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Prayer as meditation

prayer, meditation, lights, church

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Fr. Peter John Cameron, OP - published on 03/12/23

The Catechism explains that meditation “engages thought, imagination, emotion, and desire”

Are you looking for a way to pray that “enlightens our mind, makes our understanding radiant, fills the heart with joy, calms fury, dispels wrath, drives away bitterness and thoughts of wickedness, puts irritability to flight, expels laziness, and melts our evil thoughts?” That, says the 5th-century St. Isaias the Hermit, is what meditation will do. “Meditation is a mirror for the mind and light for the conscience. From it is born the tenderness that warms and melts the soul.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church speaks of meditation as a “quest” in which “the mind seeks to understand the why and how of the Christian life, in order to adhere and respond to what the Lord is asking” (2705). Meditation “engages thought, imagination, emotion, and desire” in order to “deepen our convictions of faith, prompt the conversion of our heart, and strengthen our will to follow Christ” (2708). 

When we meditate, we still and quiet ourselves, giving ourselves over to the Presence of God. “Meditation means becoming aware of a truth in such a way that it unfolds before your eyes so that you can penetrate it” (L. Giussani). For meditation “shows us what we want” (St. Bernard).

Meditation entails recalling and recollection. Pope Benedict XVI noted that meditation “means to ‘remember’ what God has done and not to forget all his gifts to us. Meditation is a way in which our mind makes contact with the heart of God.” And that contact brings solace and strength to our own heart. 

Reflecting on her own deep experience of meditation, Servant of God Elisabeth Leseur, encourages us:

Meditation is the gathering of oneself into the very depths of one’s being to that point where, in the silencing of outward things, God is found. There you will find the source of all good, strength, and beauty—God. There you will understand both your own weakness and all that you can do here below in the cause of good.


Follow Fr. Cameron’s series on prayer here.

See some of the earlier pieces below:

PrayerPrayer Is:
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