Question 013.  

Does this mean that beyond going into a private room, we are that private room?  In other words, we are temples where God is to be found?

‘The heights’ it is said, ‘are in his heart, in the valley of weeping’.  The valley is humility…Even though you seek a high place, a holy place, make yourself an earthly temple of God. ‘For the temple of God is holy, and you are that temple.’ Do you want to pray in a temple?  Pray within yourself.  Be first a temple of God, because he hears him who prays in his temple.

from St. Augustine Answers 101 Questions on Prayer by Fr. Ermatinger.


If we wish God to hear our prayers, then we should seek to be close to Him.  As God is in the heavens, His temple is in the heights.  It is a natural thing to seek God upon the mountains and other high lonely places of this world.  Yet, God is closer to us than ourselves; the loftiest is in the lowliness of the human heart.  We must turn our focus inward to that inner temple and pray to Him there where He is closest.  If we do not, even if we should be in one of His Temples in the world beyond the self, we would not be with Him and He should not hear us.  If we wish to pray to Him, we must pray first within ourselves; from within ourselves must arise the wellspring that drives any outer actions of prayer and praise.  The path to that inner temple is one of humility; recognizing that one does not seek oneself or one’s own will but rather God’s and God’s alone.  It is to see that the inner self belongs not to the individual, but to God.  It is to prepare that inner room for Him to dwell in, eschewing all that would supplant Him.  If we wish God to hear us, then we must make ourselves His; to be possessed by Him whom, as our Creator, already has claim.


Saint Francis in Prayer, Caravaggio, c.1610