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Sheila Cassidy

  • The tension between the call to the desert and to the market place arises not from the greater presence of God in one or the other but from our varying psychological needs to apprehend him in different ways.

  • Prayer, even more than eating or sleeping, is not a luxury but a necessity, and we are only fully human when we remember this and arrange our life accordingly.

  • What we feel at prayer is God's business, not ours, and we must strive to be totally abandoned to the presence of 'consolation' or of boredom when we pray. A clear understanding that the value of our prayer does not depend upon how we feel is extremely important if we are to persevere in prayer. So many people feel that if their prayer is distracted it cannot be pleasing to God, and are therefore led to abandon their efforts precisely when fidelity is of the most importance.

  • This conversion into prayer of our everyday joys, sorrows, hopes and desires is at first a conscious labor, but after a while it becomes second nature, so that converse with God becomes inextricably and wonderfully woven into the fabric of our lives.

  • Much of our understanding of God's action in our lives in achieved in hindsight. When a particular crisis or event in our life has passed we cry out in astonishment like Jacob, 'The Lord is in this place and I never knew it.'

  • It is precisely because we cannot see God that we can only know that our prayer is valid by the effect it has upon our lives, by the way we treat our neighbor.

  • We only deliberately waste time with those we love — it is the purest sign that we love someone if we choose to spend time idly in their presence when we could be doing something more 'constructive.'

Sheila Cassidy, English surgeon, writer, spiritual thinker, torture survivor