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From Adventures in Prayer by Noel O’Donoghue:
In her concluding chapter on the Second Watering, in which the spark from above begins to irrigate the garden and we are at the gateway of mystical prayer, St Teresa throws out a remark which it is well to reflect on:
“In this life of ours the soul does not grow in the way the body does, though we speak as if it did, and growth does in fact occur (Life 15.12).”
Teresa is here directly concerned with her favourite theme of the need for humility at all times, but it is possible to generalise this principle in a helpful way as has been done by the late Winifred Rushforth in her talks on psyche and physique in which she claimed that there is a law by which the soul gets stronger or is somehow meant to get stronger as the physical body weakens and disintegrates with old age… It is in their later years that many people come to the way of mystical prayer very quietly without anyone noticing. But those who really have understanding that this is so do notice it, and far from despising the old woman or old man clutching rosary beads or crucifix or book of prayers, will be alerted to the possibility that they are in the presence of that most precious force that elevates the whole world: genuine mystical prayer. If ever this were realized there would be an end to ageism which is a most destructive inflection in Western society.
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