One temptation for beginners at meditation is to constantly worry about if something is coming from God or from their own imagination. We are familiar with the extraordinary visions and locutions of the Bible, and we tend to think that God either speaks in an incredible way or he is completely silent. These misconceptions cannot be farther from the truth. God wishes to communicate his love and his wisdom to us each and every day. Learning to hear his voice is one of the keys to Christian discipleship.
Elizabeth City, NC - The Lord speaks to us in the working of our interior dialogue and our experience. Listen to God through Prayer and Meditation
The Spirit moves and guides us through inspirations and other workings of our imagination.
Discovering what is from the Spirit and what is not, however, is not something that comes
automatically. Rather, it takes time and practice to develop. The layers of sin and the disorders sin causes prevent us from having this sensitivity to the Spirit's promptings. Being purified of these disorders is a long process of conversion and healing, a process that finds its strength from the sacrament of confession.
Light a virtual candle, pray and meditate.
Meditation is also important. As we grow in our practice of Christian meditation, we learn to listen to our interior dialogue and our experiences with curiosity and openness. As we grow in our commitment to Christian living and overcome our attachments to mortal and venial sin through regular confession, we notice patterns of grace and inspiration that begin to emerge.
These patterns help us to see where God has worked in the past, what he asks us to do in the present, and where he wants to lead us in the future. Discernment thus takes place within the context of meditation. As we give time to listen, we learn the the art by which we sort through our thoughts, feelings, and desires and learn how the Spirit is guiding and directing them.
One of the masters of discernment was St. Ignatius of Loyola. In the context of his Spiritual Exercises, he developed a series of rules that were intended to help Christians discern the working of the Spirit. His rules were designed to help believers to deal with the struggles of the Spiritual life and discover how the Spirit moves and guides us. In our contemporary times, Fr. Tim Gallagher (www.frtimothygallagher.org) has developed a great series of books and resources that teach about discernment. I highly recommend his work.
Deacon Ian VanHeusen is studying to be a Priest for the Diocese of Raleigh, NC. He blogs regularly about Christian Meditation on www.contemplatio.us.
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Listen to God through Prayer and Meditation
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