Resources for Prayer and Meditation
The Rosary is a meditative style of prayer that focuses on requesting the intercession of Mary. Drawing its roots from the Gospels, the Rosary has a rich tradition of being prayed by some of the greatest saints in Catholic Church history, and is credited for countless miracles. There are four different sets of Mysteries, or key stories from the lives of Jesus and Mary, that people meditate on while they pray each of the decades of the Rosary. The prayer itself consists of five decades, each beginning with an Our Father, then ten Hail Marys, then ending with a Glory Be and the Fatima prayer. It takes most people about 20 minutes to pray. For more detailed information on how to pray the rosary, visit The Rosary Center.
Lectio Divina is a practice of spiritual reading and meditation on a scripture passage. It’s Latin for “divine reading”, and it’s meant to be a quiet form of prayer in which we can listen to anything God may be trying to tell us or move us toward. Lectio Divina consists of four parts: Lectio (Reading), Meditatio (Reflecting), Oratio (Responding), and Contemplatio (Resting). The particular Scripture passage that we choose is read in each of the four parts of Lectio Divina, and then at the end, we spend about ten minutes just being silent and having a quiet mind to allow God to speak to us. The whole process of Lectio Divina usually takes about 30 minutes. Check out this Beginners’ Guide to Lectio Divina.
Meditation is practiced both by people of many different faiths, and people who don’t belong to a faith at all. Meditation consists of practicing quieting the mind and letting go of worry, stress, anxiety, and the ups and downs of the daily grind of life, and opening one’s mind and heart to the silence and mysteries of the universe. Some people practice mediation in order to become more focused, or to reduce stress, and some people practice it as a form of prayer, imagining yourself walking through some certain story from the Bible, or just thinking about God or some aspect of God’s nature or creation. A person can devote as much or as little time to meditation as they choose, and short guided meditations can help people to work meditation into their active daily lives.
An Introduction to Meditation can be found here.
The Labyrinth is a simple walking meditation that has a tradition dating back almost 5000 years. It is a single, one-way path that guides a person in a circular switchback pattern from the outside edge to the center. The Labyrinth is not a maze, there are no wrong turns to take and no getting lost. The purpose is to quiet the mind and ground the body in the relaxing, calm motion of walking, and seek answers to whatever question we may have, or healing from a source of worry or anxiety. For more on the labyrinth, please visit Veriditas.
Daily Examen / Guided Reflection:
The Daily Examen is a prayerful reflection at the end of the day on how the day went and finding God’s presence in it. It’s part of St Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises, and a key part of Jesuit spirituality. The Daily Examen consists of five steps: Become aware of God’s presence, Review the day with gratitude, Pay attention to your emotions, Choose one feature of the day and pray from it, Look toward tomorrow. It’s a very useful way to remain aware of God’s presence in our lives day to day, and to reflect on ourselves, our successes and failures, in order to improve ourselves little by little. More on the Examen can be found here.
Ready to give it a try? Find a quiet space, and pray with this Evening Examen for Vincentians.
Eucharistic Adoration consists of spending time in prayer or meditation in front of the Blessed Sacrament. It’s an extension of the adoration of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament that takes place at Mass after the Consecration and before the congregation goes up for Communion. Many Catholics who practice Eucharistic Adoration go for an hour (this is a devotion called the Holy Hour), meditating on an idea or concept of their faith, praying for a specific intention, or pondering a question or dilemma they may have in their life. Find resources for Eucharistic Adoration and various examples of Holy Hour prayers here.
(Descriptive text provided by Moira Werner, NU '22)