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Meditation for kids: Jesus our healer

Healing of the Paralytic by Murillo
Healing of the Paralytic by Murillo
Healing of the Paralytic by Murillo. Photo Credit: Wikimedia.

I wrote this meditation for my boys last week, to end our unit on Jesus’s first healing miracles in the Gospels. Use it to supplement your own Bible study or the liturgy.

Read it aloud slowly with lots of pauses, so your children have time to imagine and think about the scene. Have them repeat the final prayer, sentence by sentence. When you have finished, ask them if they’d like to share what they imagined. I don’t require my boys to do this. For some people, meditative prayer is too intimate and personal to talk about. Define “Divine” before beginning, if necessary.

“Close your eyes and imagine you are a paralytic. You are lying on a mat. You cannot move your arms and legs. You have been this way for years. You would give anything to be able to get up and play! [Pause]

“Now imagine you see Jesus bending over you. His face is full of love and mercy. He gently touches your forehead and says, ‘Get up, take your mat, and walk.’ [Pause]

“Think about how you react (don’t say it aloud). What do you say and do? [Longer pause]

“Let us pray. Lord Jesus, thank you for your love and mercy. [They should repeat this part.] Thank you for doctors and medicine that heal me. I know you always hear my prayers when I ask for help. When I am sick or hurt, please make me well again, either through science or through a miracle. You are our Divine Doctor, and I praise you. Amen.”

Connie Rossini

Share with us: Have you tried meditating on Scripture with your kids? Can you recommend any good sources for meditations? If you tried this meditation with your kids, how did it go?

This is linked to Catholic Bloggers Network Monthly Roundup.

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What is contemplation? Part 2

Ordination of Frs. Michael Mary and Joseph Marie
Fr. Michael Mary and Fr. Joseph Marie, M. Carm., prostrate themselves during their ordination Mass.

There are three major categories of contemplation. The first, which I wrote about last week, is natural contemplation. The second is the contemplation practiced in non-Christian religions. The third is supernatural contemplation. It is this third type of contemplation that St. Teresa of Ávila, St. John of the Cross, and other Carmelites refer to when they use the word “contemplation.”

Christian contemplation versus eastern meditation

Non-Christian contemplation consists of an impersonal awareness. Zen Buddhists practice a meditation or contemplation that is agnostic. God does not come into play. Transcendental meditation, which comes from Hinduism, consists in losing one’s personality in an impersonal, all-encompassing deity. Both these varieties of contemplation are achieved by practitioners’ own actions, which lead to an altered state of consciousness.

Christian contemplation is completely different. It is a loving gaze at God who is Love. Supernatural in origin, it can’t be produced through techniques. Modern writers often use the modifier “infused” to indicate that God pours contemplation into the soul.

Meditating on Sacred Scripture (the Bible) can produce theological contemplation, sometimes called acquired contemplation (although I no longer use this term, since it was not  used by the doctors of the Church and it can confuse people; St. Teresa’s term is acquired recollection). Christian meditation teaches us to know and love Jesus, thus preparing us to open our hearts fully to God’s love. It helps us form the habit of quieting our souls before God, focusing on Him instead of ourselves. See an example of Christian meditation.

God initiates supernatural contemplation

When a soul dedicates herself to prayer, especially Christian meditation, as well as growth in virtue, she greatly pleases God. God then initiates–in His own time–a deeper love-communion with her. “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us…” (1 John 4:10). Love begins with God. God bestows His love upon the soul and lifts her up, so that she may also gaze upon Him in love. She communes with God beyond words, concepts, and images. This is a foretaste of Heaven, when we will see and love God as He is (see 1 John 3:2).

Complete union with God rarely comes all at once. Instead, there are stages of contemplation. St. Teresa explains these in Interior Castle. As the soul is cleansed from sin and improper attachments to created things, she opens herself more fully to God’s love. Prayer and virtue grow together. True (infused) contemplation produces a marked growth in virtue. Sins that seemed unconquerable before are  vanquished by grace.

Natural contemplation can prepare the soul for supernatural contemplation, but it cannot produce it. Nor can eastern religious techniques. Contemplation proper is the action of God. He desires to bestow it on every human being.

Connie Rossini

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Meditate on the Eucharist, our Thanksgiving

The Last Supper by Juan de Juanes. Courtesy of

The Eucharist is our thanksgiving, our thank offering to God.

Meditate on the Eucharist this Thanksgiving with the help of this great work of art.

  1. Consciously set aside all distractions. Quiet your mind. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide your meditation.
  2. Look at the painting of the Last Supper. Imagine yourself a part of the scene. What do you see and hear? How does it touch your mind and heart?
  3. Speak to God about your reaction. Thank Him for giving His life for you, and for sustaining you spiritually through the Eucharist. Adore Him. If you run out of things to say, return to your meditation, or, if you can, simply gaze at His portrait with love. Try to sustain a conversation with Him for fifteen minutes or more. This should take up the bulk of your prayer time.
  4. Make resolutions. How can you be more thankful in the future? How will you better prepare yourself to receive the Eucharist? Be specific.
  5. Thank God for your prayer time. Ask for His help to keep your resolutions. Ask Him to bring you back to prayer tomorrow.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Connie Rossini

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What is contemplation? Part I

ontemplation for Carmelites is the summit of the spiritual life on earth. It is (or should be) the goal of all Christians. It is what we prepare our kids for in our homeschool. But there is a lot of misunderstanding about what contemplation is. The word is used in so many senses, both in secular and religious circles. In this post, we’ll look at “natural contemplation”–something all humans can experience on their own. What is Contemplation? Part II will examine what “contemplation” means in various religions, especially the Carmelite understanding of supernatural contemplation.

The most common definition of “contemplate” is  “think about” or “meditate on.” In this sense, we can contemplate virtually anything. We’ll discuss meditation on Sacred Scripture in Part II. It is not what Carmelites generally mean by contemplation.

Pére Marie-Eugene, O.C.D., gives a great explanation of three types of natural contemplation in I want to See God.

First, there is aesthetic contemplation. This is when our senses experience beauty and we respond to it with emotion. The classic example is looking at a sunset. A deep communication goes on between the beautiful thing and our heart. We no longer meditate on the details of the object, but simply gaze with love. We soak it in. We feel we have touched something transcendent.

The second type of natural contemplation is intellectual. A philosopher or scientist who has spent years looking for a key idea or law, suddenly finds it. At that moment, he stops inquiring. His intellect is stilled. He delights in his discovery.

Thirdly, there is theological contemplation. This occurs when you are enraptured by a divine truth or a scene from the Gospels. The truth is so awesome, you just want to drown yourself in it. Again, the details fade. Something beyond them has moved your heart. You might experience this in your prayer time, but it is not yet supernatural.

All three of these types of natural contemplation should have a place in our homeschool.

There is a fourth type of natural contemplation, which we could call personal contemplation. A new mother, holding her infant for the first time, saves the counting of fingers and toes for later, being totally caught up in her love for her child. Or two lovers  gaze at each other in awe, saying nothing, even thinking nothing for that moment. Personal contemplation is especially akin to supernatural contemplation.

Share with us: What do you enjoy contemplating? How do you use natural contemplation in your homeschool?

Connie Rossini

This is linked to Catholic Bloggers Network Monthly Roundup.