Sunday, November 20, 2011

How to Meditate

What if you want to meditate, but you don't know how? Here's one method. (A good time goal, by the way, is fifteen minutes.)

  1. Put yourself in the presence of God. Of course, He is always with us, but we need to become aware of His presence. 

    A.The ideal place is to be in His physical presence, in a church or chapel with the Blessed Sacrament. This is not practical for most of us much of the time, however; so if possible, find a quiet corner or try to create a sacred space at home. This helps cut down on distractions.

    B. Acknowledge His presence by confirming your faith, hope, and love for Him; by worshipping Him and by thanking Him for all He has done for you. It's tempting to gloss over this step and do it quickly, but if done well, it can lead to real closeness to Him. It's a potent reminder of God's greatness and our littleness, our need of Him and all we owe Him. 
  2. Invoke the Holy Spirit either through the traditional Come Holy Spirit prayer or in your own words. Open your heart and mind to Him. You don't want to sit and have a conversation with yourself, or mistake the voice of the world, the flesh, or the devil for His.

  3. Read a text you've chosen in advance, preferably a passage from Scripture or the writing of a saint or trustworthy spiritual writer on a fruitful topic, such as a virtue you need to grow in or something on the current liturgical season. Occasionally, the best “text” will be an occurrence in your own life, which you feel the Lord is calling you to reflect on.

  4. Reflect on the text and what it means to you. Talk to God about it. Ask Him what He is trying to tell you through this. Ask Him to help you to be silent and open to Him and truly listen. (This is hard, but don't give up. Keep trying.)

  5. Optional: If practical/possible, write down any insights you gained during this prayer time.

  6. Make a resolution. Our prayer life, to be effective, must spill over and change the rest of our life. Try to think of something concrete that you can do that day to put into practice what the Lord is saying to you. (Examples: pay a visit to the Blessed Sacrament; compliment a coworker you find difficult; refrain from complaining and offer it up instead; find something to praise your child for rather than noticing only the things that need correcting.)

  7. Thank the Lord for this time together (we so often think we're doing Him a favor by praying) and ask Him to help you serve Him and love Him better each day.

    P.S. If any ads show up in a sidebar on "how to meditate" they don't have any endorsement from me. Some might be okay; I don't know.