Sunday, August 7, 2011

A sermon on Christian meditation from Father Ryan Erlenbush. August 7th

The two fundamental movements of prayer are meditation and supplication.
Christian meditation has nothing in common with Eastern prayer (e.g. "centering prayer" or "yoga").
All the saints are in heaven because they prayed. All the damned are in hell because they did not pray. Prayer is everything!

Father Ryan's Sunday Sermons: A sermon on Christian meditation from Father Ryan Erlenbush


Jeanne G. said...

Lovely sermon, Father. I have been wondering lately what "Christian meditation" is, and what makes it different from Eastern prayer. Now I know that this is something I'm already doing (a little bit) and need to cultivate more. Thank you!

Elizabeth D said...

Thank you for this homily.

A Discalced Carmelite priest I know practices "Vipassana", aka Theravada Buddhist insight meditation, and teaches it to others as "Christian Insight Meditation". From what I have seen, proponents of this argue that it although Vipassana is not prayer it is a neutral practice that may be an aid to Christian reflection. Another Discalced Carmelite priest I know practices Hindu kundalini meditation which some argue corresponds to St Teresa's seven mansions. I have a different opinion. A third Carmelite, friend of the two whom I mention that I know, writes in an essay that for many years he spends one of his two hours of mental prayer each day on Vipassana and the other praying the Jesus Prayer (centering prayer more or less). He writes that he's moved his practice of Lectio Divina to another time of day.

Pray that God will give us teachers of prayer who will teach us what is really good for growing toward union with God.

Father Ryan Erlenbush said...

Sad indeed, but we should remember what St. John Vianney said, "There are no bad priests, only priests for whom there is not enough prayer" (meaning true Christian prayer).

Regarding the common argument (esp. for yoga) that "I'm not using it as Hindu prayer, I'm using it as a relaxation technique."
To that we should reply: "Well, if an atheist - who didn't believe at all in Mary - prayed the Rosary every day (as a "relaxation technique", not as prayer), would you be surprised if after ten years he ended up converting to Christianity?"
Likewise: If a protestant wore a miraculous medal and carried a Rosary with him everywhere - not because he believed, but because he liked the look of the medal and the "comfort" that the Rosary brought him - would we be at all surprised if he began (little by little) to love our Lady?

Likewise, what do we expect to happen if a person practices Eastern prayer (perhaps "yoga"), even if only as a means of "relaxing"? Should we be at all surprised if, little by little (and almost imperceptibly at first), his Christian Faith becomes distorted and corrupted?

Well, as you say, we need to pray that the good Lord would enlighten the darkness of our broken world.
Peace and blessings to you! +

Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

Dear Fr. I am so proud to be a Catholic when I read Priests like you and Fr. Erlenbush.

The practical indifferentism of the past one-half century has dissolved much that was good, true, and beautiful in our Church but, more and more, little by little, I see the Holy Ghost is working to restore the Faith.

In the past month I have heard a Priest cite the old Catechism..Why did God make us? I have heard another Priest cite the daily examination of conscience.

And as an aside, I find it more than nettlesome that the Church has renamed this Ecclesiastical time of year, "Ordinary."

No. This is not Ordinary Time. This is the time of The Holy Ghost working in the Church and this time has been on-going since Pentecost.

It is not Ordinary when the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity is actualising the Eucharist and the Sacraments and leading the Church to an ever greater and deeper understanding of the Original Deposit of Faith.

The old Calendar has it correct. These are the Sundays after Pentecost - and Pentecost brings before our minds, who and what?

Sorry. I had to write this.

Father Ryan Erlenbush said...

Regarding the phrase "Ordinary Time", we should note that the official Latin wording is "Tempus per Annum" (Time through the Year) and was used also in the days before the Second Vatican Council.

While the English can be misleading, certainly the current Latin is well within our tradition.

Still, "I am not Spartacus", the substance of your comment is well in accord with the thought of Pope Benedict who has called the Novus Ordo a "banal fabrication" and has said that the new liturgical calendar came not from organic growth but from "the armchair strategy of academics" -- indeed, it would be difficult for a Catholic to be more critical of the Novus Ordo than Pope Benedict!

Anonymous said...

Buddist and Hindu meditations (see Elizabeth above)by Catholics, is jaw-dropping to me. I won't live long enough to read all the diamonds and pearls written by saints of the RCC, let alone comprehend all of Scripture. Why would these "religious" need to look anywhere else? What is wrong? Really? Too much time on their hands? Local nuns recently gave a program on peace thru the Baha'i faith. At least we could excuse Merton cause it was the 1960's. Aghast. Mind blowing. perri

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