Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of March 27, 2000
Meditating all the way home
By JOHN CONNELLY
Special to the WCR
We've all heard the phrase, "Home is where the heart is." This is actually a very insightful saying. It is similar to the words of Jesus, "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also" (Matthew 6:21).
Our heart will always move towards whatever we value. If we value our family, we will want to spend time with them. If we value becoming rich, we will run after money. This is a fundamental truth. Whatever our heart is most attached to becomes, in a certain sense, "our home."
Jesus taught us the path to true freedom. He said, "If you make your home in my word you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" (John 8:31).
Jesus is challenging us as his disciples, to become familiar with his teaching. We are to immerse ourselves in his word and put it into practice. Then we will know and experience the freedom he offers - the freedom of a heart at home in God.
How do we truly make our home in the teaching of Jesus? One of the primary ways to grow is in meditation.
What is meditation?
Some may think that meditation is some mysterious technique practised mostly in India or the Himalayan mountains. Our Christian tradition of meditation is rooted in Scripture. Psalm 1 says that the person who meditates day and night is: "like a tree planted by streams of water, that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers."
The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that: "Meditation is above all a quest. The mind seeks to understand the how and why of Christian life in order to adhere to what the Lord is asking" (no. 2705).
Meditation is putting on the mind of Christ. It is learning to see our lives and experiences from God's perspective. It is concentrating on the words of God and prayerfully allowing them to revolutionize our thinking. We plant the seed of God's truth in our mind and heart . . . water it with meditation and prayer . . . and expect a growing harvest of freedom.
We all meditate
In a sense, we are all meditating whenever we are concentrating and reflecting deeply on something. Children meditate when they envision themselves as their latest hero. We meditate when we design and plan a new home. We meditate when we dream of becoming a doctor, a saint, or a world famous basketball star.
At its essence, meditation is concentrated thinking. God gave this ability to us. It helps us to plan, to set goals, and to make short-term and long-term decisions. Christian meditation calls us to use this gift for God's glory . . . turning our minds and hearts to the awesome revelation of God's plan.
St. Ignatius of Loyola began his conversion as a young soldier. He dreamed of glory and fame. One day he was seriously wounded and hospitalized. While recuperating he read whatever books he could find.
He noticed when he read secular novels they left him feeling a little depressed when he finished. When he read the lives of the saints he was spiritually uplifted and inspired. The feeling lasted.
That got him thinking . . . (meditating!) Why don't I become a saint? The rest is history. He become a recognized master of meditation and prayer and founded the Jesuit religious order. Miracles can happen when we meditate.
Let's meditate now
Relax. Imagine Jesus . . . his presence . . . his love . . . his peace . . . filling your heart and mind. Imagine going through the rest of your day with Jesus - the love and peace of Jesus filling your heart, mind, words and actions. What would your day be like? (Congratulations! You are meditating!)
A simple daily practice the Church recommends for growth in meditation and prayer is lectio divina.
Step 1. (lectio) Read a passage of Scripture slowly. Go over it a couple of times.
Step 2. (meditatio) Meditate and reflect deeply on the message. How does this apply to my life? Let Christ's thoughts fill your mind and heart.
Step 3. (oratio) Pray to the Lord. Speak to him. . . . Jesus what are you asking of me? Dialogue with him.
Step 4. (contemplatio) Contemplate the Lord. Rest your heart in his presence. Surrender. Let go. Be still in faith, hope and love. Believe. Trust.
Jesus fill our hearts. Jesus fill our minds. Jesus fill our words. Jesus fill our actions. Lead us into the fullness of a new springtime as we meditate, pray and make our home in your truth. Amen.