Posts Tagged ‘contemplative prayer’

Lectio Divina

“God spots” in the human brain

Monday, March 25, 2019

Spiritual reading is often seen as a desperate last step in a series of pleas to God. Many of us see the contemplation of the sacred word as a last resort or a last worried petition for God’s attention.  The reality is that we constantly have God’s attention and need do nothing special for God to “notice” us.  We are well-loved and well-attended although there are times when we feel this may not be so.

Contemplative prayer is often seen as something we do when we can find the time.  It is seen as the work of the consecrated religious or the spiritually gifted. The truth is that each of us has the capacity to consider and reflect on God’s goodness.  We need no special talent and no special tools.  We each have a God spot that scientists have identified and in fact there are likely “several areas of the brain that form the biological foundations of religious belief”.  (“Independent”)  We are well-equipped and well-blessed with this gift from God.

Today is the Fifth Sunday of Lent, a time when we approach Holy Week and the miracle of Easter.  Let us spend some time today with just a bit of scripture if we do not have time for a chapter or a book.  Let us spend some time today with the process of lectio divina even if for only twenty minutes or so.  Let us spend some time today with the Creator who loves us and tends to us.  This Creator longs to commune with us, yearns to touch is in special ways, wants to bless us and grace with all manner of gifts.  Let us give a bit of time today to God in a bit of reading, a bit of meditation, and a bit of communication.  We will find that the time we spend will come back to us in the form of patience, wisdom, and a newly-found peace.

Image from: http://ymiblogging.org/2010/01/god-spot/

“Belief and the brain’s ‘God spot’ .” Independent. 10 March 2009: n. page. Web. 25 Mar. 2012. <http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/belief-and-the-brains-god-spot-1641022.html&gt;.

If you do not know how to begin, go to the Scripture as Prayer page on this blog, of go to:

For more information on God spots, go to: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/belief-and-the-brains-god-spot-1641022.html, or http://www.americamagazine.org/content/article.cfm?article_id=2886, or http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/03/10/brains-god-spot-discovere_n_173705.html, or http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=104291534, or http://ymiblogging.org/2010/01/god-spot/

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Friday, December 21, 2012 – Matthew 24

Contemplating the Absent Master

261026134_640[1]Again today we have the theme of faith . . . enough faith that we keep constant watch for the coming of Jesus, the healer of all wounds and sadness, the bringer of life and light.

Today is the first day of winter in the northern hemisphere, summer in the southern.  It seems appropriate that somewhere on the globe there is always light to counter the dark, warmth to counter the cold, bright colors and lush growth to balance the starkness of winter with its chorus of browns and grays.  In the tropics there is a different kind of seasonal variation.  Change is indicated by a greater or lesser amount of rain, by the kinds of plants that bloom and spread tendrils, by the animals that migrate.  Nature is constantly changing, yet remaining in faithful cyclic return.

Today’s citation gives us something to think about . . . constancy amid a whirl of change and distraction.  The destruction of a temple that everyone thought so sacred and so certain that it could not crumble, wars and reports of wars, desolating abomination, a fig tree that sprouts blossoms to bear fruit, the faithful and unfaithful servant, the coming of the Son of Man as predicted by the prophet Daniel.  We are to be in a constant anticipation of these signs . . . for they will be harbingers of the New City when time and space are infinite.

The Master will come on an unknown day and at an unknown hour.  We have been put in charge of his household until his return. 

How do we remain in close contact with the Master who is away from home?  In this age of cellphones and satellite communication it seems quite simple really: we spend time in contemplative prayer, in sharing our thoughts with God, in seeking the one we love, in recollecting what we know to be true, in imagining how our impossible dreams might be fulfilled.  The Catechism tells us (CCC 2712) that contemplative prayer is the act of a “child of God, of the forgiven sinner who agrees to welcome the love by which he is loved and who wants to respond to it by loving even more”.  Contemplative prayer is “a gift, a grace; it can be accepted in only humility and poverty . . . [It] is a covenant relationship established by God within our hearts”.  (CCC 2713)  “Contemplation is a gaze of faith, fixed on Jesus . . . a renunciation of self.  His gaze purifies our heart”.  (CCC 2715)  Contemplative prayer is hearing the Word of God.  Far from being passive, such attentiveness is the obedience of faith, the unconditional acceptance of a servant, and the loving commitment of a child.  It participates in the ‘Yes’ of the Son become servant and the Fiat of God’s lowly handmaid . . . Contemplative prayer is silence . . . a union with the prayer of Christ insofar as it makes us participate in his mystery.  [It] . . . consents to abide in the night of faith . . . [and] The Paschal night of the Resurrection passes through the night of the agony and the tomb . . . [where] we must be willing to ‘keep watch with [him] one hour”.  (CCC 2716-2719)

How do we remain faithful to the absent Master?  We demonstrate constancy . . . and we awaken our inmost heart, asking it to sing willingly in the darkness, asking it to cling trustingly to the words we know to be true.  We set our house in order, we commit to a constant communion with God, and we begin our interior quest for that place where silence reigns . . . and only The Word is heard.  Then we can begin to confront our fears and doubts.  We can keep our gaze fixed firmly on the one who redeems and saves . . . we can await with joyful patience the coming of the Lord . . . and we can sing in full anticipation of his promises fulfilled. 

CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH. 2nd ed. Vatican: Libreria Editice Vaticana.  Print.

Written on December 21, 2008 and posted today as a Favorite.

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