Meditative Prayer

Lent 2016
Lent 2016

Thomas Merton in the book, Thoughts in Solitude, leads us into an understanding of meditation with this quote:

Hard as it is to convey in human language, there is a very real and very recognizable (but almost entirely undefinable) Presence of God in which we confront Him in prayer knowing Him by Whom we are known, aware of Him Who is aware of us, loving Him by Whom we know ourselves to be loved. Present to ourselves in the fullness of our own personality, we are present to Him Who is infinite in His Being, His Otherness, His Self-hood. It is not a vision face to face, but a certain presence of self to Self in which, with the reverent attention of our whole being, we know Him in Whom all things have their being. The “eye” which opens to His presence is in the very center of our humility, in the heart of our freedom, in the very depths of our spiritual nature. Meditation is the opening of this eye.”

I needed to read and reread this thoughtful quote several times to grasp the depth and simplicity of its intent. (I also needed to read through an inclusive language lens as well as the original text.)

The eye that opens to God is at the center of our humility and receives sight as we meditate. Is it that simple?  Wait, for me, meditating, or as I practice Centering Prayer, is not so simple. When I can pray with a purpose and words, I can still be in control. When I let go and pray in silence, I am at the mercy and challenge of a wordless, mysterious Spirit moving me out of my head and control.

So the eye that opens to God is one in which I’m not in control?  I will meditate on that.