Meditative prayer…again!

I have often quoted a line from Hamlet re prayerKing Claudius is on his knees, in prayer, saying, “My words fly up.  My thoughts remain below.  Words without thoughts never to heaven go.”

That is a very subtle observation as is often the case when something is profound.  Shakespeare noted the distinction between a prosaic, formal, perfunctory prayer and one that is essentially meditation, “thoughts” and “words” conjoined.   Richard Rohr’s blog posting of today presents this notion more eloquently:

In what is commonly called prayer, you and your hurts, needs, and perspectives are still the central reference point, not really God. But you have decided to invite a Major Power in to help you with your already determined solution! God can perhaps help you get what you want, but it is still a self-centered desire, instead of God’s much better role—which is to help you know what you really desire (Luke 11:13, Matthew 7:11). It always takes a bit of time to widen this lens, and therefore the screen, of life.

One goes through serious withdrawal pain for a while until the screen is widened to a high-definition screen. It is work to learn how to pray, largely the work of emptying the mind and filling the heart—that is prayer in one concise and truthful phrase. Or as some say, “pulling the mind down into the heart” until they both operate as one.


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