QUEZON City, Feb. 14, 2013—Instead of motivational talks or even a wardrobe overhaul, contemplative prayer is the sure-fire cure to insecurity, says a Carmelite nun.
“Young people today are very insecure. If you do silent prayer, you will become [secure] little by little… You find very deep peace,” Sr. Mary Niere, OCD said in a talk to Couples for Christ leaders last February 10.
She talked about her own personal experiences of struggles with anxiety and the need for appreciation, which surfaced even more after entering the Carmelite convent in Zamboanga City at 18.
“I was bi-polar… I wanted to commit suicide, but I would go to contemplative prayer. That was the only thing that saved me,” Sr. Mary explained.
She explained how the more insecure a person is, the more “God can fill [the person] up.”
The prevailing drug problem among young people is a testament to the mounting insecurities of an entire generation, Sr. Mary explained.
“That is why they are taking drugs. When they go back to reality, they are lost,” she said.
Far from being complicated, conjuring up images of levitating nuns and monks, Christian contemplation can be done by anyone.
According to Sr. Mary, anyone with the time and the willingness to keep still can do contemplative prayer.
Easy steps to contemplation
Sr. Mary described a few steps for beginner contemplatives.
A person starts by sitting upright with the back straight.
With closed eyes, the person listens to sounds around him, without analyzing them.
He then focuses on his breathing.
As he breathes in and out, he repeats the word “Jesus” in his mind.
When he notices being distracted by thoughts about work or what he needs to do after praying, he just needs to go back to the word “Jesus”.
A beginner can do this initially for 5 minutes everyday, then 10 minutes, 30 minutes and so on, after a certain regularity of the prayer time is established.
It is at this time of quiet prayer that God addresses and “processes” a person’s deep-seated issues that even he may not be aware of, Sr. Mary said. [Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz]