The Four Movements of Prayer in SJE
St. John Eudes did not really hand us a systematic way of praying. Fr. Renald Hebert, CJM, a former provincial superior of the North American Province and Superior General, started to identify the four movements in the prayers and thoughts of St. John Eudes while directing retreats at Champboise, a spiritual center in Quebec, Canada. Over a number of years, people would come to make a month of retreat on the four movements vis-a-vis stages of spiritual development. This was adapted by another Eudist spiritual center, La Roche du Theil, located in France and ran by several congregations from the Eudist Family. The following is an introduction to the four movements of prayer in St. John Eudes, based on the book, Spiritual Itinerary for Today with St. John Eudes, published by the La Roche Du Theil group after their own experience of the prayer:
- Being Open means adapting a stance of openness. It consists of opening yourself and being receptive to what is different, the other and the Great Other, as well as receiving yourself from this Great Other. This can also be an occasion to rediscover a taste for living without protecting yourself, without defending oneself from something or someone.
- Adoring – Giving Thanks entails another rediscovery: that of the capacity for contemplation, for wonderment, which leads to adoration. From there, a need to give thanks gushes forth, not so much for what the Lord does as for who he is. This is the first gift granted to the person who is welcoming.
- Living Forgiveness deepens the acceptance experience. After adoring and giving thanks comes the awareness of the immense distance that exists between your life as it is in reality and the marvels of God’s love. You will feel the need to enter gradually into the forgiveness experience. You have to forgive yourself for not being what you would like to be. You have to forgive others for being different from you. You have to forgive God for being always unfathomable (his ways are not your ways)! The limitations you perceive within yourself and in others will compel you to seek him who gave us everything through his Son.
- Giving Oneself to Jesus is the trusting, realistic and humble gift of self, aware of who you are, good and bad, but equally aware of the great Love of God for you. You have welcomed Jesus, his grace, his love in order to give yourself to him. The more you welcome his love, the more you will give yourself, live of his love and mirror his love . The gift of yourself finally becomes witnessing: giving yourself in order to bear witness.
The entire approach in this prayer is missionary: dictated by mission and directed towards mission!
- From the Spiritual Itinerary for Today with Saint John Eudes by Fr. Michel Fournier, CJM, Sr. Lise Plante of the Sisters of the Holy Hearts of Jesus and Mary, St. Anne-marie Hubert of the Sister of Providence of Evreux, Sr. Cecile Lionnet of the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of the Refuge, and Sr. Magdalena Franciscus, Religious of the Good Shepherd.