In meetings and in the steps it seems there is an intended difference between “prayer” and “meditation.” Step 10-Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God. For me, one of the benefits of growing up Catholic is the learned mixing of the two.
Praying by talking to God about my day, praying for others, praying for my family, prayers before meals and bedtimes. And another form of Catholic prayer that I love is Lectio Divina, which is praying with the Scriptures. Of course, the Mass is one big community prayer. But when I think of Catholic meditation I think of the Rosary. And Novenas.
For me, meditation isn’t sitting on the floor with my eyes closed focusing on my breath, chanting a centering word over and over. I definitely see the benefit there and enjoyed it when we did these sessions in treatment. Focusing on my breath brings me into the present. Blocking all distractions from my mind using one word or phrase really does help me get centered–out of my own head so to speak. But it doesn’t feel like a God thing to me.
The ultimate form of meditation is the Rosary. The repetition of the memorized prayers centers my mind. The fingering of the beads gives me that element of touch. Lifting my thoughts to God by remembering the stories of the Bible–the mysteries of our faith. On Mondays and Saturdays the recommendation is to Joyful Mysteries: Anunciation, Visitation, Nativity, Presentation and the Finding at the Temple. I can get teary-eyed on the fifth joyful mystery, imagining what Mary felt like after searching for Jesus for three days finally finding him in the Temple. As a mother of sons I can completely relate to Jesus’ response to his mother, “Where else would I be?”
Mom, why do you have to be so dramatic?
Remembering to breathe. Focusing on the present moment. Blocking out distractions. All good. In fact, that might be the best way to prepare myself for praying the Rosary. But that isn’t always convenient in a life of wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, business-owner, old-house owner, daugher-in-law. Me? I need to be able to grab my Rosary off my rearview mirror in the middle of bumper to bumper Atlanta traffic and meditate on the mysteries of my Faith anytime, anywhere.
“The rosary contributes in a privileged way to prolong communion with Christ, and it educates us to live keeping our hearts’ gaze fixed upon him to radiate on everyone and everything his merciful love.” Pope Benedict XVI