I found this VERY interesting, as I noted in a comment there a line from a foundational Christian mysticism text written in the 14th century -- The Cloud of Unknowing -- that has always resonated with me:The secret is that you cannot draw closer to God than your own love of God permits. And if you really try to love God with all your heart and soul, you will have these experiences because you are being filled with the Holy Spirit every time you reach out to God in Love. Yes, its that simple. Forget everything else you were ever taught. Just reach out to God in total love.
We know that there are those who have Divine Love in their souls who did not explicitly pray for it (e.g., Mother Teresa). And we heard from Augustine just on Friday that:This is what you are to do. Lift your heart up to the Lord with a gentle stirring of love, desiring him for his own sake and not for his gifts.
While explicitly knowing about and praying for Divine Love is clearly a good thing, if it's really a soul-to-soul prayer, then the actual praying the Perfect Prayer or its equivalent is not specifically required if one's soul is asking directly without the mind's specific awareness.You may believe that it is in reading a book or having certain beliefs and ideas and words within your mind that this gift [of Divine Love] is bestowed. But in truth, this gift is bestowed because you have yearned it to be within you. This is the flowering of that seed within your soul that God implanted at your creation and God has nurtured thus far and is pleased that deep within you has been a response.
So it makes me wonder if the extent to which you love God is a proxy for the amount of soul development. No love of God? Little soul development. Filled with the Holy Spirit every time you reach out to God in Love? Lots of soul development.
But even if it's not, I'm wondering if praying to love God more would be helpful advice for those, like me, struggling with what "yearn with your soul" means in practice. I know what love of God feels like ... or should feel like. I think. I hope!