One of the fundamental and most
particular topics of Spiritual Theology is the Treatise on
Prayer. Prayer is, in essence, a dialogue between God and man,
and arises from “the necessity that God has wanted to feel of
speaking with us and that we feel to talk to God.” It is rooted
in the mystery of the Incarnation, God made man, and in the
precept that Christ gave to all his disciples: Pray so you
may not fall into temptation.
The great Masters of the Spiritual Life – St.
Teresa of Jesus, St. John of the Cross, St. Ignatius of Loyola,
St. Peter of Alcántara, etc, – as well as theologians from the
Fathers of the Church through the Middle Ages – St. John
Damascene, St. Augustine, St. Bernard, St. Bonaventure, St.
Thomas Aquinas, etc. – have always expressed, directly or
indirectly, their great intuitions on the method of
accomplishing this dialogue between God and man.
Works like The Interior Castle (St.
Teresa of Jesus), The Itinerary of the Mind to God (St.
Bonaventure), Treatise on Prayer (St. Peter of Alcantára),
and the well-known Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, to cite
only a few of the most representative writings, have been common
resources for those who have aspired to a life of friendship
This book, Prayer, is not presented as
a Treatise, but as a small vademecum that may be used
to recall well-known ideas. Nevertheless, the novelty
offered by the author lies in the work’s theological foundation,
which has important consequences for pastoral theology, and in
its capacity to convince man of the necessity of prayer. The
general tendency of Spiritual Theology when considering prayer
is to center on the reality of the soul while offering a certain
“suspicion against matter,” of Platonic influence that results
in, among other things, the annihilation of the senses and the
instrumentality of the human nature of Christ (consult the
crucial chapter “On Contemplation and Christ’s Humanity” from
the same author’s Commentary on the Song of Songs, vol.
I, pp 37, ff).
based on the irrevocable idea that the man who talks to God is a
person, with a body and a soul: a human person.
And the theory of Love and of the Person that the author unveils
in his work Commentaries on the Song of Songs – love as
an eminently personal reality: without a plurality of persons
there is no love – distances theology and Christian praxis
from any shadow of Platonism, any suspicion against matter. The
human person loves with his body and soul a God Who because He
is Love is a Trinity of Persons. And in this sense, the initial
chapters, “The Bases of Prayer” and “Divine-Human Dialogue and
Human Communication,” and the final chapter, “On the Paths of
Contemplation,” show what is peculiar to the reflections by A.
Gálvez on Christian prayer. Here the author shows that the roots
of prayer lie in the Trinitarian Mystery, the eternal dialogue
between the Father and the Son in the spiration of the
Holy Spirit, and in the Mystery of Christ Whose human nature,
assumed in the reality of the divine Person, is not in any way
merely an instrument for man to reach God, but an immediate
reality: Philip, whoever sees me, has seen the Father.
Shoreless Lake Press, New Jersey, 2002, 114 pages.