Why Meditation and Contemplation are Essential for the Spiritual Life

Come to me all you who are burdened and heavy-laden and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden light. – Matthew 11:28-29

Meditation is becoming more and more popular, with different apps offering guided meditations and music to help you relax. But the purpose of meditation isn’t just to keep you calm. Meditation and contemplation are spiritual practices that can help you grow in your relationship with the Lord.

Fr. Peter Armenio recently stopped by The Inner Life™ to discuss contemplation and meditation, and why they are essential parts of the spiritual life.

On what spiritual meditation is, Fr. Armenio said it is to “Contemplate the word of Jesus, and the entire Word of God throughout the Bible, and to discern what God wants of us. It’s referring our own situation to the standards the word of God gives us.”

So how do we practice meditation? “Step number one is to try to penetrate those words of Jesus and petitioning the Holy Spirit,” said Fr. Armenio. “What is it saying? What is it saying to me? And how can I put it into practice?”

“Meditation is not mere Bible study, but I would almost associate it with getting a text message or an e-mail,” he continued.  “An e-mail or a text message always awaits us in the Scriptures. And within the broad parameters of the Church’s teaching, there is always a personal message for us.”

If meditation is like getting a text message or e-mail, Fr. Armenio said that “Contemplation, to put it in modern parlance, is really just chilling out with Jesus, the three persons of the Blessed Trinity, the Blessed Mother, the saints. Speaking heart to heart, spending time, resting, meditation as well, but with the idea of just spending time with a friend the way we would go out to lunch, go get coffee, make a phone call. This kind of devotion, even though it’s one of the best kept secrets, is crucial in becoming holy.”

“The beautiful thing about meditation and contemplation is that, yes we speak to the Lord, but even more importantly, we hear Him and listen to Him. Hence the tremendous importance of being familiar with the Gospels, and prayerfully reading the Gospels. It’s not a matter of getting through it, it’s a matter of digesting all the words of Our Lord.”

Listen to the full conversation below:

The Inner Life airs weekdays at noon Eastern/9:00 a.m. Pacific on Relevant Radio® and the Relevant Radio App.

Stephanie Foley serves as a Digital Media Producer at Relevant Radio®. She is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, where she studied journalism, and she has worked in Catholic radio for 12 years. Stephanie is a wife, a mother of three boys, and in her free time she enjoys reading, running, and really good coffee. You can find more of Stephanie’s writing at relevantradio.com and on the free Relevant Radio mobile app.