"O Beauty ever ancient, ever new.
Too late have I loved you.
I was outside and you were within me.
And I never found you.
Until I found you within myself."
St Augustine (350-430)
The General Directory for Catechesis tells us that “faith demands to be known, celebrated, lived and translated into prayer”. (#84) Indeed, people of faith are people of prayer. They not only pray to the God who is Other; they seek union with the God who is within them and within others.
That is why two central aspects of the spiritual formation found in Christian Meditation for Children are “training in prayer and introduction to Sacred Scripture”. (#178) Learning to pray means much more than learning the theory or doctrine of prayer. It means entering into the actual experience of praying.
We learn, as St Bernard says, “the soul is like an unopened parcel”. What greater way to help the young open it than to introduce them to this prayer of the heart.
As the children will learn, meditative prayer is a pilgrimage, or journey. Even more, it is a commitment, a way of life.
“Only the light of faith and meditation on the word of God can enable us to find everywhere and always the God ‘in whom we live and exist ’ (Acts 17:28); only thus can we seek his will in everything, see Christ in everyone, acquaintance or stranger, [and] make sound judgments.”
Vatican II, “The Laity”, #4
In our efforts to pray, it is important not to get caught up in measuring our progress along the way. Instead we should be content, believing that we are on the way and that Christ walks with us. We make progress in prayer in God’s time, not according to our own timetable.
A good introduction to meditation includes understanding that we do not need to "evaluate" our program - because it is a way of faith.
Eventually, by repeating the mantra and by being faithful to regular times of prayer, we will be led beyond thoughts and images to true silence. We will be able to open ourselves so that God may fill us. Gradually we are “led on to a more mature prayer - to meditation, contemplation, and union with God”. (Basic Teachings for Catholic Religious Education, p3)