Nº 39 - Home Meditation
Prayer is strength of the soul, Master Santiago says. Meditation is prayer. Prayer is orison. Pious readings, attending the needy, contemplation and religious services are orisons. Work with intentions placed on God is orison called Operative Meditation. One can pray the whole day, as the Apostle Paul recommended, even in offices and streets, if our soul pays attention. In this Reflection we shall explain the Operative home Meditation, characteristics and effects. It is dedicated to aged persons because they mainly need to arrange their mental habits and can work according to their strength. Perhaps they have left their outer labor duties and now have much leisure time to dealing with themselves, with their souls which so they did not care enough. They are like untidy, dirty, stinking houses, with dark corners never touched by a feather duster or broom; they need new painting, bathroom fittings repaired, and many other things. Blessings of the Masters never reach filthy things; a negligent soul must be clean within for the Masters’ visit. Let us take this analogy of a house and a human being –whose links are real as the Home Prayer explained.
Home prayer is inner strength to consecrating the house and its inhabitants by means of usual daily home chores, from neat floor cleaning to food prepared in the kitchen for family wellbeing in harmony and peace. Twenty-four hours a day, every event –with no breaks, even sleeping– is a spiritual tool to serving its inhabitants. Good meditation shall be the result of dishes duly washed, clothes rightly ironed, and shining floors. And one shall lose a chance if we are reluctant to work and want nothing more to do with filthy things and disorder. Spirit and joy in the environment is the mark of a qualified prayer, although we do not say the word God even once; hands, eyes, legs, the whole family pray by building the beautiful work of a consecrated home.
Not all conditions for home meditation are cleanness and order, and personal hygiene of its inhabitants; they become the frame of a picture, or the scenery in a theater, but are indispensable. Actors play their parts according to the plot of their own souls, individually or in groups. In the event of a proper scene design, the characters shall move and reveal physical and spiritual clarity.
Of course, home prayer shall not replace Meditation exercises recommended by the Teachings, but exalt and complement them by facilitating good results. If the house is in order and peace, our disposition for mental prayer will be easier, and our soul can freely start its inner search, as Saint John of the Cross says in his beautiful poem “Dark Night: “I went out unnoticed, when my house was already in peace”. So that Operative Meditation has permanent constructive effects there must be harmony between the two houses, the outer house made of walls, floors, roofs, doors and furniture, and the inner one, where thoughts, images and feelings move. Outer order contributes to inner peace.
But there are big houses and little houses, pompous forty-room residences, royal palaces, studios, country huts, tin slum quarters with no water and electric power. Here a destructive factor comes, which has nothing to do with prayer –money power. Stately residences require of numerous maintenance staff. Do servants pray for their masters and benefit them spiritually? No; prayer is personal, not transferable. The same occurs in slum quarters, favelas and callampas with least material resource for survival. In Rio de Janeiro, a wonderful city with a gorgeous vista to the sea, luxurious apartment buildings with large windows stand out mixed with favelas on the hills (morros), without streets and drinking water, with misery and drugs, and even with view to the sea. Any excess –particularly if economic– is harmful, when there is much money or there is nothing. In the subject of our reflection, a mean class family and a home covering the needs is the best. There are prayers of other types, which lay aside a hard or soft social situation, being open to whatever person with proper mind conditions and will-to-pray; but here we explain the most suitable prayer for a self-sustained family.
In a very eloquent Master Santiago’s Teaching that links together Home Meditation and reality of the soul, he says, “Many many years ago the Knight Great Master asked a saint, How does a soul realize the arrival to a true spiritual understanding? And this good man replied, When the house stays without support” (Book XXXVI, Embalse Lectures – July 6, 1957, Chapter 30).
A family living in a house and maintaining it in perfect conditions is like a man that takes care of his own soul by himself. The owner of a big house and many things, needs servants to maintaining them; a man with many attachments, illusions of separateness, eagerness for possessions, insolvable habits and fantasies needs money to pay servants, physicians, promises about a paradise, forgiveness imparted by priests, and so on, and people removing his spiritual filth. If he does not give up, then he is filthy again and has to apply to confession to getting forgiveness once and again. It is an endless story.
Later the same Teaching says, “The House has to be a spiritual Truth, self-established, without support. It is a simple doctrine making us shiver before the reality. One has to become steel, resistant, strong. These persons do not need consolation or forgiveness for their own redemption, because they redeem by themselves. Here is our truth –the House stays without support. If we achieve it, this house will never perish.”
This Operative House Meditation is simple, humble, within everybody’s reach, especially within aged persons’ reach, when they do not have to be on the work and have much leisure time. Homeworking contains great spiritual meaning; then a person not only works and prays for himself, but also for his dear ones that are with him and help him if need be. Those who feel to have performed their duties in life and that now, being retired, should be attended by the new generation, have arrived at the most wrong conclusion, they have learned nothing, because in a short while, the winner in all fights, that is, death shall be waiting for them implacably. One has to be ready to confront this most significant event in our life, which expresses the exact meaning of our experiences.
This Prayer is universal and prepares a being for good, and you achieve this good with House of the soul and the family House in peace.
Saint John of the Cross sings:
In the dark
of the night,
According to mystical Saint John’s sayings, in ecstasy the soul leaves the body for a while and then comes back; in death the soul leaves and does not come back any more. You need a long ascetic preparation for ecstasy. Also you should be prepared for death, but death comes at will and snatches the soul from life, in spite of tears. You must be ready for that moment, with peace, quietness and order in your house. Home Prayer is a good method for the final years, when one’s strength diminishes, and along with this, sickliness and weak mind comes up, and nobody watches over aged persons.
So, retired women, of whatever age, should come back and work, not in humiliating offices and workshops, but at home, by using their leisure time with practical chores –sweeping floors, washing dishes, cleaning crystal windows, paying attention to the garden, doing the shopping. Many of them do, and you may see them in banks or supermarkets, or going with their grandsons to school. Home chores are varied and enriching, and in the event they perform these chores, these persons shall not stay hours and hours in front of a TV set that deteriorates their minds with stupidities.
So that home chores become a true prayer you should offer them to God, requesting patience and good will to achieving them, in spite of troubles caused by old age and stiff hands. Love for a work is more significant that a perfect work. And as long as this person is cleaning the furniture, also the soul is gradually polished so that when the good death arrives, he/she may receive it with joy and peace.