Pope Francis said on Wednesday that Christian meditation is a way of coming into contact with Christ, adding that this is how we discover ourselves.
The Pope dedicated his general audience address on April 28 to meditative prayer.
“And this is not a withdrawal into ourselves, no, no: it means going to Jesus, and from Jesus, discovering ourselves, healed, risen, strong by the grace of Jesus. And encountering Jesus, the Savior of all, myself included. And this, thanks to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.”
Pope Francis said meditation was becoming popular in the west, “The practice of meditation has received a great deal of attention in recent years.”
“It is not only Christians who talk about it: the practice of meditation exists in almost all the world’s religions. But it is also a widespread activity among people who do not have a religious view of life.”
“We all need to meditate, to reflect, to discover ourselves, it is a human dynamic. Especially in the voracious Western world, people seek meditation because it represents a high barrier against the daily stress and emptiness that is everywhere.”
“Here, then, is the image of young people and adults sitting in meditation, in silence, with eyes half-closed... But what do these people do, we might ask? They meditate. It is a phenomenon to be looked on favorably: in fact, we are not made to run all the time, we have an inner life that cannot always be neglected. Meditating is therefore a need for everyone. Meditating, so to say, is like stopping and taking a breath in life. To stop and be still.”
xplaining the difference between Christian mediation and other practices, Pope Francis said: “Meditating is a necessary human dimension, but meditating in the Christian context -- we Christians -- goes further: it is a dimension that must not be eradicated.”
“The great door through which the prayer of a baptized person passes -- let us remind ourselves once again -- is Jesus Christ. For the Christian, meditation enters through the door of Jesus Christ. The practice of meditation also follows this path.”
He added: “And the Christian, when he or she prays, does not aspire to full self-transparency, does not seek the deepest center of the ego. This is legitimate, but the Christian seeks something else. The prayer of the Christian is first of all an encounter with the Other, with a capital ‘O’: the transcendent encounter with God.”
The Pope told Catholic faithfuls not to rely on one form of meditative prayer, saying “the method is a road, not a goal.”
“The methods of meditation are paths to travel to arrive at the encounter with Jesus, but if you stop on the road, and just look at the path, you will never find Jesus,” he said.
“You will make a ‘god’ out of the path. The ‘god’ is not waiting for you there, it is Jesus who awaits you. And the path is there to take you to Jesus.”