Though it may seem obvious, we should remember that holiness consists in a habitual openness to the transcendent, expressed in prayer and adoration. The saints are distinguished by a spirit of prayer and a need for communion with God. They find an exclusive concern with this world to be narrow and stifling, and, amid their own concerns and commitments, they long for God, losing themselves in praise and contemplation of the Lord. I do not believe in holiness without prayer, even though that prayer need not be lengthy or involve intense emotions.
Saint John of the Cross tells us: “Endeavour to remain always in the presence of God, either real, imaginative, or unitive, insofar as is permitted by your works”. In the end, our desire for God will surely find expression in our daily lives: “Try to be continuous in prayer, and in the midst of bodily exercises do not leave it. Whether you eat, drink, talk with others, or do anything, always go to God and attach your heart to him”.
For this to happen, however, some moments spent alone with God are also necessary. For Saint Teresa of Avila, prayer “is nothing but friendly intercourse, and frequent solitary converse, with him who we know loves us”. I would insist that this is true not only for a privileged few, but for all of us, for “we all have need of this silence, filled with the presence of him who is adored”.
Gaudete et Exsultate, 147-149