Living in the Two Hearts

My Spiritual Insights and Musings

Meditation…a deeper form of Prayer

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, “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” (CCC 2708). 

[Thus] meditation is important for con-version, the ability to do an “about-face” and follow the truths of Christ and for that strength to follow no matter what happens in our lives.  This is why the Rosary is so dynamic and so important as a means of prayer, which is again,  “…the raising of one’s mind and heart to God…,” ~ St. John Damascene, (CCC 2559).  Thus the Rosary is BOTH a prayer AND a meditation – Good Theology!

So, what is the Rosary?  It is a type meditation/prayer found in the Sacred Scriptures of the New Testament, that also reflects scripture from the OT,  when we look at the life of Jesus as seen through the eyes of the woman who never left her Son’s side.  For she “is inseparably linked with the saving work of her Son” (CCC 1172). So it begins with “…Mary’s unique cooperation with the working of the Holy Spirit,” (CCC 2675) when she “…gave her consent in faith at the Annunciation and maintained it without hesitation at the foot of the Cross” (CCC 2674); And it is through this consent, this unique cooperation with the Holy Spirit, that we too, begin our journey through the life of Jesus.  We open with meditation on the  Joyful Mysteries of God becoming Man, sanctifying His mother and all that He came into contact with, as He went from infancy to age 12.  Below is an outline of the reflections, but not necessarily the prayer part.  That will come a little later.

The Annunciation: We begin when God becameFlesh (Jn 1:14).  The Church teaches us that all life begins at the moment of conception (cf.CCC 2370, 2322).  This moment occurred for Jesus when Mary said, “Be it done unto me according to thy words” (Lk 1:38), and the Holy Spirit overshadowed her (ref Lk1:35).  It was at this moment that Jesus was immaculately conceived in the womb of the Immaculate Virgin. 

The word immaculate has two distinct meanings here, the direct and the indirect.  First, the direct: Jesus was conceived by the Power of the Holy Spirit, not as a result of the seed of man.  Second, the indirect: Mary herself was preserved from the stain of original sin (see Hail Mary for further details), and so her very human nature was pure i.e. Immaculate.  It was this human nature that the Word made Flesh received from His mother, pure and immaculate. This event is called the Incarnation, and it is the central theme to all of Christianity, for without God becoming Man we would not have salvation, and without Mary saying YES to becoming the Mother of God, we would not have Jesus.  See the importance?

The Visitation:  The next reflection we meditate on is Mary’s visit to Elizabeth as told to us also in Luke1:39 and following, or from another angle, Mary’s bringing the King to sanctify John in Elizabeth’s womb.  We read that Elizabeth exclaims at the moment of her cousin’s greeting – the very words she uttered while under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit – “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?  For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy.  And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”  This reminds us that Mary will always bring us Jesus just as she did for Elizabeth, to sanctify our souls, just as Jesus did for his cousin John.

The Nativity : The Birth of Jesus follows.  We read in Luke 2:1-21 how Jesus’ parents left their home in Nazareth and traveled south to Bethlehem, where Joseph’s family lives, in order to register for a census ordered by Caesar Augustus.  Mary was ready to give birth, but Jesus waited until they arrived in Bethlehem in order to fulfill the scriptures(Micah 5:2;Mt 2:6).  We read about the visiting of the Angels with Shepherds and these humble men later visited the babe in the stable.  A great reminder to us that it was not to the rich and powerful the message of the Savior’s birth was made known, but to the meek and humble of heart. 

Presentation at the Temple: Luke 2:22:-39 continues on with the fulfilling of the prescription of the Law (Exodus 13:2) and presents Jesus to His Father in the temple.  It is hear that an old priest named Simeon gives a prophetic reminder to Mary and Joseph about their son, reflecting a wonderful parallel to the Isaiah passages about the servant who prospered and was stricken for our sins (see Is 52:13-15; 53.  Luke’s passage reads, “Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against…”  Simeon then reminds Mary of her part in all this, “(and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed.”  For she “is inseparably linked with the saving work of her Son” (CCC 1172).

The Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple:  The last of these Joyful Mysteries of the early life of Christ closes with Luke 2:41-51, when Mary and Joseph find Jesus, age 12, in the temple talking with the Elders and asking them questions.  Tradition tells us that Mary and Joseph had gone up to Jerusalem for the annual feast of the Passover, and had travelled with many of their close friends and relatives.  When they left Jerusalem, they believed Jesus was among their friends and relatives, so for 24 hours they thought nothing of the fact that they had not seen Jesus.  Scripture gives us the details concerning their discovery that Jesus was not in factamong their relatives, and how they responded returning to Jerusalem (no doubt in haste) just to spead three whole days looking for Him.  This is a good reminder to us as well.  In our busy world we could go for days not finding God in our lives.  Its not until we come to Him in His dwelling place that we find Jesus waiting patiently for us with the very question, “How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”  Where do you seek God?  Is it in His Father’s house? 

Four Mysteries for meditation that reflect on the life of Jesus, and this is only the beginning.  Why? Because, “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” (CCC 2708).   Be ready to experience all three! 

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