Meditation: A Great Catholic Bonus

Written by A K Whitehead

Meditation: A Great Catholic Bonus by A K Whitehead

Is our primary objective in life to become like Jesus? Of course. How do we do it? Well, ask another one that will take less than fifty books to answer!

But there is an important way which can take us well downrepparttar road. Moreover, it is a particular and integrated part ofrepparttar 126949 Catholic tradition: meditation.

Not any kind of meditation - and certainly none ofrepparttar 126950 kinds imported from eastern religions such as Hinduism. It is a Catholic traditional way hallowed by time andrepparttar 126951 efforts of saints co-operating with God's graces. These include such people as Ignatius of Loyola, John ofrepparttar 126952 Cross, Therese of Avila and many others.

Meditating On What? One ofrepparttar 126953 greatest expressions of God's love for us is that he has provided for us a book which reveals much about himself,repparttar 126954 way to salvation and what he desires of each of us. Most of all, perhaps, there lies within it knowledge of how great is his personal love for each of us.

That book is, of course,repparttar 126955 Bible. Bothrepparttar 126956 Old and, especiallyrepparttar 126957 New Testament are there entirely for our benefit. Indeed, in recent timesrepparttar 126958 Catholic Church has drawn attention on several major ocassion torepparttar 126959 importance of Scripture and ofrepparttar 126960 need for us to avail ourselves of it.

Thus, for example,repparttar 126961 Dogmatic Constitution On Divine Revelation (promulgated by Pope Paul VI, 1965) stresses that ...repparttar 126962 Father who is in heaven meets his children with great love and speaks to them; andrepparttar 126963 force and power inrepparttar 126964 word of God is so great that it stands asrepparttar 126965 support and energy ofrepparttar 126966 Church,repparttar 126967 strength of faith for her sons,repparttar 126968 food ofrepparttar 126969 soul,repparttar 126970 pure and everlasting source of spiritual life.

This latter point is of particular relevance here: Moreover, afterrepparttar 126971 Second Vatican Council Catholics have had made available to them several translations fromrepparttar 126972 original languages ofrepparttar 126973 Bible. For example, we haverepparttar 126974 Jerusalem Bible,repparttar 126975 New Jerusalem Bible andrepparttar 126976 New American Bible. For those who do develop a love of, and interest in Scripture, these are all available with explanatory footnotes and introductions torepparttar 126977 various books ofrepparttar 126978 Bible which put them in historical, cultural and spiritual context.

But it is sad that not many more Catholics seem to make use of what is available to them through Scripture. The saints mentioned above, and many, many others, spent time meditating onrepparttar 126979 sacred word of God because it really did reveal God to them. This is especially important for Christians when meditating onrepparttar 126980 New Testament. Indeed, Ignatius of Loyola especially has highlightedrepparttar 126981 way in which we meet Jesus in a new way throughrepparttar 126982 gospels. God can reach out to us in different ways when we properly reflect onrepparttar 126983 word he has given to us.

A Change of Priorities: Witness

Written by A K Whitehead

A Change of Priorities: Witness by A K Whitehead

Brought up an active Catholic, a number of things went wrong in life shortly after being married. Nothing to do withrepparttar relationship between my wife, Iris, and myself. But I blamed God, either directly or indirectly for what happened. Of course, blaming God for things soon turns into doubt about God, and doubt is thenrepparttar 126948 second step into unbelief.

So forrepparttar 126949 next twenty-plus years I found myself without any real belief in God. I was not an atheist. I could not say that God did not exist. But I could not say that he did exist either. For all that time I was really an agnostic. But I continued going to church - just as insurance! In case he did exist. I though I would then be okay. Both a foolish and illogical position, but...

Without any belief in God my values became determined by self interest. I began studying again and then went to university for three years, to read economics. That was followed by a years Postgraduate Certificate in Education to qualify for teaching. I moved into university level teaching and worked for a Master of Philosophy, a research degree. So I became almost totally focussed on my career as an academic.

All that mattered was making a reputation, promotion, publishing learned papers, earning more money and so forth.

After a piece of prolonged research, I felt that I needed a temporary change and knocked-off for a short while. Suddenly, after years and years of having my mind preoccupied in sorting out academic problems of one sort or another, my mind was free. But all these mental problems had been rather like a hand holding a ball down belowrepparttar 126950 surface of water - as soon asrepparttar 126951 downward pressure was taken offrepparttar 126952 ball shot torepparttar 126953 surface. The "ball" wasrepparttar 126954 problem of God's existence.

The problem had always been there but I had never allowed it to get inrepparttar 126955 way of allrepparttar 126956 other things to which I had given priority. In Mass one Sunday, one ofrepparttar 126957 Scripture readings included Luke 11:9 where Jesus tells his disciples to: "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock andrepparttar 126958 door will be opened to you".

It was as if I had never heard this before. Perhaps I never really had. But then, of course,repparttar 126959 reading went on, because Jesus added that "everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks,repparttar 126960 door will be opened".

It seemed to me that, if God did exist, then these promises should be worth all that they claimed. So I said to God, quite literally: "Okay, I'll take you at your word. I will seek, and ask, and knock. But if I don't find you, it will not be my fault. It will be yours, because you will not have kept your promises. So you will not be able to take me to task for not doing what you wanted".

My first problem was: how do you find God, find whether he exists or not? As a Catholic,repparttar 126961 first thing that occurred to me was to begin going to Mass each day. I did that surreptitiously, without telling Iris. She had always had a very close relationship with God and I felt a bit self conscious about what I was trying to do.

What else? It occurred to me that I had never actually readrepparttar 126962 Bible through from one end torepparttar 126963 other. So I decided to do just that. We were coming towards Christmas and when my two sons asked me what I wanted as a present, I told them, "A Bible". They thought it was hilarious that I should want a Bible! I suppose they did not consider me to be quite repparttar 126964 bible-reading type. But I began reading it at night when everyone else was in bed.

I sometimes had a strange experience inrepparttar 126965 New Testament part. I would read and, although not understanding much of Paul's letters, for example, nonetheless it was as if my mind took over and began to explain to me what I was reading. How that happened, I did not know.

Two and a half years after I had begun this search Iris developed a serious illness: emphysema. Her lungs were filling with fluid and, because of other conditions,repparttar 126966 doctors could do nothing. They gave her six weeks to live.

Onrepparttar 126967 Friday of Pentecost a nun from our parish persuaded us to go to a healing service at a Catholic church about twenty miles away. We went and my wife was insantaneously healed fromrepparttar 126968 emphysema when she was prayed over byrepparttar 126969 parish priest, Fr Lenard May. She "fell inrepparttar 126970 Spirit" and was down for about half-an-hour. It was as if allrepparttar 126971 excess fluid in her body was evaporated away for, when she got up, one could see a damp outline of her body onrepparttar 126972 floor around where she had lain. Our doctor was staggered byrepparttar 126973 event: it subsequently led to his own conversion.

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