What does Peter of Alcántara have to say about the pain of meditation? Find out in today’s excerpt and reflection from Finding God Through Meditation.
After reading follows meditation, which is sometimes of such things as can be represented to our imagination: as the life and Passion of our Blessed Savior; the final judgment; hell; and the kingdom of heaven.
Sometimes of such things as are subject rather to the understanding than imagination: as the consideration of Almighty God’s benefits, his bounty, clemency and other perfections which are in God. These meditations are called, the one intellectual, the other imaginary. Both of which, in these exercises, are to be used after a different manner, as occasion requires.
When the meditation is imaginary, so that the thing meditated upon has never had any actual existence or being (in an exact sense), we must so frame and represent it to our imagination, as though we were present in the same place and saw with our eyes those things which were there done. This representation will make the consideration of these things more vivacious and cause a greater impression in our souls; for if our imagination can comprehend whole cities and countries, with less difficulty can it comprehend one mystery. This helps much to the recollection of the mind; this will retain the same busied in itself as a bee in a hive, where she works and disposes all things diligently.
But in these things a moderation must be used; for to run with an overly active imagination to Jerusalem, to frame to the imagination those things which are to be meditated there, does oftentimes hurt the head. Wherefore, it is good to abstain from immoderate imaginations, lest nature, oppressed with too violent apprehensions, becomes infirm and weak.