Discovering dialogue with God.

The purpose of meditative prayer is to create the emotional and spiritual space that allows Christ to construct an inner sanctuary in the heart. He knocks at the door and desires a perpetual eucharistic feast with us. Meditative prayer opens that door to Christ.

Although we engage in specific meditation exercises at specific times, the ultimate purpose of meditative prayer is to send us into our ordinary world with greater perspective and balance. As we learn to listen to the Lord, we gain new, practical handles on life’s ordinary problems by distinguishing between the significant and the trivial.

How do we go about meditative prayer? In biblical times, people were well versed in how to meditate. Today, however, there is an abysmal ignorance of even the most basic elements of this spiritual art. A simple description of the three basic steps into meditative prayer may therefore be helpful.

Centering Down

The first step is sometimes called “centering down.” Others have used the term “re-collection”; that is, a recollecting of yourself until you are unified or whole. The idea is to let go of all competing distractions until you are truly centered, until you are truly present where you are.

Begin by seating yourself comfortably, and then slowly and deliberately let all tension and anxiety drop away. Become aware of God’s presence in the room. Perhaps in your imagination you will want to visualize Christ seated in the chair across from you, for he is truly present. If frustrations or distractions arise, you will want to lift them up into the arms of the Father and let him care for them. This is not the suppression of our inner turmoil, but the letting go of it. Suppression implies a pressing down, a keeping ...

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