Mary pondered all these things–do you?

posted in: Prayer and Virtue | 10
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and Saints by Pietro Novelli. Photo Credit: Wikipedia.
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and Saints by Pietro Novelli. Photo Credit: Wikipedia.

There are many types of devotion to Mary. Carmelites honor Mary by imitating her. In particular, they imitate her way of meditating on the great things that God has done.

Luke’s Gospel tells us twice that “Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart.” She was the first contemplative Christian.  What did she ponder? What God had done for her, and what He was doing in and through her Son.

Here are some concrete ways you can live a more contemplative life, following Mary’s example:

Pray with the Scriptures

Read a short passage from the Bible. Imagine yourself as part of it. Listen to what the Holy Spirit wants to teach you through the passage. Then talk to God about it. This is known as Christian meditation, and is one form of mental prayer. Make the Gospels your primary source for meditation. Center it on Christ, as Mary did.

Study the Bible

Use a good Catholic commentary or study Bible to help you dig deeper into Scripture. The Navarre Bible contains a good mix of background information, theology, and practical helps for your spiritual life.

Memorize Bible verses

You must repeat a verse over many times in order to memorize it. Let it sink deeply into your mind and heart. Then quote it to yourself or aloud at appropriate times.

Pray the Rosary

The Rosary provides a bridge between vocal prayer (memorized prayers meant to be said with others) and mental prayer (prayer from the heart). Meditate on the mysteries, rather than on the words of the prayers.

Discuss the Sunday homily at dinner

What did each family member, starting with the youngest, glean from it? Was there anything you didn’t understand? How can you implement the lesson your parish priest was teaching you?

Decorate your home with religious objects

Pictures and statues of God and the saints remind us of our priorities throughout the day.

At the end of each week, thank God for all His blessings

Setting a specific time for this—such as your prayer before bed on Saturday night—helps you form a habit of gratitude. It might also keep you from missing the subtle ways the Holy Spirit is working in your life.

Blog about what God has done for you

Writing about your experiences requires you to ponder them more deeply. It sharpens your focus. Write about your meditations. Post Scripture reflections. Tell the world how God has blessed or refined you. If you have a Catholic spirituality blog or specific post, put a link in the comments below.

Follow my blog

This is not just self-promotion. Since Contemplative Homeschool is all about living a contemplative life, I frequently post meditations, reflections, and tips for praying better. Like my Facebook page or follow me on Twitter to be notified when I post. Thanks!

Connie Rossini

This post is linked to the Catholic Bloggers’ Network Monthly Link-up Blitz.

10 Responses

  1. Ruth Ann Pilney (@RuthAnnPilney)

    Connie, on Sunday I’ll be facilitating a Day of Recollection for the Lay Carmelites in my community. Our topic is prayer. I will copy your beautiful post here and share it with our members. Some have Internet access, but several do not.

  2. Amanda

    This is beautiful post especially because it is inspiring my heart toward time spent with the Lord; any time I am reminded of the passage of Scripture that depicts Mary pondering in her heart, it causes me to yearn for increased time in meditation on the Lord & His Word even more!

    Almost 7 years ago now, the Lord put on someone’s heart to encourage me with reference to Mary’s heart, that I tend so much to ponder in this way as well. This forever endeared her to my heart as an example of deep devotion & a surrendered heart to God, & continues to help encourage me as I grow in intimacy with the Lord, pondering in my heart so much & so deeply more & more.

    I do not have a Catholic specific blog but the one I have does focus on helping people to grow in passionate relationship with the Lord:

    Thank you for your post today. It stirred the joy of the Lord in my heart. 🙂

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