One conviction is central to Christian prayer: that God is active in it. We turn to meditation not so much as an exercise in self-improvement, as an opening ourselves to our heavenly father who is waiting for us. Three hundred years ago de Caussade wrote of the Sacrament of the Present Moment. It is only in the Now that we have access to God. Looking forward or back exercises the mind and imagination, but that distracts us from the true meeting of prayer, with the Lord who is present in my inmost soul. ‘Be still and know that I am God.’ (Psalm 46). There is a stage in prayer where we go beyond words and thoughts: the hard bit is to stop thinking. A mystic is quoted as hearing from God, ‘I will not have thy thoughts instead of thee.’ As we grow older, prayer becomes less wordy, less brainy, more like the peasant whom the Curé of Ars used to see in his church, ‘I look at the good God and the good God looks at me.’
This is the famous ‘communion of the saints’ on which we count so earnestly when we pray. The Church teaches that, in a mystery, the veil hanging between time and eternity is drawn back, as it were, in the liturgy, and that we really are one worshiping body ‘with angels and archangels, and the whole company of heaven’ (Preface for Epiphany) (p. 38).