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Perspective on Meditation – Finding God Through Meditation Book Club

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Finding God Through Meditation (Week 2 of 7)

Perhaps, when you read about this book, you found yourself, as I did, slightly trepidatious. Maybe you wondered just how you would do reading it and whether, in fact, you would find yourself able to put any of the advice to use in your real life.

I find, sometimes, that reading difficult texts is better done in a group where there's a Designated Smart Person. And I find it even better when *I* am not that person.

So I come to you, as we crack open the very text that St. Teresa of Avila used, as the Poor Hack Caught Writing. I feel like I'm in the garage of the mansions (on a good day) and that meditation is something that's probably going to fit better in another season of my life. I suspect that almost ANYONE is better suited to share about this than I am.

Then again, I didn't have to read far to find this in Chapter 1, “Perspective on Meditation”:

It is most certain that the malice of our own heart is the principal cause that hinders us from attaining to our beatitude and everlasting happiness, because it makes us slow to godly actions, dull to virtuous exercises, and suggests a greater difficulty in them than there is, which if it were not, a man might walk without any trouble in the way of virtue, and at length without labor attain to his desired end.

Chapter 1, paragraph 1

In case you were thinking that this book was not right for you, as I clearly was, then…maybe you should think again. 🙂

What keeps me from holiness? What veers me off the path of holiness? What steers me into the ditch, into the brambles, into the pothole?

Me. Myself. I.

I'm hindered by…myself.

There's hope for me, as I sit here at the end of a long day, the house strewn with evidence of small humans and a full life and my list still undone and my brain frazzled. There's hope, because God wants me to attain eternal happiness. God's on MY side. But am *I* on my side?

“Prayer is a bath, an open place, a bed of pleasure wherein the soul rests and finds refreshment in God,” we read a bit later in the chapter. St. Peter calls to mind my children, happily dousing the floor with their splashes from the tub, giggling and delighted.

Is that what prayer is for you? Do you lean into it, soaking in the time you have, however much or little it may be, and letting it give your soul refreshment?

My weary back, my tired eyes, my drooping head…they long for the refreshment of a full night of sleep, with no interruptions or cries.

I'm reminded here, though, that what's more important is my soul and how I'm caring for it. Am I “bathing” it in the “bed of pleasure” that prayer provides?

I'm not the Designated Smart Person by a long shot, but I'm sure glad I got “stuck” writing about this book with you. Here's hoping it leads us both farther along on the path of holiness!

Reading Assignment:

Chapters 2-3

Discussion Questions:

1. What's your greatest challenge when it comes to prayer? What's one small way you can “bathe” in it this week?

2. How are you hindered by yourself as you travel the path of holiness? What prayer might you offer this week to allow God to help you?

Feel free to comment on anything from our assignment this past week!

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About Sarah Reinhard

Sarah Reinhard continues to delight ”and be challenged by” her vocations of Catholic wife and mother. She's online at and is the author of a number of books for families.

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  • Terry

    Sarah, I love the way you write! You are so real! Thank you for your honesty about your trepidation toward reading this book. I have had the book for a while. I haven’t read it because I, too, feel that I am in the “garage” of the castle even after many years of prayer and sacraments. Your post has encouraged me to read it now while I can be in the “book club”. I don’t know how you do it with little ones at home, but I really appreciate it. Thank you.

    • Terry, your comment is quite a consolation. I’m always fearful, especially writing here, that people will, I don’t know, roll their eyes (as well they probably should) and want to throw tomatoes at me (again, probably deserved). I’ll pray for you…we’ll get through this together!

      I’m particularly looking forward to hearing Dan and Melissa discuss it on Divine Intimacy Radio. I think THAT will really help me…I wish they had done it before we had this book club… 🙂

  • Gloria Lopez

    It seems to me that the more I long for prayer in my life, the more difficult it becomes to put it into action. So I find myself sitting at my desk at work and silently offering up my work as a prayer. I try to say an Our Father or a Hail Mary in somewhere between answering phones and paying bills…But when I think of God I get excited and long for His presence and his smile upon me. 🙂

    • Gloria, I think there’s a name for that (but I’m not the Smart Person, you remember)…and I think too, in my own busyness as a mom with small children and professional, that I’m in a similar state/approach in prayer. I’ll pray for you…please pray for me! 🙂

  • Marg

    thank you Sarah for sharing with us your humble and honest spirit! being a young mom and having a profession can really challenge you when it comes to your prayer life, I understand being a mom of four but I had to tell my self a many times that just showing up and being still in Gods presence was ok with God! my prayers go out for you today! God bless you and thanks for being real with us here at CSD!

  • Elizabeth

    Well, Sarah, I plodded through the Introduction and first Chapter with the hope that there was light ahead. Your thoughts highlighted two jewels in the readings which gave me much pause for reflection. The second one reminded me of the joyful nightly bath time with two very young granddaughters(now 20 and 22) when they were under our care for two years. This has given me a wonderful new perspective on prayer. Thank you for that!

  • Annie

    Sarah, The greatest challenge for me as I attempt to go deeper into meditative prayer is avoiding distractions, both external and internal. I long to enter that “bed of pleasure wherein the soul rests and finds refreshment in God.” My prayer would be to find the quiet place within me where I can hear the word of God.

