If you’re into science fiction, you will love contemplative prayer.
Not because prayer is fiction. It’s not. It’s your best opportunity to experience what’s really real.
(Remember, you’re living in a copy and shadow, not the real reality.)
Science fiction gives the reader a chance to explore places they’ve never conceived of and envision sights they’ve never imagined. It expands your mind and helps you think in new ways.
That’s how science fiction is like contemplative prayer.
Prayer is like a ladder – we climb it to get closer to God, to whisper in his ear, to peek over the wall into the real world – Heaven.
Do you pray by rote? Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be?
Great. You’re on the bottom rung of the ladder, off the ground, reaching toward Daddy.
Do you pray by reading the Bible and thinking carefully about the words?
Fantastic! You’re participating in a millenia-old tradition of Lectio Divina. You’ll be zooming over the wall in no time.
Do you pray by sitting in God’s presence, fixing your gaze and lifting your spiritual arms to Him, and letting Him lift you up like a Father sweeping a child into his arms?
If so, the view is brilliant, and earthly science fiction will never satisfy you again.
If you’ve prayed like that – if God has picked you up for a better view – you know you’ve passed your moments in the very best way possible on this side of the wall. You feel suspended, time doesn’t apply, and it passes indiscriminately while God holds you.
Healing your sin-wounded heart.
You come away feeling like your roots reach down through a vast expanse of space and time. You feel like you’re a part of the eternal. Like your legs go down to the core of the earth and your hands can stretch through space and out the other side into Heaven.
You see beautiful things. Any you’re happy. And there is peace.
No wonder contemplative monks and nuns can live in poverty and visually unstimulating environments their whole lives. Who cares about your physical surroundings when God grants you such Views? Who cares about fashion and gourmet foods when you get to see new colors and eat Life itself?
You come away from this prayer inclined to goodness. Able to love in impossible circumstances. Prayer saves civilization and enhances humanity.
Which really torques our enemy.
Especially when we dispose ourselves to be picked up and carried in God’s arms like that.
So the sore loser makes an opposite.
These opposite distract us and draw us away from God.
Like negative numbers, opposite their positive numbers.
Trying to neutralize God’s goodness in mankind.
Think blessings vs. curses. Mass vs. a black mass. Birth vs. contraception and abortion.
Contemplative prayer vs. What?
I’ll give you some hints and see if you can figure it out.
For what non-prayer activity do we fix our gaze, and sit silently?
During what do we see new sights and distant places, some of them neutral or good, many abjectly evil, depraved, stripping us of our innocence?
In this activity, time is suspended, but afterward, you feel crabby and short-tempered. You’re inclined to vice.
Too much of this is associated with neglect, abuse, drug culture, ignorance, brainwashing, indolence. It does make you forget your surroundings, but leaves you inclined to act out the evil you have imbibed, tears at the traditional fabric of society, and perverts the innocence of humanity.
On a recent drive through a rural county, we passed a trailer home failing in its efforts to resist gravity. Rusty detritus filled the yard, creating an dark blight on the peaceful, bucolic countryside.
Against the backdrop of a magnificent setting sun, the glow of an LED screen flickered through the curtain-less window.