The Lord created us in body, mind, and spirit. We come to know God more fully when we seek and love him through all three of these aspects of our being, as Scripture tells us to do (Luke 10:27). Meditation can help us do that.
Meditation is an ancient form of prayer dating to the early Church. It is what prompted the writings of the Fathers and theologians. Meditation is a method by which we seek to understand and search for a deeper meaning of a thought, Scripture passage, or spiritual writing. Through this practice we personalize and ponder upon these things on several levels.
Scripture encourages meditation: “But their delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law they meditate day and night” (Psalm 1:2). The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that “Meditation engages thought, imagination, emotion, and desire. This mobilization of faculties is necessary in order to deepen our convictions of faith, prompt the conversion of our heart, and strengthen our will to follow Christ” ( 2705-2708).
Christian meditation is a form of prayer whereby we deliberately reflect on the revelations of God. We break down something into its many layers seeking truth, justice, love, and mercy. When reflecting on Scripture, it is a way in which the meaning of the Word deepens and enhances our personal relationship with the Lord.
You may begin by selecting a short spiritual passage. Read the words carefully and slowly. Think about what the reading means. What is the literal significance? What does it mean to you personally? Imagine witnessing the event first-hand. How would it feel to participate in the scene? How does it affect you emotionally?
Spiritual devotions such as the rosary and Lectio Divina are considered meditations. Saint Theodora would have meditated on the mysteries of Christ while praying the rosary that hung at her waist and is now displayed at Saint-Mary-of-the-Woods. The rhythmic repetition of the prayers promotes a heightened meditation. The calming effect allows us to ponder Christ’s works more clearly. When praying the rosary, we pause at the mysteries such as the Annunciation, Transfiguration, and Crowning with Thorns. We visualize and reflect on how the scene makes us feel, what it signifies to us personally.
Lectio Divina is a Latin term meaning divine reading. Rather than dissecting a Scripture passage from a theological or analytical point of view, in Lectio Divina we read the Word slowly, contemplate, and pray upon it. And as with all meditations, the fullness comes when we end in stillness. When we quiet the mind and soul it is easier to hear what God is saying.
©2014, Mary K. Doyle