When we see a crane or heron standing motionless on the shore of a lake or pond, we might think it is meditating on the beauty of the water. But this is not so! The bird stands there for hours without moving, but as soon as it sees a frog or small fish, it darts forward and greedily snatches it. Many people have the same approach to prayer and meditation. Seated on the shore of the boundless ocean of God's love, they actually give no thought to his majesty or to the divine grace that cleanses us from sin and satisfies the hungry soul. Instead, they are consumed by the thought of receiving something for themselves, some morsel to gratify their self-indulgence. Having visited the very source of true peace and bliss, they fail to appreciate it and instead give themselves to fleeting pleasures. The essence of prayer does not consist in asking for things, but in opening one's heart to God.