3 Differences Between Catholic & Non-Catholic Meditation

April 6, 2022

I recently did a video / blog post on Catholic meditation or meditative prayer.  In that post, I talked about the differences between Catholic and non-Catholic meditation.  For me, three key differences stood out.  

I'm not sure that I articulated them clearly in the video, so I thought it might be helpful to summarize them here.

The Three Differences I've Noticed

1. Catholic meditation or meditative prayer is part of a larger, well defined structure.  

Meditative prayer is the second of the nine levels of prayer mentioned by St. Teresa of Avila and others.  These levels begin with vocal prayer and gradually progress towards more contemplative levels of prayer.  New Age, Eastern and other forms of popular meditation are less defined.  

This means that when you participate in popular meditations (whether individually, in a group or via a recording) you often don’t know what you’re getting – or where that particular meditation is leading you.  Whereas in Catholic meditation you absolutely do.

2. The object of Catholic meditation is God.  

Other kinds of meditations have very different objects. The object of eastern meditation is to experience nothingness.  The object of New Age meditations center on various, often unknown, entities or energies.  In many cases these unseen entities or energies are imaginary; in others they are spiritually dangerous. Many popular relaxation type meditations also include eastern or New Age content, which may be placed at end of the meditation when the listener is in an open (and vulnerable) state of mind.  Whether real or imaginary the objects of popular meditation don't offer any actual spiritual value.

Catholic meditation can help bring you closer to God.  Over time, it can lead to real progress in the spiritual life as you approach looking at things as God might.  Such progress can help us in practical ways as we overcome vices and develop virtue.  It's spiritual value is beyond estimation.

3.  Catholic meditation is an effective form of spiritual warfare.  

Because prayer raises your heart and mind to God, it creates an atmosphere that’s inhospitable to demons.  In fact, according to Catholic exorcist Fr. Chad Ripperger (who is my resource for much of the information shared in these posts) it’s possible for people to rid themselves of demonic obsession solely through Catholic meditation. 

Other forms of meditation however can, and sometimes do, have the opposite effect.  They may open doors that make us vulnerable to demonic influence or attack.

In Summary

Catholic mystics, like St. Teresa of Avila, have been utilizing mediation to get closer to God for hundreds of years.   In the way of other New Age modalities, popular meditation may mimic the deeper spiritual practices of the Catholic faith but but can't provide the same spiritual benefits and may even be spiritual unsafe.
To see my previous post and video on this topic, please click here.

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