Weekend Ponderings: What is meditation?

edmistenKaren Edmisten’s new book The Rosary: Keeping Company with Jesus and Mary is making the rounds in cyberspace, and I was delighted to find my copy in my mailbox this afternoon. Eagerly I cracked it open, expecting a thick layer of slice-of-life stories of Ramona and Anne-with-an-E that make her blog such a delightful read.

I was momentarily disappointed on that score — but it was otherwise such a lovely read that the sting didn’t last long. One passage I found particularly helpful was her explanation of what, exactly, is meditation:

We don’t meditate in order to pass a prayer test or be able to chat with friends about how fascinating meditation is. We do it as a means to an end: to grow closer to Jesus. Regularly employed, meditation will do that. Let’s see how it works.

We’re after “thought, imagination, emotion and desire.” Substitute one of these words for meditation, and see what happens. Instead of Meditate on the third joyful mystery,” try Think about the birth of Jesus. Now try the other elements of meditation, too. Imagine what it was like to witness the birth of Jesus. What emotions did Mary feel at his birth? What about Joseph? The shepherds? How would I have felt if I’d been there? Do I desire to be transformed by the birth of Jesus? What do I desire?

When we are in the throes of mothering, there are times when we are too tired, preoccupied, or otherwise engaged to feel as though we are giving God more than cursory treatment. At such times, I’ve found the Rosary is particularly helpful. When you are stressed, the gentle repetition can soothe and comfort; when you are overwhelmed, turning our thoughts toward God and his ultimate demonstration of love in the person of Christ can also lighten the load. But to be honest, it was actually talking to Mary like I would have talked to my own mother (had she been in the room) that got me through the darkest moments of my first tentative parenting efforts. “You were the perfect mother, with the perfect Son — I have neither of those things going for me. Pray for me … pray for me … don’t forget me, Mom!”

And a book of my own was born …
 

(Warning: Moment of shameless self promotion ahead.) If you need a little help entering into thebym-new spirit of the mysteries, pick up a copy of my book Behold Your Mother. Available in English or Spanish — order it through my website, and get a free autograph!

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