If we want to hear something we must prepare ourselves to perceive by being still. If we ourselves are talking, or if our own thoughts, wishes and concerns are speaking within us, the noise they make will render us unable to hear. Hence directions for meditating always begin by requiring us to create inner stillness and emptiness as a means of making room for what is to be received. Mention is made of “turning off”, of “concentrating” the scattered consciousness, of entering upon the “mysterious path inward” and so forth. It would, however, be reasonable to doubt that such efforts, in their mere negativity, already belong to that positive readiness to listen that distinguishes Christian meditation from other kinds in which this readiness is superfluous because no Word comes from God.
Everything about Jesus is Word. This includes his silence before human tribunals, his being scourged and spat upon. Above all, his death after that great, inarticulate cry followed by the icy muteness of the corpse. No Word of God is more eloquent than this extreme condition of his mortal being. For if we did not have this Word and this self-expression on God’s part, we would not know that in the midst of all gloom “God is love”, a statement that no other religion in the world has dared to make. Nothing more than this statement is needed to prove that he is present. “He who has seen it gives witness to it, and his witness is true. He knows that he is reporting the truth, so that you too may believe” (Jn 19:35). What is narrated about the risen Christ over and beyond this is still more transparent in regard to God—paradaisal is too weak a word for it. Precisely for this reason, there is nothing in the Gospel more tenderly human than the conversation with Magdalen at the tomb and with the disciples in the Cenacle; the loving reproof of Thomas and the granting of his request; the scene on the way to Emmaus; the gesture of blessing at the Ascension. This reaches even to his glorious apparition to Paul, to whom Jesus repeatedly appears at very difficult moments to console and strengthen him (Acts 18:9-10; 23:11; 27:24). Even in the transfiguration, everything remains corporeal and concrete; in the world of redemption nothing pertaining to the world of creation is disowned.
Hence, basically, Christian meditation can be nothing but loving, reflective, obedient contemplation of him who is God’s self-expression. He is the very explanation of God and his teaching to us. “Anyone who goes beyond this does not possess God, but anyone who remains within this teaching possesses the Father as well as the Son” (2 Jn 9). This “remaining” means believing, and this faith is granted eyes to look through the man Jesus and see the divine: “Anyone who [really] sees me sees the Father” (Jn 14:9). In Christian meditation we are enabled to perceive the state and attitude of God not only in Jesus’ words but also in all his states and acts. When Jesus is angry (as Mark frequently mentions), when he brandishes the whip, we perceive how and why Yahweh, the jealous God, is angry. When he weeps over Jerusalem, which “was not willing”, he reveals the sorrows of the Lord of the Covenant on account of his love that was squandered in vain. When he lets himself be asked for something—by his Mother in Cana, by the Roman centurion in Capernaum and by the Gentile woman in Syria—and thereby “persuaded”, he shows how persevering prayer ultimately wrenches the desired favor from God’s heart (Lk 18:1-7). When he does not hesitate to leave the two beloved women in Bethany without an answer and apparently in the lurch, he demonstrates in advance that on the Gross he will feel forsaken by his Father, although he knew beforehand that “the hour is already here in which you will leave me alone. . . . But I am not alone, for the Father is with me” (Jn 16:32; cf. 8:29). When from the viewpoint of this world it would seem that God abandons us, even and precisely then he does not.
It is not we who force a knowledge of the Absolute for ourselves by means of techniques under our control. Of his own accord God freely reveals himself, explains himself in his Son and gives us a Word that satisfies our hungering soul. We learn that man has been created in God’s image and likeness (Gen 1: 27) so that God can one day place in his creature the perfect image (2 Cor 4: 4; Col 1: 15) and complete likeness (Heb 1: 3) of the Invisible One. The man Jesus Christ is not subsequently raised to being this image of God; from the very beginning he was aware of being such. His “but I tell you” surpasses Moses’ authority and can only be the “I” of Yahweh himself and of his Word. “Before Abraham was, I am” (Jn 8: 58). This is the intolerable scandal of a people accustomed to prophets. They try to kill Jesus “because he called God his Father and thus made himself equal to God” (Jn 5: 18). They want to stone him “for blasphemy, because you who are human make yourself God” (Jn 10: 33).
In the whole history of religion Jesus’ claim is without parallel. He demands to be loved absolutely, in preference to any mutual human love, no matter how sacred, and even in preference to any well-ordered love of self (Lk 12:26) …According to Jesus’ demand,, then, the condition for mutual love, true Covenant love, between God and man is love for him, the God-Man and perfect embodiment of the Covenant. He is the twofold channel—of God to us and of us to God. the condition for mutual love, true Covenant love, between God and man is love for him, the God-Man and perfect embodiment of the Covenant. He is the twofold channel—of God to us and of us to God.
The dimensions of Christian meditation develop from God’s having completed his self-revelation in two directions: God speaks out of his own depths and, speaking as a man, he discloses at the same time the depths of man. Christian meditation can begin only where God reveals himself as a man and, consequently, where this man reveals God to his very depths. Hence this point of departure may not be bypassed. And this meditation can take place only where the revealing man, God’s Son, Jesus Christ, reveals God as his Father: in the Holy Spirit of God, whom he truly communicates to us so that in this Spirit given to us we may join in probing God’s depths, which only God’s Spirit probes -“But we have received the Spirit who is from God so that we may realize what God has given us” (1 Cor 2:12).
Consequently, Christian meditation is entirely trinitarian and at the same time entirely human. In order to find God, no one need reject being human personally or socially, but in order to find God all must see the world and themselves in the Holy Spirit as they are in God’s sight.