  • Donna

    I know “I” am my greatest obstacle. I get so distracted by life’s worries. I try to offer my sufferings and worries to God, That is how I “bathe” myself in prayer daily. Sometimes when I get caught up in “doing” for others I forget to ask, or thank God for the grace in that moment/task. I need to be more present. I will pray The Our Father this week, and continue to offer up my sufferings.
    Thank you for these questions Sarah! You’ve made me think.

  • My greatest challenge with prayer is my ignorance about prayer. I’ve spent a lot of time in vocal prayer and only recently have begun to explore Ignatian prayer through a daily examen. As I start to meditate on mysteries of our faith, I realize that I am growing more comfortable with the experience of prayer.

    I am hindered whenever I choose my will instead of God’s. I always regret it (even with the smallest examples). Fortunately our Lord is patient with me.

    I turn to the St. Michael prayer when I feel in particular need.

  • Michael

    Distraction, I think is my greatest challenge, within myself and external. My weak will is another and lack of discipline. I am a mess! How will I bathe in it? I keep pressing on, I offer my day and I trust Him that He will get me “there”. Many blessings, Michael

  • Annie

    Michael, How many times a day I use your exact words to describe myself: “I am a mess.” The only way to clean up is to immerse myself in the bath of prayer where my soul can find refreshment in God.

  • Elizabeth

    One of my biggest challenges was being faithful to my morning prayer time before getting involved in the never ending work of the day, which now often starts on the computer. Since I’m not able to get to daily Mass at this time, I subscribe(free) to the Mass Readings from the USCCB(United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) website with audio followed by a video reflection. Right afterwards, I often write a few words that have ‘spoken ‘ to me in some way in my prayer journal. Since October is the month of the rosary, I added this to my daily regime. Some days I say it along with one of the EWTN Rosary programs online. Other days I say it in the car with a CD. Praying in community really helps me stay on track.

  • Laurie

    My greatest challenge is seeing the opportunity for prayer and taking advantage of it. I am often up and out of my room before I think to stop for morning prayers, I turn on the radio in the car on my way to town, I ‘just need to finish … (fill in the blank) and then I’ll get to it and at the end of the day I’m nodding off in the middle of it. I make rosaries and I’m watching tv instead of saying it for crying out loud. He’s calling to me, giving me opportunities and I’m avoiding it. So He often wakes me in the middle of the night and that’s when I end up praying and praying significantly with love and cleansing tears. I’m like this errant child who won’t clean her room until forced to on a Saturday cartoon morning. (I love to sleep, you see) It’s beautiful that He loves me so much in His pursuit. Now I just need to discipline myself to prayer in the daylight hours so I can get a full nights sleep. ; }
    I’m starting the liturgy of the hours and setting my alarm for a reminder. I feel like if I can get to that place where I’m pausing every few hours to ‘bathe’ in the word of God then the habit for prayer might come?

  • Judy Silhan

    I’m late in responding to the discussion questions as I have been away from home for a conference with Lighthouse Catholic Media. My biggest challenge with prayer is taking the time, long or short, throughout the day, to spend time with our Lord. Since taking a class with Dan, I have gotten used to getting up very early and praying the Liturgy of the Hours, and then spending time with spiritual reading. However, this is where my discipline seems to dissipate. After prayer, I am off to Mass. Because I work from home (maybe an excuse), volunteer at my parish, attend classes at Avila, volunteer at the church thrift store, time just seems to slip away once I leave my prayer space of a morning. During a retreat in September, at Prince of Peace Abbey, I even recorded the tolling bells calling the monks to prayer, in hopes that I could figure out a way to set up my phone to play this beautiful sound, to once again call me to prayer during my daily life. At the Abbey, I realized that God gives us jobs to do, and for that gift of labor, we need to take time to thank and praise Him for it. Without God’s grace, we would not have jobs we enjoy or are called to, be it the call of a vocation, as the monks and priests have answered, or married, or the call to be single. These thoughts about being called to prayer throughout the day became a part of me while I was at the Abbey; but sadly, I guess they were not instilled enough. So, as I said, this is my biggest challenge, to become disciplined beyond the early morning hour prayer time.
    2) I think one thing that hinders my moving further in holiness may be too much noise, as Dan calls the internet. I watch very little TV. However, by working from home, via the computer, it is easy to get tied up with Facebook and emails. Yes, I do a lot of spiritual reading and try to evangelize with those social medial tools; but, perhaps the hours I spend are too much. My prayer would be: Lord, help me to realize this week that you are in control, know what is happening, and that I cannot read everything there is to know. Help me to be at peace and let go of this satiating desire to pass along to others what I think the world, or the people I am connected with, need to know also, through Facebook and email.

  • Warwick Onyeama

    Dear Sarah, you have done me a very great favour: you have made me get this book down from my shelf where along with many other “spiritual” books, it had been gathering dust since I bought it several months ago. Your meditation on the subject of prayer has made me start reading it and I shall use contact with this book club site, to read it through. I am joining too late in the programme to properly catch up but I will steadily read some of each chapter daily, to the end. From the little I have read of the Introduction it seems possibly, an answer to a prayer.

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