Meditation and Its End

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from Prayer Life in Carmel
Fr. Redemptus Valabek, O. Carm

Rumination on the words of God in the medieval sense, translating them into concrete action, is the final goal of meditation. The author warns that meditation of the Word without its observance will not save a man. "It is not enough to read the Scriptures and commandments of the Lord; the fruit of (resultant) action must be manifested." A mechanical type of meditation that may even commend to memory the whole of the Bible, does not justify a man. Authentic prayer must be animated by operative charity; mediation with no concrete results to show for it is worth nothing.

What might be the fruits of meditation--the concrete results that are so essential to its foundation? I do not think we need to consider this in terms necessarily of "action" as we might consider it, but in terms of "actions" as St. Thérèse might do so. A smile at someone you don't particularly care for, a helping hand where it might be easier not to lend assistance, a kind word, or a private word of warning where something is not going as it should. All of these things can be the fruit that should come from meditation. If meditation is more than memorization and an exercise of the imaginative faculties, it will always result in the desire, perhaps even the need, to do good for others.

You cannot dig very deeply into the word of God before it starts digging into you. It removes years of built up protections and exposes the heart for renewal. And a heart renewed is a heart rejoicing in the freedom to love in substantial ways. All prayer is about loving the Lord and entering into conversation with Him. One sign of the substantial effects of prayer is that one begins to engage in conversation with Christ in other people--people who show no signs whatsoever of knowing Christ reveal Him to those who are immersed in His word.

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For me, the fruit of meditation/contemplation is an inner transformation that also gently affects all of our outward actions. Gently, but firmly.



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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on June 16, 2004 7:50 AM.

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