It is a well known fact, but worth repeating, that the recently canonised St John Henry Newman took for his motto a saying of St Francis de Sales, ‘Cor ad cor loquitur’ – ‘Heart speaks unto heart’ – and this was also the motto for the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to this country in 2010, when he beatified St John Henry here in Birmingham.

St Francis de Sales wrote, in his ‘Treatise on the Love of God’: ‘Truly the chief exercise in mystical theology is to speak to God and to hear God speak in the bottom of the heart; and because this discourse passes in most secret aspirations and inspirations, we term it a silent conversing. Eyes speak to eyes, and heart to heart, and none understand what passes save the sacred lovers who speak’.

Such is the essence of the life of prayer. May we know it in the depths of our own hearts, and may God bless you in your own pilgrimage of prayer.