Some days ago I was reading a chapter in Jose Pagola’s book “An Historical Approximation – Jesus”. After reading these lines: ‘Later as he walked around Galilee inviting people to a new experience of God, Jesus would not make great theological speeches, or quote from the sacred texts that people read on the Sabbath in a language they did not know well. No special understanding, no book learning, was needed to understand Jesus. He talked to them from life. Everyone could understand His message: the women who put yeast in the bread dough, the men who went out to sow seeds. They needed only to have lived everyday life with intensity, and to hear with simple hearts the lessons Jesus drew from it, in order to understand a Father God’. As I was reading the above, I was drawn to reflect on the gift of meditation in my life.
Driving home from Mass earlier today, I understood something about myself in a new way. It was not easy to ‘see’. At first my emotions took over and I began to feel ‘low’, annoyed at myself for missing an opportunity, feeling stupid, in other words allowing myself to be absorbed in self pity, etc. But somehow as time moved on I was able to know that this was a grace/gift….and what was I going to do about it. Here was a new gift/challenge to trust. As I continued to drive, I began to reflect – God does not ‘retire’ from His work in us (His love is too great!), and He calls us to the same, as He does not let us ‘retire’ in our spiritual journey.
Shortly after arriving home, I took time for a mid-day meditation as this was a Sunday and I had the opportunity. As I was preparing for meditation, the experience of earlier in the day was quite present to me. I could see myself beginning to go over the feelings, etc. Distractions would be abounding during my meditation time. Silence would be very difficult. Maybe this was not a good time to meditate, I said to myself. But I did not ‘get up’ and move on to another activity. I picked up a book that I was currently rereading – “Light Within” by Laurence Freeman – and my marker led me to the paragraph – “There is a great demand in the words of Jesus ‘ that your Father knows what your needs are before you ask him’. It is the summons to be silent. It is the invitation to trust. Silence in meditation is the supreme expression of our trust in God, just as in any human relationship it can be the supreme expression of personal trust…….leave your needs behind”. I did stay and meditated and tried to remain faithful and generous to the saying of the mantra.
I don’t think I would or could have been aware of the gift the Lord Jesus was offering to me during my drive home after Mass today if I had not known of the gift of meditation. As both Fr. John and Fr. Laurence tell us in their talks and writings – ‘ it is not what happens during the times of meditation that is important, but what happens in our daily ordinary everyday life that changes us, calls us, challenges us, teaches us and shows us anew glimpses of God’s attention to us and love for us’.