Meditation on Divine Scripture
Words from Matta El Meskeen Meditation fills our hearts with God “Meditation is the key to all graces. It makes him who practices it biblical in every thought, word, and feeling. He also becomes advanced in every gift and full of divine understanding. When he opens his mouth, the words of the Bible flow spontaneously from his lips without embellishments. Divine thoughts proceed from his mouth in amazing succession. They are like waves of light that submerge the hearer’s mind in the light of divine knowledge. They stir his heart and set aflame his emotions” (43). What is Meditation? “The word meditation in its Hebrew origin is hagīg, and in its Greek is meléte. The verb meletáw, which indicates studying and delving deep into meanings, together with mental and inner exercise…In patristic tradition, the usage of the word meditation was confined to the way in which the mind and heart were diligently handed over to the word of God…From this, the word meditation became particularly associated with Bible reading. Its usage came to be confined to studying the word of God with an inner depth. In this way, the soul may be imbued with the word of God and the spirit stimulated by it” (44). Relishing the Scriptures Slowly and Deliberately “The first degree of meditation begins with reading the words slowly, relishing them, and repeating them in an audible voice. Reading, to the fathers, always meant doing so in an audible voice and was called reiteration. The word of God is reiterated in an audible voice and relished in our inner consciousness. IN this manner, it can find rest in our innermost recesses. Reiteration here is like rumination. After a while the words actually become one’s own words…According to the prophet David, ‘I have laid up thy word in my heart’ (Ps 119.11). Man then withdraws himself into God’s word as if into a strong room inaccessible to thieves” (44). Enhance Audible Reading with Inner Reiteration “The meaning of meditation is not restricted to the manner of profound audible reading as such. It also extends to include the sense of reiterating that reading silently and inwardly more than once. This is carried on until the heart is ablaze with divine fire. Such a sense appears most strikingly in the prophet David’s words in Psalm 39: “And as I meditated, the fire burned [within me].” …Merely meditating on the word of God in quietude and slowness for several times will surely end up with inflaming one’s heart” (45). Meditation Gives the Soul Wings “Meditating on the law of God keeps the heart warm and glowing with the fire of the divine word, for meditation intrinsically implies a continual delving into the spirit of the Bible…“Continual meditation on the living word of God inevitably fills the heart and mind with sacred thoughts and images. These later become the raw material from which contemplation forms its airy wings. By these wings, it soars up in the heaven of spirit” (46). How to Learn to Meditate – Discovering Freedom from Sloth “[There is a need for] psychological effort and mental concentration. Such effort and concentration is required that the soul may be released from its impasse. The mind likewise should relinquish its preoccupation with outward affairs to enter upon a sober spiritual reading, enabling man to reach to a state of prayer. Here, the inner recesses of man must act. The conscience must stand alert to counteract freely all the psychological and mental preoccupations that have brought the worshipper to an impasse…Man’s will has to remain active, patience, and in anticipation until divine power descends upon it and spiritual warmth flows into it. It is then that man is launched inwardly and begins his prayer and meditation with all joy” (49).