Fr Roman Braga on prayer and inner stillness

Q: What should we do in order to feel God closer to us, to love God more?

Fr Roman Braga: We must speak to Him. We must feel God inside ourselves, and not as an exterior presence, we must feel God present in our heart, as our heart is infinite since there lives Christ since our baptism. A person has an infinite depth of his personality. In her/his depth, there is no limit, a person is eternal. We should not direct our prayer into a corner because God is neither material, nor spatial, so you could look at a corner if we want to find God. Just descend into your own self and address the prayer of your heart to God and you will feel His Presence.

[…] Think of Saint Paul’s words: “Pray ceaselessly!” How could he have prayed constantly when he was a very busy man? He could not have sat on his knees all the time. It is this that he had in mind: to always carry in your heart the feeling of God’s Presence.

In fact, this is how the Holy Fathers define prayer: prayer is feeling of God’s Presence. Prayer never stops.

Talk to God as a child, because we are God’s children.

This continuous conversation with God brings the intimate sentiment of God’s presence into your own heart.

If you havef God’s presence within your own self, then you are in a state of prayer. Man thus becomes prayer. Man could be in a state of prayer, not have moments of prayer, when he prays, and moments when he does not pray. We should always have the sentiment of God’s presence. When you say “God!”, you should know that God turns to you and waits for you to say something. When you are busy, fully focus on the activity that you are pursuing at that time. When you are engaged in a conversation, think about what you are saying. However, if you have 2-3-4 minutes or even during a conversation with other people, you could say: “Jesus Christ our God, please look at us and help us!” or “Please, God, bless these people!”

[…]

In prison there were kinds of people. Those who were good outside the prison, kept being good also in prison. The prison brought some people closer to God, it made them become better persons with good heart. I saw there intellectuals who fell and compromised themselves. I also saw simple peasants who did not even know how to sign their name, but who had character strength and an extraordinarily beautiful demeanor. It was there that I understood what the real meaning of “culture” [“being civilized”] is, I understood that it does not come out formal education.

[…]

The youth must have the strength to say “no.” It is much harder to say “no” to your own desires, aspirations, or passions.

[…]

The true free man is the one freed by Jesus Christ. The external freedom does not really matter as long as you do not have your inner freedom. During the time of incarceration, by praying and speaking to God, you did not feel the walls of the prison. The true freedom is the spiritual freedom. Without the spiritual freedom, and I want to stress this, one can never taste the external freedom. If you are the slave of your passions, of your sexuality, of your greed, or your love for money, you can have as much external freedom as you may want, because you will still remain a slave.

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