Dan Burke is an award-winning author, writer, and speaker on Catholic spirituality. He has written and/or edited nine books on faithful Catholic spirituality and is the President and Chief Operating Officer of EWTN News, Inc. Dan is the president of the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, and the creator of Divine Intimacy Radio and SpiritualDirection.com.
How do you meditate correctly? What do you need to keep in mind? What's important (and what's not)?
Counsels for Meditation, from Finding God through Meditation, by St. Peter of Alcantara
Now we will briefly handle those things which pertain to the form and method of meditation, of which, though the Holy Spirit be the principal master, nevertheless, experience teaches us that certain counsels are likewise necessary: because the way to heaven is cragged, and full of difficulties, therefore is there need of a guide, without which many have gone astray a long time from the right path, or, at leastwise, have not attained to their desired end so soon as they expected.
The First Counsel—Avoid Rigidity in Method
The first counsel, therefore, is that we do not so adhere to those things which we have digested into several points and times as that we should think it a fault to fall upon other things, wherein the mind may reap more abundant fruit; for seeing devotion is the end of all those exercises, that which comes nearest to this scope is always to be accounted best; which ought not lightly, upon every occasion, to be done, but with a clear and manifest profit.
The Second Counsel—Avoid Excessive Intellectual Speculation
We must be wary of too many speculations in this exercise, and use rather efficacious affections of the will than curious discourses of the understanding: wherefore, they go not in the right way that meditate of divine mysteries as though they were to preach them to the people in a sermon, which is rather to dissipate than to recollect the spirit, and to wander abroad than to be busied in their own home. Therefore, he that will meditate with fruit to his soul must come to it like a humble simple creature, bringing rather a will disposed to taste these holy mysteries profitably than acrimony of understanding to discuss them learnedly; for this is proper to those who give themselves to study, not to those who consecrate themselves unto devotion.
Finding God through Meditation, by St. Peter of Alcantara, brings the wisdom of the great saint into your hands. St. Peter directed St. Teresa of Avila on difficult questions she had about prayer and she turned to this work for guidance.
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