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What is Christian Meditation

Christian meditation involves looking back on Jesus' life, thanksgiving and adoration of God for his action in sending

Jesus for human salvation. In her book The Interior Castle (Mansions 6, Chapter 7) Saint Teresa of Avila defined Christian meditation as follows:

"By meditation I mean prolonged reasoning with the understanding, in this way. We begin by thinking of the favor which God

bestowed upon us by giving us His only Son; and we do not stop there but proceed to consider the mysteries of His whole glorious life.

Christian meditation is different from the style of meditations performed in Eastern religions (such as Buddhism) or in the context of the New Age. While other types of meditation may suggest approaches to disengage the mind, Christian meditation aims to fill the mind with thoughts related to Biblical passages or Christian devotions.[31] Although some mystics in both the Western and Eastern churches have associated feelings of ecstasy with meditation, (e.g. St. Teresa of Avila's legendary meditative ecstasy)

 

 

SOME ASPECTS OF CHRISTIAN MEDITATION

True Christian meditation is a form of prayer in which a structured attempt is made to become aware of and reflect upon the

revelations of God . It is the process of deliberately focusing on specific thoughts (such as a bible passage) and reflecting on their

meaning in the context of the love of God.In Aspects of Christian meditation, the Holy See warned of potential incompatibilities in mixing Christian and non-Christian styles of meditation. In 2003, in A Christian reflection on the New Age the Vatican announced " the Church avoids any concept that is close to those of the New Age.

 

Crossing the Threshold of Hope – by His Holiness John Paul II

Chapter Called - Buddha?

"The Dalai Lama, spiritual leader of the Tibetans is a well-known figure in the West. I have met him a few times. He brings Buddhism to people of the Christian West, stirring up

interest both in Buddhist spirituality and in its METHODS OF PRAYING......At various times, attempts to link this method with the Christian mystics have been made....despite similar aspects, there is a fundamental difference.......between Christianity and the religions of the

Far East, in particular Buddhism, there is an essentially different way of perceiving the World.

For Christians, the world is God's creation, redeemed by Christ. It is in the world that man meets God......

For this reason it is not inappropriate to caution those Christians who enthusiastically welcome certain ideas originating in the religious traditions of the Far East – for example, techniques and methods of meditation and ascetical practice. In some quarters these have become fashionable, and are accepted rather uncritically. First one should know our own spiritual heritage well and consider whether it is right

to set it aside lightly.

Here we recall,if only in passing, the brief but important document of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith "on Certain Aspects of Christian Meditation" (10/15/1989)."
His Holiness John Paul II

 

SOME ASPECTS OF CHRISTIAN MEDITATION

Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI)

"The emptiness which God requires is that of the renunciation of personal selfishness, not necessarily that of the renunciation of

those created things which he has given us and among which he has placed us."

"Without doubt, a Christian needs certain periods of retreat into solitude to be recollected and, in God's presence, rediscover his path. Nevertheless, given his character as a creature, and as a creature who knows that only in grace is he secure, his method of getting closer to God is not based on any "technique" in the strict sense of the word. That would contradict the spirit of childhood called for by the Gospel. Genuine Christian mysticism has nothing to do with technique: it is always a gift of God, and the one who benefits from it knows himself to be unworthy"

"Some physical exercises automatically produce a feeling of quiet and relaxation, pleasing sensations, perhaps even phenomena of light and of warmth, which resemble spiritual well-being. To take such feelings for the authentic consolations of the Holy Spirit would be a totally erroneous way of conceiving the spiritual life. Giving them a symbolic significance typical of the mystical experience, when the moral condition of the person concerned does not correspond to such an experience, would represent a kind of mental schizophrenia which could also lead to psychic disturbance and, at times, to moral deviations."

"The love of God, the sole object of Christian contemplation, is a reality which cannot be "mastered" by any method or technique. On the contrary, we must always have our sights fixed on Jesus Christ, in whom God's love went to the cross for us and there assumed even the condition of estrangement from the Father (cf. Mk 13:34 ). We therefore should allow God to decide the way he wishes to have us participate in his love."

        ......"techniques were subsequently identified and dismissed by

       St. Teresa of Avila who perceptively observed that:

       "the very care taken not to   think    about anything will arouse the mind to think a great deal,"

 

SOME ASPECTS OF CHRISTIAN MEDITATION

(Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church )

Issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on October 15, 1989.

Many Christians today have a keen desire to learn how to experience a deeper and authentic prayer life despite the not inconsiderable difficulties which modern culture places in the way of

the need for silence, recollection and meditation. The interest which in recent years has been awakened also among some Christians by forms of meditation associated with some eastern religions and their particular methods of prayer is a significant sign of this need for spiritual recollection and a deep contact with the divine mystery. Nevertheless, faced with this phenomenon, many feel the need for sure criteria of a doctrinal and pastoral character which might allow them to instruct others in prayer, in its numerous manifestations, while remaining faithful to the truth

revealed in Jesus, by means of the genuine Tradition of the Church. This present letter seeks to reply to this urgent need, so that in the various particular Churches the many different forms of prayer, including new ones, may never lose their correct personal and communitarian nature.

cin.org/users/james/files/meditation.htm(full document)

 

 

Web References

Pontifical Council for Culture – Pontifical Council for Inter Religious Dialogue
JESUS CHRIST THE BEARER OF THE WATER OF LIFE

A Christian reflection on the "New Age"
www.vatican.va

 

"Certain Aspects of Christian Meditation" Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
www.cin.org/

 

Flame Ministry (Catholic site) – explaining to Christians the origins and meaning of some of the new fashions
www.flameministries.org

 

 

 

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