Augustine commented in his book the Confessions on the significance of Christ’s resurrection and ascension: Christ “has gone from our sight so that we should ‘return to our heart’ (Is 46:8) and find him there.” The heart, a term that refers not to our thoughts and feelings but to our innermost depths that ground thought and feeling, our knowing centre, is the place of divine encounter.
Just because the Risen Christ is not accessible to the senses in the way the historical Jesus was, this does not imply absence but Christ draws us in His Presence that is deeper than our discursive and imagining powers can perceive, but in which the heart delights. For here, Augustine insists, “God speaks in the great silence of the heart.” When prayer is built on firm foundation of love of God and God’s creation, then we do not try to grasp God as an object; rather we are led to a deep peace that receives rather than grasps. We begin to grow in intimacy with God.
In intimacy with God we are drawn more deeply into relationship which our senses cannot fully grasp. Therefore, prophet Habakkuk after his painful questioning could write, “The Lord is in his holy temple, let all the earth be silent before him” (2:20). The peace that passes all understanding became Habakkuk’s portion.
Our absolute dependence upon God is what makes our life prayer. While the noise and chatter of temptations seduces to rob us of the peace of God; we can overcome the devises of Satan. We can overcome the way Jesus did. Remember the words of Peter which enticed Jesus to move away from the chosen path of sacrificial love. “Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” (Matt 16:23). When was the last you rebuked Satan and his chatter? Is our life prayer?