02 October 2016

"The Way" - On Prayer and Meditation


St. John 1:43-51
43 On the following day, he would go forth into Galilee, and he findeth Philip. And Jesus saith to him: Follow me. 44 Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith to him: We have found him of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets did write, Jesus the son of Joseph of Nazareth. 46 And Nathanael said to him: Can any thing of good come from Nazareth? Philip saith to him: Come and see. 47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him: and he saith of him: Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no guile. 48 Nathanael saith to him: Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered, and said to him: Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee. 49 Nathanael answered him, and said: Rabbi, thou art the Son of God, thou art the King of Israel. 50 Jesus answered, and said to him: Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, thou believest: greater things than these shalt thou see. 51 And he saith to him: Amen, amen I say to you, you shall see the heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man. (Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition)

from  THE WAY

“In prayer we seek a twofold object. We want to express ourselves to God and we want God to impress Himself on us.  In pursuit of the former we use intercession and petitions and worship, to gain the latter we have meditation and communion. Meditation, therefore, is one of the ways in which we seek to hear God's voice. 

“No prayer life can be very strong if it is confined to speaking to God, it will gradually wither and lose interest. We need to listen to God if we are to grow. In every one of us is implanted the desire for communication with God, but if that communication is one-sided the desire will soon grow cold. 

“Now when we try to listen to God we are confronted at once with a difficulty. We cannot keep our thoughts quiet, they go wandering away, leading us in all manner of directions, and distracting our attention so that the message of God falls unheeded on our hears. It is evident, then, that if we are to listen to God, our thoughts must first be chained to one spot, or, as it is more commonly said, that we must have concentration. 

“Meditation provides the means for this, for in meditation the mind and attention are fixed on some passage of Scripture, as [Saint] Bartholomew's mind was fixed on the life of Jacob.  Being thus fixed it can readily receive any communication which God sends through that passage [of Scripture].

“Further, the subject on which the mind is fixed is taken from Holy Scripture, and Holy Scripture is after all only the collection of the accounts of God's dealings with men and men's spiritual experience of God. It includes all the facts of God's communication of Himself. It is, therefore, most capable of containing and revealing the message of God to each individual soul. In this way meditation offers the readiest means of listening to God and hearing His personal message to our soul.”

Devotional Studies 
in Mystical Religion
A Priest
The S. Christopher Press
13 Serjeants' Inn, Fleet Street
London, 1943
pp 113-114