Meditation apps are booming: How Augustine’s “Confessions” may guide Christian meditation

A man prays with his head looking up, eyes closed, hands clasped in prayer
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It’s not shocking information that stress has been on the rise in the course of the COVID pandemic. 

Many have turned to meditation, and the quip “There’s an app for that” actually applies. Given this surge in nervousness, these meditation apps have seen booming progress. 

The Washington Post reports that at first of the lockdown final 12 months, “Downloads for ‘mindfulness’ apps hit 750,000 in the course of the week of March 29, a 25 % improve from the weekly common in January and February.” 

By the top of 2020, the meditation app Headspace had an estimated 65 million downloads, adopted intently by its competitor, Calm, with an estimated whole of 60 million downloads. 

More lately, Christian meditation apps like Abide have seen an identical improve in utilization, opening a wholly new class of apps, with every day Scriptures to replicate on and different devotionals to guide meditation. 

What is Christian meditation? Should I meditate as a Christian?

Dedication to common solitude and meditation is a wealthy a part of the Christian custom. 

Richard Foster gives a easy, approachable understanding of Christian meditation in Celebration of Discipline. He writes, “Christian meditation, very merely, is the flexibility to listen to God’s voice and obey his phrase. It is that straightforward.” 

In distinguishing it from Eastern meditation, he writes, “No, detachment shouldn’t be sufficient; we should go on to attachment. The detachment from the confusion throughout us is with a view to have a richer attachment to God.” 

As we take away ourselves from distractions, we are able to connect our souls to God and develop into attuned to his presence. For instance, Foster says we are able to meditate on his guarantees, on Scripture, or on the goodness of his creation. The Christian apply of meditation infuses our hustling, busy lives with much-needed stillness and quiet.

What St. Augustine knew about meditation

There are many nice assets for meditation, however St. Augustine gives distinctive perception. His celebrated Confessions shouldn’t be an bizarre autobiography. In truth, it’s arduous to categorize as a result of the guide contains a substantial amount of philosophizing and wealthy theology. 

As Augustine “confesses” the occasions of his life, he attributes his good deeds fully to God’s grace and, with sorrow, confesses his personal sins. For instance, he writes that “my good deeds are Your act and Your present, my in poor health deeds are my very own faults and Your punishments.”

Though St. Augustine meant Confessions to be printed and attain a large viewers, he regularly switched to second individual and addresses God as if he’s writing a personal, devotional prayer. He displays on his life with depth and vulnerability, at all times together with insights on sin nature and God’s sovereignty. 

This genuine examination of life is the place we are able to study one thing about meditation.

“I cherished my very own undoing”

Augustine describes his expertise as a sixteen-year-old stealing pears with a bunch of mates. This seemingly trite act struck him as a stark instance of his sin nature, since evidently his motivation for sinning was the wrongness itself. 

Though this intense condemnation of his personal sin may appear overly harsh, contemplating its relative insignificance, Augustine is weaving in his wealthy theology of sin nature, grace, and God’s sovereignty into this confession. 

He writes, “The malice of the act was base and I cherished it—that’s to say I cherished my very own undoing . . . my soul was wicked, and hurled itself down from safety in You into utter destruction, searching for no revenue from wickedness however solely to be depraved.”

Augustine goes to an extent in naming his personal sin that may make us uncomfortable. How can he discover the depths of his personal sin in a confession like this with out being crushed? 

His reply is an exquisite explication of the gospel: “What shall I render unto the Lord, that I can recall this stuff and but not be afraid! I shall love Thee, Lord, and shall give because of Thee and confess and confess Thy identify, as a result of Thou hast forgiven me such nice sins and evil deeds. I do know that it is just by Thy grace and mercy that Thou hast melted away the ice of my sins . . . I confess that Thou hast forgiven all.”

When confession turns into meditation

Let’s apply this precept from Augustine, this “sin-meets-grace cycle” we discover in Romans 3:9–26. Augustine applies these gospel truths to his life in an genuine approach worthy of reflection. 

God’s grace and immeasurable mercy saturate the Confessions and all of Augustine’s writings. It is obvious why: Augustine’s early years had been filled with debauchery and worldly pursuits, and the event for his repentance from these sins was a mystical expertise that pointed him to Romans 13:13–14. 

Why ought to we carry this level up within the context of meditation? 

Because generally once we sit in solitude, we really feel guilt as we replicate on our life’s course, or some particular sin of ours will “hang-out” us, dragging our consciousness of God out of the quiet, contemplative nature of meditation. 

When this occurs, we are able to spend time meditating on the riches of God’s grace. 

Or, conversely, we must purposefully replicate on our personal sinfulness. 

This apply of confessing to God on a regular basis issues, on a regular basis sins, in addition to main mess-ups in our lives, will be an act of meditation. 

Remember, on the heart of meditation is listening to God’s voice. We can ask, together with the Psalmist, for God to go looking and know our hearts and to disclose our sin (Psalm 139:23–24). 

If all of this appears like confession, it’s. 

We can make this an act of meditation, spending extra time within the reflection. 

So, we press into these sins, as deep as they are going to go (and this course of is painful). And, in silence, God may divulge to us hidden sin. 

Then, with full and delightful confidence, we are able to notice how tousled we are and but know God’s mercy totally meets this—head-on—in order that not a hint of sin is left.

This must result in communal confession, however the act of meditating on God’s love can even assist us to really feel the depths of God’s grace. We know that as deep as our sin goes, God’s grace runs deeper nonetheless. 

Reflect by yourself sin after which see God’s grace overwhelming that sin. Be saturated in that grace. This trains the center to see God and his grace at the same time as we acknowledge the load of sin. 

The weightier sin turns into as we meditate on it, the higher we acknowledge the load of God’s grace. 

And recounting that weight will trigger us to echo St. Augustine’s assertion: “I confess that Thou hast forgiven all” and expertise the peace that forgiveness provides.

Mark Legg is a senior in his undergraduate at Dallas Baptist University, learning philosophy and biblical research. He needs to pursue a PhD to finally develop into a professor and scholar in philosophy. He presently takes up management and mentoring roles at DBU and works as a content material intern for the Denison Forum.

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