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February 18, 2008     555 Words

Meditation: A Valuable Tool for Everybody

CINCINNATI—If you were to ask ordinary Catholics if they meditate, many would probably say no. But whether they realize it or not, they have probably meditated every day of their lives. Strange as it may sound, all human beings meditate and contemplate, regardless of what their beliefs are or the kind of lives they live.

The spiritual benefits of meditation are explored in the March issue of St. Anthony Messenger in an article entitled, “Meditation Made Easy,” by James Van Vurst, O.F.M. After February 20, the article will be posted at: AmericanCatholic.org.

As human beings, we are able to reflect, consider and think about ourselves and the world around us. This kind of reflection is actually what we do in meditation. Meditation is part of who we are as people.

Consider an example: A young couple contemplates marriage. Each is reflecting on what the future holds for them. They begin to reflect and meditate on their lives together, imagining how their personalities and values will mesh. This type of mental exercise is not uncommon. The truth is that we reflect about people, issues and situations that are important to us. But meditation can also have a spiritual angle.

“Meditation is religious in nature,” Father Van Vurst writes. “A good example is God, Jesus Christ, our relationship to God and others. There’s no question that the greatest and most available source of material for meditation is the Scriptures, the revealed Word of God. We are particularly blessed to have the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.”

But meditation does not require us to study heavy theological volumes or complicated mystical formulas that only a religious genius could tackle. Instead, consider the person of Jesus: his words, the stories he told and the many events in his life.

Finding time to meditate is easier than one might believe. A fruitful meditation may not require more than a few minutes. Five or 10 minutes could be enough, especially when one is just beginning the practice. The time it takes to say a rosary would also be more than sufficient for meditation. As one’s practice of meditation develops, more time might be required.

“A quiet place is needed,” the author writes. “But you needn’t be in a church or a chapel. A couch in the living room is perfectly appropriate for meditation.”

Father Van Vurst suggests three steps:

  • 1) Read: Material or ideas for meditation can be a biblical event, story or parable.
  • 2) Reflect: Picture in your mind an image or a scene. For example, Mary is riding on the donkey, and Joseph is walking by her side. In your mind, you join them on the walk. In your imagination, you enter the scene.
  • 3) Pray: You might be drawn to reflect on your own journey and how you may need to be more courageous in facing unpleasant circumstances in your life.

“Keep your Bible handy in a quiet place to remind yourself how easy it is to meditate,” the author writes. “The Gospels provide us with treasures which we can bring to life within our own hearts.”

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Permission is granted to reprint this release.

The second article posted will be “The Journey to Easter,” by Karen Mentlewski

 


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