Q: How does loving my neighbor -- husband, wife, children, friends, co-workers -- contribute to my contemplative prayer?
A: I may begin with the theological core of the matter: there is only one virtue of charity by which we love God, ourselves, and our neighbor. If I am not loving others -- although not necessarily liking them -- I cannot have a deep prayer life, for its heart, love, is missing. My prayer will be no better than my love for others. No set of techniques... will be able of themselves to improve it.
The whole of life is lived in the divine presence, which is an atmosphere of love. We are urged by St. Paul "to live through love in his presence (Eph 1:4). St. Augustine also shrewdly noted that "in loving our neighbor the eye of our mind is purified to contemplate God." Loving our associates requires that we practice other virtues: humility, gentleness, patience, obedience. Thus we are purified of our faults, each of which may be an impediment to growth in divine intimacy.
---Thomas Dubay, S.M. Seeking Spiritual Direction, Servant, 1993.