474 • Part IV. Prayer: The Faith Prayed
and desire” (CCC, no. 2708). It is meant to deepen our faith in Christ, to
convert our hearts, and to strengthen us to do God’s will.
“There are as many and varied methods of meditation as there are
spiritual masters” (CCC, no. 2707). Most prominent among these are
of St. Benedict, the radical simplicity of Franciscan
spirituality, and the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. These spiritualities
also include guidance for contemplation.
“Contemplative prayer . . . is a gaze of faith fixed on Jesus, an attentive-
ness to the Word of God, a silent love” (CCC, no. 2724). Like all prayer,
this form requires a regular time each day. When one gives God time for
prayer, he will give time for one’s other responsibilities.
Contemplative prayer is a gift to which we dispose ourselves by
resting attentively before Christ. It involves hearing and obeying God’s
Word. It is a time of silent listening and love.
is a reflective reading of Scripture leading to medita-
tion on specific passages. This is a centuries-old practice of prayer
which relies on the guidance of the Holy Spirit within the heart
as the person praying reads a Scripture passage and pauses to
seek out the deeper meaning that God wants to convey through
“It is especially necessary that listening to the word of God should
become a life-giving encounter in the ancient and ever valid tradi-
, which draws from the biblical text the living
word, which questions, directs, and shapes our lives” (NMI, no. 39).