One of the favorite past times of seminarians at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary is exploring the many unused buildings that populate the seminary grounds. I am not an expert in how these things work, but I think that some personalities are born explorers. When they come to a new place, they like to walk around and see as much of the people and places as possible. When such men come to seminary, they are fascinated by the old buildings and the interesting corridors that seem to call to them.
We are all called to have this kind of curiosity towards our spiritual life. A person who is not curious enough to explore the inner kingdom will never find the pearl of great price. Such a journey requires time, patience, and a consistent pattern of trial and error. Often, people are either too distracted by the pleasures and stresses of this world, or they are simply dulled by the disorders of sin. A heart must first have the humility to approach the Lord in confession. Only in a state of grace can a soul begin to sift through the subtle movements of the heart.
Once the heart has been opened by the workings of grace, they soul can then begin to practice meditation. Meditation is discursive in that it involves sifting through and listening to our physical sensations as well as our interior dialogue. Having received the word of God and rehearsed its dynamics in vocal prayer, we know internalize that word and allow it to mold and shape our filters. We look at ourselves, not simply in a kind of psychological introspection, but rather in the transfiguring light of the Gospel and in dialogue with Jesus Christ. This process of self-discovery is coupled with and grounded upon our discovery of God. Our identity and self-revelation finds its fulfillment and guidance in Divine Revelation.
As we practice meditation day in and day out, we gain mastery over our interior life. We become less reactive in the sense that our emotions and our prejudices no longer impede the freedom to which we are called. Instead of momentary impulses controlling our lives, the gentle rule of reason begins to take hold as we learn more about who we are. We discover our true identity which is the identity we received in Baptism, our vocation to holiness.
Today, let us make a habit of daily meditation. It may be as short as 20 minutes or as long as an hour. For some finding even that short of a time might prove difficult, but I am convinced that most people can find some time during their day (perhaps with the notable exception of parents with small children).