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Saturday, 24 November 2012

The Next Step in Bernard's Cloister Stair-Meditation

For the lay person, as well as for the monk, nun, or priest, daily reading of the Scriptures is an essential part of the life of the soul.

Meditation is exactly that-reading the Scriptures and allowing the imagination to enter into the mysteries of the Life of Christ. St. Ignatius, in his exercises, which were given to him by the Holy Spirit, and form the basis of seminary training for the Jesuits, gives the laity means to meditate.

If one is not meditating on Christ and His Life, one is in trouble. That is the first warning. One cannot meditate on one's self or on nothing.

To take a passage and enter into the scene is easier for us in this century as we had seen many Biblical movies, including The Passion of the Christ. However, such interpretations of the mysteries in the Life of Christ can also be misleading or a distraction.

St. Ignatius encourages us to imagine ourselves in the story, such as the Woman at the Well. We should feel the heat, the dust, see the village well, the woman and her jug, and the tired Christ. This is the beginning of meditation.

Many, many Catholics do this with the rosary, meditating on the mysteries as they say the prayers. I know good Catholics who get stuck on one mystery for months. This is meditation. Meditation involves remembering, recollecting, giving time to God, in the Holy Spirit, to work through meditation. We can, with grace, make a habit of meditation.

This second step must be in the context of the Church's Teaching Magisterium and not based on private revelations. That is a second warning. The riches, the treasures of the Church revealed through the Bible and in Tradition are enough to keep us meditating for a very long time-all of our lives.

Some of the things I have offered on this blog, such as the reference to Our Lady a few days ago come from meditation. Many saints have shared their meditations with us in their writings. Some of these personal revelations are not part of the Deposit of Faith, but may be aids. However, it is better to enter into meditation directly from Scripture.

Those of you who say either the American or British version of the Breviary have readings built into your day. I use various verses, sometimes from the Mass readings of the day, as my Monastic Diurnal does not include readings.

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