GOSPEL MEDITATIONS FOR
THE CONTEMPLATION OF GOD:
Gospel Meditations are both biblically and theologically intense and complex—they are not for everyone. For those who are beginners in the Faith, these might be difficult to grasp. The discipline of examining Scripture and internalizing it requires some spiritual maturity. So then, if at first the going is rough, keep at it and grow in your understanding of both the Bible and theology, while we ask the Holy Spirit to do a “deep” work in us.
So I invite us all to meditate upon, reflect on, contemplate, and consider afresh the Word and Work of our Triune God. Each Gospel meditation will center on a passage of Scripture, and a method of reflection will be outlined each week. Perhaps early in the morning we may rise up and seek Him, as David did, and rejoice at the wonder and beauty of God our Savior.
GOSPEL MEDITATION 7 :
"Exhortation to Return"
12"Yet even now," declares the LORD, "return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; 13 and rend your hearts and not your garments."
1. Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions.
2. Be comfortably alert, still and at peace.
3. Say the Lord's Prayer.
4. Sing or chant the Jesus Prayer
5. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself.
6. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.
7. Reread it.
8. From memory, determine the central points.
9. Context of the passage: the prophet Joel warns of the consequences of sinful rebellion against God. He urges a return to the Lord, not with formalistic religion but true heartfelt repentance--which would involve fasting. Fasting, in Joel, meant a confession of sin and a plea for forgiveness.
10. Fasting may be seen as a time of focusing on prayer.
11. Fasting may be seen as a denial of the sinful pleasures of the flesh--e.g., gluttony.
12. Fasting can be accompanied with confession of sin and a declaration of rebellion against God.
13. Fasting can be a time of repenting before God--(sack cloth and ashes, rending garments--signs of repentance.
14. Fasting can be an expression of mourning--the loss of fellowship with God.
15. Fellowship with God is not only mindful and contemplative; it involves the whole person, mind, body, and spirit.
16. Have you ever fasted? Would you like to attempt it, perhaps for a meal only?
17. Being quiet now, seek God in the secret places.