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Christian Meditation | Physically Spiritual S2 E12

Updated: Oct 21, 2021

You can’t make it through the magazine aisle of a store without seeing a cover lauding the merits of meditation. It seems like the less Christian our culture becomes the more people become obsessed with meditation. The Church has a long rich tradition of meditation. Is this what modern self-help gurus are talking about? Or, is there something more that Christian Meditation offers that the world cannot grasp? This episode of Physically Spiritual will explore Christian Meditation.

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Headings

2:45 What is Meditation?

4:00 Non-Christian Meditation

8:00 Christian Meditation

13:30 Meditation and the Body

21:45 Meditating on the Truth

25:30 Meditation and Revelation

27:45 Quietism

33:00 How to Meditate

46:30 What to Meditate About

50:00 What is a Good Meditation?

53:00 Distractions



Notes

Season 2 Ep 6 - Three Expressions of Prayer - https://www.becominggift.com/post/three-expressions


“That does not mean that genuine practices of meditation which come from the Christian East and from the great non-Christian religions, which prove attractive to the man of today who is divided and disoriented, cannot constitute a suitable means of helping the person who prays to come before God with an interior peace, even in the midst of external pressures.” Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on some aspects of Christian Meditation – Orationis formas (vatican.va), 28.
Meditation engages thought, imagination, emotion, and desire. This mobilization of faculties is necessary in order to deepen our convictions of faith, prompt the conversion of our heart, and strengthen our will to follow Christ.” Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2708. - http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p4s1c3a1.htm

Richard Davidson & Daniel Goleman, Altered Traits: Science Reveals How Meditation Changes Your Mind, Brain, and Body - https://www.amazon.com/Altered-Traits-Science-Reveals-Meditation/dp/0399184384

“Among the iffy findings gone viral with enthusiastic claims: that meditation thickens the brain’s executive center, the prefrontal cortex, while shrinking the amygdala, the trigger for our freeze-fight-or-flight response; that meditation shifts our brain’s set point for emotions into a more positive range; that meditation slows aging; and that meditation can be used to treat diseases ranging from diabetes to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. On closer look, each of the studies on which these claims are based has problems with the methods used; they need more testing and corroboration to make firm claims. Such findings may well stand up to further scrutiny—or maybe not.” Richard Davidson & Daniel Goleman, Altered Traits: Science Reveals How Meditation Changes Your Mind, Brain, and Body - https://www.amazon.com/Altered-Traits-Science-Reveals-Meditation/dp/0399184384
“The four main neural pathways meditation transforms are, first, those for reacting to disturbing events—stress and our recovery from it [...] the second brain system, for compassion and empathy, turns out to be remarkably ready for an upgrade. The third, circuitry for attention, [...] The fourth neural system, for our very sense of self.” Ibid.
“Where attention goes, neuro-firing flows, and neuro-connection grows” - Dr. Dan Siegel, Aware: the Science of the Practice of Presence, Ch. 2 - https://www.amazon.com/Aware-Practice-Presence-Groundbreaking-Meditation/dp/1101993049

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) - https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/crisis-knocks/201003/mindfulness-based-stress-reduction-what-it-is-how-it-helps


Physically Spiritual | The Tiger in Your Inbox - https://www.becominggift.com/post/tiger

Physically Spiritual | God’s Presence and Your Body - https://www.becominggift.com/post/gods-presence

Physically Spiritual | The Truth Will Set You Free - https://www.becominggift.com/post/truth


“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4: 8 - https://bible.usccb.org/bible/philippians/4
Meditation is “only a remote means for union with God. One of the benefits deriving from discursive prayer is that through the delight it affords it draws the beginner away from ‘sensual things’, and the world thus loses some of its appeal.” Fr. Thomas Dubay, S.M. Fire Within: Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross and the Gospel on Prayer. p.52. - https://www.ignatius.com/Fire-Within-P883.aspx
“Quietism - Quietism (Latin quies, quietus, passivity) in the broadest sense is the doctrine which declares that man's highest perfection consists in a sort of psychical self-annihilation and a consequent absorption of the soul into the Divine Essence even during the present life. In the state of "quietude" the mind is wholly inactive; it no longer thinks or wills on its own account, but remains passive while God acts within it.” The Catholic Encyclopedia (Old) - https://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12608c.htm

Fr. John Bartunek, LC. A Guide to Christian Meditation - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003WQAQVC/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_tkin_p1_i7


Mental Prayer is an act of intimacy between the Divine Persons and the human person(s). Method is helpful to the extent that it enables and sustains divine intimacy and is harmful to the extent that it gets in the way of divine intimacy.


“Meditation is above all a quest. The mind seeks to understand the why and how of the Christian life, in order to adhere and respond to what the Lord is asking. The required attentiveness is difficult to sustain. We are usually helped by books, and Christians do not want for them: the Sacred Scriptures, particularly the Gospels, holy icons, liturgical texts of the day or season, writings of the spiritual fathers, works of spirituality, the great book of creation, and that of history the page on which the "today" of God is written.” Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2705. - http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p4s1c3a1.htm

A good meditation is the one that you do. A better meditation is the one you finish, and the best meditation is the one that disposes you to receive more Faith, Hope, and Love.


“The habitual difficulty in prayer is distraction. It can affect words and their meaning in vocal prayer; it can concern, more profoundly, him to whom we are praying, in vocal prayer (liturgical or personal), meditation, and contemplative prayer. To set about hunting down distractions would be to fall into their trap, when all that is necessary is to turn back to our heart: for a distraction reveals to us what we are attached to, and this humble awareness before the Lord should awaken our preferential love for him and lead us resolutely to offer him our heart to be purified. Therein lies the battle, the choice of which master to serve.” Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2729. - http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p4s1c3a2.htm
"If the heart wanders or is distracted, bring it back to the point quite gently and replace it tenderly in its Master's presence. And even if you did nothing during the whole of your hour but bring your heart back and place it again in Our Lord's presence, though it went away every time you brought it back, your hour would be very well employed." St. Francis de Sales

Support Physically Spiritual by joining the Totus Tuus Community at physicallyspiritual.com

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Listen on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or Spotify

Please leave a review, like, follow, and subscribe to help others find the Podcast!

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