Some people sit in a lotus position and chant “OM.” Others go up a mountain top and allow themselves to be absorbed into nature’s harmony. Athletes preparing for a game would close their eyes and “visualize” what is going to happen during the game. A housewife who has just finished doing the laundry, cleaning the kitchen and washing the dishes may decide to take a pause and contemplate the beauty of her garden.
In a certain sense all the above are examples of meditation — an act of entrusting oneself to existence itself and allowing oneself to be wrapped in the unity that binds all things.
I also meditate. But I don’t entrust myself to Existence. I entrust myself to the Ground of Existence. This Ground of Existence has revealed Himself in human history through saving events — the mirabilia Dei — the greatest of which is the Christ-event: the birth, death, resurrection and glorification of Christ. The Christian tradition of meditation is an “immersion” into those events, in the act of recalling them, making them present before the mind’s eyes. In this sense, meditation can be done through the reading of Scriptures. It can also be done through the recitation of the rosary.
Buddhists have prayer beads as an aid in their meditation. Catholics have developed the rosary from the pebbles that the old monks used to transfer from one pocket to another as they recited their prayers. The rosary beads are used for counting the “Hail Mary’s” that have become the standard prayer in the rosary. The “Hail Marys” in turn help the one meditating to measure the time that is given for recalling a stage in the Christ-event.
I used to pray the rosary three times a day as a young student. Mornings were devoted to the Joyful Mysteries (Anunciation-Visitation-Nativity-Presentation-Finding at the Temple). Post-prandial meditation is devoted to the Sorrowful Mysteries (Agony-Scourging-Crowning of Thorns-Carrying of the Cross-Crucifixion and Death). Before sleeping, I had the Glorious Mysteries (Resurrection-Ascension-Coming of the Holy Spirit-Mary’s Assumption-Mary’s Crowning as Queen). Today, I spend more time with the Scriptures, and once in a while I pray the rosary, which, in the meantime, has grown one Mystery longer (The Mystery of Light: Baptism of the Lord-Wedding at Cana-Proclamation of the Kingdom-Transfiguration-Institution of the Eucharist).
I consider the time spent in meditation as moments where I soak myself in the wonders of God’s work. Secular philosophies would call for a time for “slowing down”; to stop, look and listen. I don’t. Christian meditation is like going to the beach and basking under the sun or wallowing in the waters of the ocean. And the nice thing about it is one can do it any time and any place.
Originally posted 2005-01-12 05:21:06. Republished by Blog Post Promoter
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