Sunday, November 29, 2015

Week One of 30-Day Contemplation

Are you ready and excited to start our 30 days of contemplation?  Please comment all week to let everyone know how you're doing, to ask questions, or just to share your experience.  Here we go!

First, I should say that this 30-day exercise can be done in more than one way.  I am going to make it part of my meditation practice.  I will begin at 6 a.m. with five to ten minutes of prayer.  Then I will write any insights or relevant experiences from the previous 24 hours before I  read the new day's scripture verse.  Again, I'll write any thoughts that come as I read.  Then I will assume a meditation pose for about ten minutes.  Personally, I like to sit cross-legged on a cushion, but you can also sit upright on a chair.  I will focus on my breath; not on controlling it, but just on noticing it.  Once my mind is quiet, I will repeat the day's question in my mind with each breath.  I'll close the practice by recording any thoughts that come during that quiet, meditative time.

You could skip the meditation and breathing exercise, and simply take ten minutes of contemplative reading or writing.  Feel free to share in the comments the approach you are taking.

We are starting on Tuesday, December 1.  I will simply enumerate the days so you can catch up if you miss a day and not worry about figuring out what the date would have been.

Thank you to Dr. Pam Blackwell for this adapted version of St. Ignatius' month-long meditation.  You can find more on meditation from Dr. Blackwell in her book (pictured).

Before or on Day One:  Write in your journal what you think of Christ.  Be sure to date the entry.

Day One
Question:  How can I follow in His steps?
Read:  1 Peter 2: 9, 21
Ponder:  How can I follow in Jesus' steps today?  In all my decisions, I will ask, "What would Christ do?"  I will think of myself as a disciple of Jesus Christ.

Day Two
Question:  Am I seeking Christ's help?
Read:  Proverbs 3:5-6 and 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
Ponder:  Am I seeking the Lord's help in all I think and do?  Do I pray enough?  Do I pray with integrity?  How can He help me overcome my weaknesses?

Day Three
Question:  What do I need to do to be closer to Christ?
Read:  Isaiah 55: 6 and Hebrews 10:22
Ponder:  What do I need to give up to be closer to the Lord?  What can I do to 'remember' when I was with Him?  List Christ's personal characteristics.

Day Four
Question:  Do I really love Jesus Christ?
Read:  John 13:34-35 and John 14:15
Ponder:  Do I keep ALL the commandments, or am I guilty of 'selective' disobedience?  Have I put another god before Christ?

Day Five
Question:  Who am I really?
Read:  Psalms 8:5-6 and Isaiah 13:12
Ponder:  What can I do daily to stay in touch with my 'true' Self?  How can meditation where I clear my mind of all thoughts help me find myself?  Why does Christ care about me?  In what ways do I see His  hand in my life?

Day Six
Question:  How can the Holy Spirit help me to be more like Christ?
Read:  John 14:16-17, 21
Ponder:  Do I really desire the Holy Ghost to be my constant companion?  Do I listen and act when I hear the still, small voice?

Day Seven
Question:  Do I believe in the Atonement of Jesus Christ for my sins?
Read:  Luke 5:20-24 and Ephesians 4:32
Ponder:  Can I forgive myself for past mistakes today?  Can I forgive others who have done harm to me?  How do I get rid of guilt?

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