Thursday, August 04, 2011

Recover the Lost Art of Prayer, Meditation, Contemplation

Today I will take time to pray, meditate, and contemplate.

  • "Prayer" = talking with God about what he and I are doing together
  • "Meditate" = to chew on the thoughts of God (from Scripture, from revelation)
  • "Contemplate" = to behold God; to see God; to dwell on the being of God
While Jesus, on earth, had a big-time actual prayer life, most Jesus-followers, in my opinion, do not. Most hardly pray. "They have no time" to pray. Their prayerless lives are the result of: poor choices that involve them in meaningless activity (e.g., tweeting and texting), and systemic evil that works against the contemplative, meditative life.

The as-usual-prescient Thomas Merton wrote, in Contemplation In a World of Action, "Let us start with one admitted fact: if prayer, meditation, and contemplation were once taken for granted as central realities in human life everywhere, they are no longer. They are regarded, even by believers, as somehow marginal and secondary. What counts is getting things done." (Published posthumously in 1971; Merton died in 1968 in Bangkok, Thailand)

Prayer, meditation, and contemplation (PMC) are the antitdotes to boredom. "Boredom" is not having nothing to do; it is finding no meaning in what you are doing. You could do a gazillion things and be totally bored. PMC draws you out of the meaningless world of "getting things done" into the meaning-filled life of Christ who, of course, has things for you to do, but slow-cooks meaning and purpose into your soul. One's doing comes from one's being.