Over the last year or so, I've been trained in and have been practicing transcendental meditation. I don't consider this in any way a contradiction of my faith in Christ; in fact, I think it has helped me pray more deeply and helped me get closer to the "being with God" that prayer is really all about. And that's why the video above is so encouraging to me; it suggests I am not alone in this; and I am still enough of a Catholic to find a priest's endorsement of this approach to be reassuring.
I wish the Catholic church actually did more to help us lay Catholics know how to pray, and reached out to other traditions of prayer and meditation to keep us Catholics more immune to the world's often irresistible falsehoods and delusions, compulsions and addictions (including, I might note, blogging). I do believe that the lack of focus on prayer as a discipline, a daily regimen, a break in our day that compels us to remember where we are in the full scope of things ... is a terrible failing of the current church. But I also believe that the church is not the hierarchy and that we lay people, and indeed priests, can and must innovate while remaining in constant touch with the ancient and deep and eternal truths of our faith.
I find meditation a very useful prelude to a more traditional mode of prayer to and with God. And the priest above helps explain exactly how and why this helps. It can center you and then allow you to focus more deeply on, say, the Lord's Prayer, or the Hail Mary, or a scriptural passage. Getting to Mass a little early to practice meditation before the service begins is also something that has helped me focus on the eternal in this constantly ephemeral and over-charged modern present.
I am not posting this to evangelize; that is not my role here at the Dish. I post it because a renewal of Christianity is, in my view, so desperately needed, and more airing of how this can happen, and exploration of new modes of thought and worship within our tradition, can only, I hope, help advance the debate.
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