Prayer is important, so critical to the believer's daily regimen that there are books out there to guide him/her through the process if need be. Meditation is one of the most misinterpreted and under utilized form of prayer. Probably due to the busyness of daily life, it would bring such peace in the same amount of time one heads to the neighborhood Starbucks for a tall, non-fat, decaf, latte. In this book review for the Catholic Company, I hope to dispell some of the myths of meditation and open up some minds to this awesome prayer.
In the book, A Guide to Christian Meditation, Fr. John Bartunek, LC talks us through just what meditation looks like. Filled with examples and descriptive mental visuals, he makes meditation seem so much easier than I ever thought.
Fr. Bartunek, describes the 4-step process of meditation, concentrate, consider, converse, and commit in detail allowing the reader to "see" how each step leads to a better experience in our conversation with God. He explains that distractions happen and that we must fight sloth (making excuses why we don't have time to spend time with our Lord, or we are too tired, there is something more important that needs to be tended to, etc.) It's just like exercise, you really do not want to get out and walk, but once you are out there, it feels so good! Prayer time and sloth is like that.
Distractions are abundant in my prayer life, Fr. Bartunek, explains that he has them as well, but that when they happen, up until the realization the distraction, it not his responsibility. At the point of realization of the distraction, he has a choice to keep thinking of the distraction, get distracted by the distraction, or calmly steer back to the meditation. He explains that the distraction can serve a purpose of fighting off the devils intervention and steering us closer to God using the distraction as an instrument of God's grace.
In the back of this small, conveniently-sized book, Fr. includes many prayers from the liturgy, common Catholic prayers for concluding and preparatory use during meditation. It is nice to have these handy if you are carrying the guide in your purse or in your car. I know that this is a book that will be a reference for quite some time until I get the hang of meditation, a prayer that I have been wanting to incorporate in my daily life for a long time.
If you are struggling with your prayer life, this guide will be a great blessing to you and your Christian journey to grow closer to our Lord.