Friday, May 3, 2013

Prayer! Meditation! Science!

I've been writing about science quite often, which is no surprise since I'm fascinated by this creation and how it works.

A Catholic could practice our faith and never try to learn how this universe works: although I think that would be an odd way to show respect for its Creator, and that's another topic.

Prayer, on the other hand, is important. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2697-2699) So is meditation. I've put a quick overview of prayer and meditation, Catholic style, at the end of this post.1


Prayer can be just talking to God. When I pray, I often use the same sort of language I'd use when talking to the boss of my boss's boss.

Sometimes I use the sort of semi-archaic, very formal, language: the sort of "dost thou speakest unto this, your humble servant" thing that some folks see as very 'religious.' Others doth perceive with the ears of their heads such utterances and ponder what fools these beadles be.

I like formal language, but I also like contemporary English. I figure God understands both: and any other language, for that matter.


I've run into some folks who think meditation is groovy, others who think it's silly, and some who are convinced that it's Satanic. Not everyone who's afraid of meditation is a Protestant whack job. Some Catholics don't know our faith very well, and that's almost another topic.

I wouldn't try to convince a zealot, but Psalms 139 is a meditation on God's omnipresence and omniscience. Daniel 9 is another sort of meditation.

Then there's this recommendation for meditating on the commandments of God:
"Reflect on the precepts of the LORD, let his commandments be your constant meditation; Then he will enlighten your mind, and the wisdom you desire he will grant."
(Sirach 6:37)
I suppose by some standards, that's not "Biblical," since some Protestants edited Sirach out of their Bible. More topics.


Not all Catholics are as interested in science as I am, some are scientists, and we all follow our faith as best we can: or should. I didn't become a Catholic because there's a 'Vatican science academy,' and that's yet another topic.

Ever since a snit between Victorian gentlemen, the weird notion that science and religion are at war has been popular in some circles. That may be finally going the way of fainting couches, for which I'm duly grateful.

As a Catholic, religion and science get along just fine. Each is, in its own way, a search for truth:
"...methodical research in all branches of knowledge, provided it is carried out in a truly scientific manner and does not override moral laws, can never conflict with the faith, because the things of the world and the things of faith derive from the same God...."
(Catechism, 159)
And that's - what else? - yet again another topic.

Related posts:

1 About prayer and meditation:
  • Prayer
    • Is important
      (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2697-2699)
    • May be
  • Meditation
    • Is a quest
      (Catechism, 2705)
    • Opens the book of life
      (Catechism, 2706)
    • Methods are
      • Many and varied
      • Only a guide
      (Catechism, 2707)
    • Should be done regularly
      (Catechism, 2707)
  • Advancing is important
    • With the Holy Spirit
    • Along the one way of prayer
      • Christ Jesus
    (Catechism, 2707)
  • Strengthens our will to follow Christ by
    • Engaging
      • Thought
      • Imagination
      • Emotion
      • Desire
    • Thereby mobilizing what is necessary to
      • Deepen our convictions of faith
      • Prompt the conversion of our heart
      • Strengthen our will to follow Christ
  • Christian prayer tries above all to meditate on the mysteries of Christ
    • This form of prayerful reflection is of great value
      • But Christian prayer should go further, to
        • The knowledge of the love of the Lord Jesus
        • Union with him
    (Catechism, 2708)
"Meditation is above all a quest. 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. The required attentiveness is difficult to sustain. We are usually helped by books, and Christians do not want for them: the Sacred Scriptures, particularly the Gospels, holy icons, liturgical texts of the day or season, writings of the spiritual fathers, works of spirituality, the great book of creation, and that of history—the page on which the 'today' of God is written."
(Catechism, 2705)

"There are as many and varied methods of meditation as there are spiritual masters. Christians owe it to themselves to develop the desire to meditate regularly, lest they come to resemble the three first kinds of soil in the parable of the sower.5 But a method is only a guide; the important thing is to advance, with the Holy Spirit, along the one way of prayer: Christ Jesus."
(Catechism, 2707)

"Meditation engages thought, imagination, emotion, and desire. This mobilization of faculties is necessary in order to deepen our convictions of faith, prompt the conversion of our heart, and strengthen our will to follow Christ. Christian prayer tries above all to meditate on the mysteries of Christ, as in lectio divina or the rosary. This form of prayerful reflection is of great value, but Christian prayer should go further: to the knowledge of the love of the Lord Jesus, to union with him."
(Catechism, 2708)

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