only the transforming presence of God can penetrate. In celibate concern we do what we can to foster in one another's mutual transformation. We stand in awe before the unspeakable mystery of any person's brief life on earth. We choose to love and go on loving until we pass over in silence to the bliss of eternity.

~ from COMMITMENT: KEY TO CHRISTIAN MATURITY by Susan Muto and Adrian Van Kaam

A marriage is also a meeting place with God

The whispers of the Spirit are not only heard in holy places: they address obedient people in bedrooms, kitchens, dens, backyard and basements, provided they have ears to hear, eyes to see, and religious imaginations to interpret what is going on. Over the years, if a marriage is also a meeting place with God, spouses refine their radar, as it were, for what the Spirit may communicate through moments as common as tucking a child in bed or as rare as buying a new car or winning the lottery. The Holy Spirit, whose grace is everywhere, can use any and all events as channels of love in one's heart, of light to one's mind.


Life becomes an unceasing prayer

The faithful heart finds in itself a mysterious longing for an epiphany of the Divine. A seed of unceasing prayer is this longing, we must abide with it, attentive to its invitation. Silent abiding is the beginning of fidelity. The gift of holy longing is veiled for us by anxious concern, vexing problems, tedious tasks and ambitious pursuits. How large they loom in daily life! ... Our life is like a dish that is broken, but needs and problems appear trivial in the light of an epiphany of the Holy. In the radiance of this sacred presence, concerns recede in the shadows of attentiveness. Life becomes an unceasing prayer, a lasting gestures of fidelity.

~ Adrian Van Kaam
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