Pope: meditation is a method to follow Jesus
"Especially in the voracious Western world, people seek meditation because it represents a high barrier against the daily stress and emptiness that is everywhere". But "we must always remember that the method is a road, not a goal. Any method of prayer, if it is to be Christian, is part of that sequela Christi [following Christ] which is the essence of our faith".
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Meditation is a method to find oneself and is common to people of all religions and even to those who do not believe, but for the Christian it is a way to encounter Jesus, to follow him.
Continuing the cycle of catechesis on prayer, Pope Francis dedicated his reflection for today's general audience - held in the private library - to meditation, which for a Christian is a "path" to follow Jesus, "to 'meditate' is to seek meaning: it implies placing oneself before the great page of Revelation in order to try to make it our own, taking it in completely.”
Because " Therefore, having welcomed the Word of God, a Christian does not keep it closed up inside, because that Word must meet with “another book,” which the Catechism calls “the book of life.” "(cf.Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2706 ). This is what we try to do every time we meditate on the Word”.
Francis noted how the practice of meditation, has received a great deal of attention in recent years. “We all need to meditate, to reflect, to find ourselves,” he said. “Especially in the voracious Western world, people seek meditation because it represents a high barrier against the daily stress and emptiness that is everywhere.” Here, then, is the image of young people and adults sitting in meditation, in silence, with half-closed eyes ... What are these people doing? They are meditating. It is a phenomenon to be to be welcomed, because we possess an interior life that cannot always be neglected. Everyone needs meditation”.
But if meditating "is a human dimension", for the Christian "meditation enters through the door of Jesus Christ". "When a Christian prays, he does not aspire to full transparency of himself, he does not search for the deepest core of his self": "This is lawful, but Christian meditation seeks something else: The Christian's prayer is above all encounter with the Other, but with a capital O, the transcendent encounter with God. If an experience of prayer gives us inner peace, or mastery of ourselves, or clarity on the path to take, these results are, so to speak, collateral effects of the grace of Christian prayer which is the encounter with Jesus. To meditate is to go to the encounter with Jesus within us”.
The methods of Christian meditation are many: “some very sober, others more articulated; some accentuate the intellectual dimension of the person, others rather the affective and emotional one. all of them important and worthy of practice, inasmuch as they can help the experience of faith to become a total act of the person because people do not only pray with their minds or their feeling alone".
But "we must always remember that the method is a road, not a goal. Any method of prayer, if it is to be Christian, is part of that sequela Christi [following Christ] which is the essence of our faith.” "Christian prayer preferably pauses to meditate on 'the mysteries of Christ'" (n. 2708). Here, then, is the grace of Christian prayer: Christ is not far away, but he is always in relationship with us. There is no aspect of his divine-human person that cannot become for us a place of salvation and happiness. Every moment of Jesus' earthly life, through the grace of prayer, can become contemporary to us. Thanks to the Holy Spirit, we too are present at the Jordan River when Jesus immerses himself in it to receive baptism. We too are diners at the wedding at Cana, when Jesus gives the best wine for the happiness of the spouses. We too witness amazed at the thousand healings performed by the Master. And in prayer we are the purified leper, the blind Bartimaeus who regains his sight, Lazarus who comes out of the tomb ... We too are healed; we too are risen. Christian meditation, guided by the Holy Spirit leads us to encounter Jesus. There is no page of the Gospel in which there is no room for us. Meditation, for us Christians, is a way of encountering Jesus the Saviour. And so, only in this way, to rediscover ourselves ".