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The Prayer of the Heart

By Deacon Ian VanHeusen
7/3/2014 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The Word of God is a guide to help us penetrate the heart and learn to listen to Christ's voice.

If we think about it, we all recognize that communication is about much more than words. When we listen to another human being, we listen to the whole person. We recognize the inflection of their voice, their body posture, and their facial reactions. All of these features give us insights into what is being communicated. In this way, communication between persons can never be reduced to simply an exchange of information. We do not simply communicate ideas and concepts, but rather we communicate a whole interior world that has many shades of meaning.

To gain intimacy with Jesus, we must develop a practice of daily meditation.

To gain intimacy with Jesus, we must develop a practice of daily meditation.

Highlights

By Deacon Ian VanHeusen
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
7/3/2014 (3 years ago)

Published in Blog

Keywords: lectio divina, meditation, intimacy with Christ,


span style="line-height: 1.22;">ZEBULON, NC - Our relationship with Jesus Christ is no different.

The trouble with our relationship with Jesus is that we often lack the means to discern the different ways in which Jesus Christ communicates his Divine life. We are good at recognizing the ideas of Christianity, but we fail to understand the more subtle shades of meaning which the Spirit imparts through the liturgy and through private meditation. Perhaps we 'study' our faith, but our comprehension remains simply an intellectual exercise. Although this can be interesting, the goal of Christianity is intimacy with Jesus Christ, not simply a collection of intellectual knowledge.

To gain this intimacy, we must develop a practice of daily meditation. This practice finds its source and its consummation in the Eucharistic liturgy. The liturgy is the font from which we draw inspiration and nutrition, and to deepen our experience of the liturgy, we must develop a sensitivity to the promptings of the Spirit. This sensitivity cannot be reduced simply to technique or human effort, but rather is the result of God's grace working in the depths of our soul. In meditation, we prepare our hearts to receive this grace.

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As we set time aside for daily meditation, our lives begin to take on the fruits of the Holy Spirit. We become less reactive and less enslaved by momentary impulses and surface emotions. We begin to experience an inner stillness in which the heart learns to rest in the Lord with boundless faith, hope, and love. This in turn transforms our lives, making us instruments of Christ's healing love. We thus go back into our daily lives renewed and refreshed by the Gospel; a living Gospel that cannot be confined to words on a page.

The foundation for any meditation practice is the Word of God. Although we need not actively reflect on the sacred scriptures with every meditation period, they form the bedrock which helps us to sift through our thoughts, feelings, and desires and discover what is an authentic inspiration of the Spirit. The Word of God is a guide to help us penetrate the heart and learn to listen to Christ's voice. On my website, www.contemplatio.us, I have information on how to meditate on sacred scripture (also called lectio divina). I also have information on how someone can integrate this into situations with children and groups. 

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