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SpiritualDirection.com / Catholic Spiritual Direction

Catechism – Meditation – 2705

March 8, 2012 by  
Filed under Catechism, Dan Burke, Meditation, Prayer, Prayer

Meditation — Catechism Paragraph 2705

John of the Cross 4

Meditation is above all a quest. The mind seeks to understand the why and how of the Christian life, in order to adhere and respond to what the Lord is asking. The required attentiveness is difficult to sustain. We are usually helped by books, and Christians do not want for them: the Sacred Scriptures, particularly the Gospels, holy icons, liturgical texts of the day or season, writings of the spiritual fathers, works of spirituality, the great book of creation, and that of history the page on which the “today” of God is written.

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“A catechism should faithfully and systematically present the teaching of Sacred Scripture, the living Tradition of the Church and the authentic Magisterium, as well as the spiritual heritage of the Fathers and the Church's saints, to allow for a better knowledge of the Christian mystery and for enlivening the faith of the People of God. It should take into account the doctrinal statements which down the centuries the Holy Spirit has intimated to his Church. It should also help illumine with the light of faith the new situations and problems which had not yet emerged in the past…the Catechism of the Catholic Church on the one hand repeats the old, traditional order already followed by the Catechism of St Pius V, arranging the material in four parts: the Creed, the Sacred Liturgy, with pride of place given to the sacraments, the Christian way of life, explained beginning with the Ten Commandments, and finally, Christian prayer. At the same time, however, the contents are often expressed in a new way in order to respond to the questions of our age. ”  (Apostolic Constitution Fidei Depositum on the Publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church Prepared following the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, 11 October 1992)

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About Dan Burke

Dan is the President of the Avila Foundation, the parent organization of SpiritualDirection.com, the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, Divine Intimacy Radio and Divine Intimacy Radio - Resources Edition, Into the Deep Parish Programs, the Apostoli Viae (Apostles of the Way) Community, and the FireLight Student Leadership Formation Program, author of the award-winning book, Navigating the Interior Life - Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God, Finding God Through Meditation-St. Peter of Alcantara, 30 Days with Teresa of Avila, Into the Deep, Living the Mystery of Merciful Love: 30 Days with Thérèse of Lisieux, and his newest book The Contemplative Rosary with St. John Paul II and St. Teresa of Avila. Beyond his "contagious" love for Jesus and His Church, he is a grateful husband and father of four, the Executive Director of and writer for EWTN's National Catholic Register, a regular co-host on Register Radio, a writer and speaker who provides online spiritual formation and travels to share his conversion story and the great riches that the Church provides us through authentic Catholic spirituality. Dan has been featured on EWTN's Journey Home program and numerous radio programs.

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  • Nonnie4

    I would love to see a column on Meditation as I would like some additional information on this subject, especially how to clear your mind as you begin your meditation, and not allow thoughts to enter your mind.

    • Alexandra Campbell

      Distracting thoughts will come, the mystical doctors mention them. One is to let them go and return the mind to the subject of meditation, be it the passion of Our Lord in the rosary, etc. In beginning, it helps to clear the mind by mentally and or vocally, with all ones attention, praying a specific prayer of the church, the our Father, for example. Actually, the Rosary is a great school of meditation.

      I used to think it was just something rote, to be gotten through, but as I have slowed down and allowed it to teach me its mysteries, the Lord has often used the Rosary to bring me into contemplation, which is where meditation on a subject stops and one is lifted by God into His presence silently. Hope this helps.

      • Becky Ward

        AMEN!

        The rosary is an excellent way to meditate on the life of Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary. 

        Even for someone with ADD like me, who’s thoughts are never-ending.  Between holding the beads, and reflecting on the scripture verse (I especially like to think about the ‘fruits’) for each mystery…..everything comes together.

      • Alex, also begin to pray another most powerful prayer from Jesus Himself – The Chaplet of the Divine Mercy. It shall draw you deep into Christ’s Passion and immerse your heart. mind and soul into His Love and Mercy as you contemplate the sufferings He underwent to save us miserable and wretched sinners. The meditation on the Stations of Cross as you pray the Chaplet brings the entire Salvation Mystery into your consciousness like no other Prayer can do.

        • Alexandra Campbell

          Thank you, I need to remember to practice the Divine Mercy chaplet more often. It is so beautiful and goes well with a devotion to the Sacred Heart!

          • Alex, especially at 3.00 O’Clock, The Hour of Great Mercy. Christ’s promises on those souls who pray this Chaplet at this Hour are earth-shaking and truly edifying.  Be blessed

  • Rstussy

    Meditation is not a quest, but it a practice which teaches you how to rest in the love of God. By resting you learn to listen, and become attentive. There are four stages of prayer. ” I talk you listen, you listen I talk, I listen, you listen, silence.
    Rosemarie Ludwig

  • Put in another way, Meditation goes like this :  

    “Be Still | Read | Contemplate It | Listen | Dialogue | Close With Praise and Thanks”.  Or one just places oneself before God and leaves all the action to Him

  • Sojrnr

    I wonder if the last clause isn’t the beginning of listening to God. The “today of God.” God is today, isn’t He? It isn’t easy to grasp this, but it is true. God has no yesterday, no tomorrow, and I think what the Church is saying is that God doesn’t even have a today: He Is, He said so.

    We are never going to even begin to understand this in this life. We can’t. We should try, and we may get a glimpse, but we will never understand as long as we are in this world.

    I had a professor who reminded class that we live in the imperfect tense, a constant coming to and passing away. We have no now. So maybe we should put away techniques, set aside our worries about distractions, which will come even more heavily the more we try to get rid of them. Maybe we should just relax and wait for Him to teach us His today.

  • Cara

    I have been experiencing Lent as a cleansing of my own temple. it seems that there are a lot of things in my soul that Jesus would like to get rid of. Although this is a necessary experience for me, it is overwhelming. It has been hard to see Jesus as loving while He still has the whip in his hand. Does this sense of feeling loved by God happen after Lent is over?

    • Becky Ward

      Hi Cara,
      Difficult yes, but if Jesus did not love you He would not bother helping you to cleanse your temple. I am intrigued by your question about being loved, and whether it happens after Lent is over but I’m not sure what you mean here. Can you put the question in different words?

      I’m praying for you!

      • Cara

        I meant that I hope after I am cleansed by this Lenten experience that I can have a more loving relationship with God than simply the offender and the Offended.

    • Cara, try to picture and contemplate just how much Jesus loved us wretched sinners as He hung on the Cross in utter desolation, wracked by unbearable pains, abandoned by everybody, even by those He loved most.  Such was His misery that, in His Humanity, His “Fifth Word” on the Cross was an anguished recitation of Psalm 22 : “My Father, My Father, why have You forsaken Me?”. God loves You most when you are in pain.  And He makes you stronger with the pain. His way is the Way of the Cross. Believe, me at the end of this Lenten Season you will experience such  a surge of renewal and Love from God you shall forget all the sufferings you have undergone during this Purification Season

  • Barbas

    I live in Cape Town, but on your RCSD, it reflects as Pretoria which is thousands of kms away from here! Why does Cape Town no longer come up on your map?

    • Dear Barbas – We are grateful to have you with us! This is probably because of the way your internet provider routes your connection…

  • David John

    As written by Guigo II in the Ladder Of The Monks and The Twelve Meditations; Reading, Meditation, Prayer, and Contemplation/1173-1193 AD

  • Leboeufeugene

    As to meditation, there is so much I have been learning from the posts. CATHOLIC SPIRITUAL DIRECTION is really great in their EVANGELIZATION EFFORTS. BTW, pray for me!

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