Wednesday of the Seventh Week of Ordinary Time
Our topic today is the second stage of Guigo II’s Scale of the Cloister, Meditation. As we mentioned yesterday, the first stage, reading, refers in a sense to the source we choose in seeking spiritual wisdom, or what Guigo calls “the blessed life.” The Christian lives by the conviction that the fullness of truth and wisdom is found in Jesus Christ, and thus Sacred Scripture is the true foundation of prayer. “Pick up and read” St. Augustine was told in a vision. So the Christian picks up the Scripture to find that which satisfies the heart.
But as soon as we pick up Sacred Scripture we are presented with the dilemma of understanding what exactly it is trying to say. Here is where meditation enters into prayer. Meditation is a “working of the mind” in arriving at a deeper understanding of God’s communication in Sacred Scripture. Guigo compares the process to grape. The words of scripture are like grapes. Take, for instance, “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.” What does it mean to be “pure of heart.” The very term is like a grape that must be chewed upon or put in the winepress in order to offer its sweetness and refreshment. Likewise, the mind must chew upon the words, comparing them to other passages, applying them to one’s relevant experiences, judging their meaning according to the light one possesses.
Anyone who has taken the time to meditate upon Sacred Scripture slowly and over a long enough time realizes that he or she has found a great treasure. Abiding within those pages are the great promises that God makes to those who love Him. In light of these great promises of God’s friendship, we are led forward to the next stage of prayer.