Catholic author teaches approaches to meditation as prayer


Photo by: Isaac Iniguez

“You are like clay (to God). … He molds you and fills you with His love,” said Catholic author Jeanette Flood in a talk on meditation Oct. 2 in the Gentile Gallery. 

During her three-part talk entitled “The Divine Mind Meld,” Flood, a Franciscan University of Steubenville alumna, outlined the process of prayerful meditation by describing what it is, why it is important and how it should be done.  

Flood began by stating how some forms of prayer, such as Bible study and spiritual reading, are not quite meditation. One can learn about God through reading, but “meditation is getting to know God,” said Flood. Meditation, she said, is vital to growing spiritually because it is so intimate with God. 

As for why people should meditate, Flood said that its ultimate goal is God’s blessing of the person’s prayers with contemplation. “Contemplation is when we’re lifted up into union with God … and your soul is flooded with joy. That’s not something you can just do on your own,” she said. 

Flood’s points about how to meditate revolved around finding what works best for the individual. One should experiment to discover what time and place for meditation allows for the best focus. Flood mentioned in particular how students at Franciscan have some of the best access to places for meditation on campus. 

Additional important tips for meditation included reflecting on a text through Lectio Divina, pondering over what was read and asking oneself what stood out. Flood also advised using the Ignatian method of Scripture reflection, which involves placing oneself in the perspective of a character in the Scripture passage and seeing the events through that character’s eyes.  

Separately, Flood added that when making a resolution for after meditation, it is best to be specific and not to simply say “I am going to be nicer.” 

A brief question-and-answer session followed the talk, leading to questions like whether prayer during work is a good habit and whether music is appropriate for meditative prayer. Flood stated that these two are healthy as long as they do not turn one’s focus away from personal, contemplative conversations with God. 

One of Flood’s two daughters at Franciscan, senior Alicia Flood, spoke highly of the talk: “I really liked it. I think that as someone who has been trying to meditate for many years, it’s really helpful to hear someone else’s experience but also get more tips.” 

The event was organized by Beloved First Truth household.