Tuesday, January 2, 2007

The Necessity of Meditation

1. "With desolation is all the land made desolate, because there is none that considereth in the heart." (Jer. 12:11)

Very often the world is plunged in the desolation of evil because there is nobody who will speak with God in the silence of his heart and try to regulate his life according to His holy commandments. It is in a particularly outstanding way today that the heresies of actionism and externalism dominate the great mass of mankind. To act, to rush, to arrive...above all, to arrive! But to arrive where? In this frantic, frenzied and tumultuous race, in which good people are often found competing, two very sure things are forgotten, namely, that we shall finally arrive at death, and that from death we shall pass on to eternity. The whole course of our lives, therefore, should be directed towards this end. But if we are to keep this end in view, prudent reflection is essential, especially meditation, made with the assistance of the Divine light, on the eternal truths.

Absorbed in the deafening din of the world around us, it is difficult to hear the voice of God. At least for a little while each day, we must create within ourselves a zone of silence in order to listen to His voice. Since God speaks readily in the silence of the heart, let us recollect ourselves before Him in this quiet oasis. At least a quarter of an hour of daily meditation is essential for the life of Christian. This should be the jumping-off board for all the actions of the day, if we wish these to be correct and productive of good.

2. The masters of the spiritual life assure us that without the practice of meditation it is almost impossible for the just man to persevere in virtue, or for the tepid to become fervent, or for the sinner to be converted. God, it is true, can work miracles. At times the grace of God can strike the sinner with the suddenness of a thunderbolt and convert him. But it is the ordinary rule of the spiritual life that meditation on the truths of eternity, especially on the last things, stirs up the soul and moves it, under the influence of Divine grace, to form good resolutions. Even though the first fervour diminishes, the daily repitition of this pious practice revives and strengthens such good resolutions, and causes them to be realised in activities which are in accordance with Christian teaching.

Sin and tepidity cannot co-exist with the practice of daily mental prayer, if this is carried out as it should be. If we keep our hearts united to God and listen willingly and attentively to His voice, we shall be able to effect in ourselves that total renovation of which St. Paul speaks: "But be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new man, which has been created according to God, in justice and holiness of truth." (Eph. 4:23)

3. There are various ways of meditating. Each one should choose whichever suits his own character and dispositions. It will always be necessary for him at the outset, however, to place himself in the presence of God, asking for light and strength from Him; then to reflect on certain truths in an effort to apply them to his own particular circumstances and needs; and finally to make the necessary resolutions and beseech God to bless them and make them fruitful.

It is very useful, moreover, to recall to mind frequently during the day the resolutions which have been formed, and to accompany these reflections with short prayers, ejaculations, and acts of love for God.