Some Advice for Those Who Would Meditate


It is time again for me to issue a fairly standard disclaimer. I recognize the presumption inherent in giving advice to anyone about anything dealing with prayer considering the state both of my soul and my prayer life. However, if we waited for those who are perfect to hear advice, we would labor long and hard without hearing a word since the time of Christ. So please forgive me both the arrogance and the presumption and take these as intended--mere bread crumbs to help those who may profit from them--myself among them.

Now to meditation advice. Many are reluctant to start on the path of lectio because they see it as more demanding and difficult than they are up to. Many doubt their own ability to "think" of things to pray about. Many say they lack imaginations and so have difficulty getting into meditation. All of these I understand. And yet these same souls are the ones who pray fifteen or twenty decades of the Rosary each day--whatever in the world are they doing all that time. They are meditating--but they have worn that path so often and so long that it is second nature--the territory is familiar and so the meditation is a natural concommitant of the prayer.

So it will become with lectio, but it may take a while and you may need help at the start. In addition to innumerable books in print about meditation and how to do it (most of which have never been much help to me) there are some helps to get you started. One thing I would recommend is a good bible-study guide, such as those now being produced by Ignatius Press. At the back of each printed gospel are two sets of questions for each chapter of the book. The questions for application make excellent meditation starters. Look at the question and then read the passage associated with it. Read the passage listening for the answer to the question and for the other questions raised by the passage. Do not read looking for some literal answer, but read expectantly, knowing that if we knock it will be answered, and if we seek, we shall find. The presence of application questions indicates that at least one other person found something here worthy of your attention--worthy beyond the mere study of words or understanding of the text--worthy to the point of doing something about what is said. Thus you are offered simply a way into the text--a path for initial meditation.

I hope as we go along to post other helps along these lines, but I welcome the suggestions and the helps of all of those already engaged in these kinds of prayer. They will be of benefit to all.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on June 29, 2003 4:56 PM.

Prayer Request Please pray for was the previous entry in this blog.

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