THE IMPORTANCE OF MEDITATION
In his splendid book of detailed meditations on the entirety of all four Gospels, The Better Part, Fr. John Bartunek points-up the importance of meditation in our daily lives. He defines meditation as “lifting the heart and mind to God through focused reflection on some truth of God’s revelation. It involves the intellect, the imagination, the memory, the emotions — the whole person” (p. 21). When we use ready-made meditation books, though, we “easily slip into the spiritual reading mode: instead of using the points of reflection as springboards for focused personal reflection, attentive listening to the Holy Spirit, and intimate heart-to-heart conversation with Christ, [we] simply read, understand, agree, and move on … yet, unless you learn to go deeper, to personalize your prayer more, you will limit your growth in virtue” (p.24).
A SIMPLE METHOD OF MEDITATION
He describes a very simple and effective four-part method of meditation, summarized as:
- concentrate (Recall that God is present, seeing you and listening to you, and that He has something to say to you that you need and want to hear. Ask for whatever grace you need most.)
- consider (Read the text slowly and calmly until something strikes you; if you wish, perhaps read it again or read a commentary. If it’s a Scripture, perhaps place yourself in the story to listen to God’s word to you. If it’s a commentary, perhaps ask what the words say about the Church, or you and your resolutions, or your responsibilities as a Catholic/spouse/parent/worker.)
- converse (Savor what God is telling you and talk to Him in your own words, perhaps of adoration, contrition, thanksgiving, or supplication [ACTS]. If you wish, when you response quiets, go back to the text for more.)
- commit (Make a specific resolution. Thank Christ for your meditation. Jot any insights down in your journal [perhaps noting the text you read]. Make a concluding prayer, perhaps an Our Father/Hail Mary/Glory Be.)