I need help in understanding Catholic prayers

I’ve only been a Catholic for about a year, and I’m confused on some of the types of prayers I’ve heard about. It may just be a matte of semantics. I’m fluent in Pentacostal Protestant, but I’m not sure how various types of prayer translates into Catholic. For example, when Pentacostals talk about meditation, they mean pondering a scripture or a passage of scripture. Is this a form of prayer to Catholics, or is meditation something else, and if so, what is it? What is Contemplation, and how do you do it? Are extacies the same as a Pentacostal praying in tounges? When God speaks to me, are those locutions (if that’s the right word)? Does it happen to everyone, or to most people? It happens to me a lot. I don’t know why, unless it’s because I’m willing to listen, but it does. What about visions? I’ve had a couple, and I don’t know if there’s a responsibility to do something about them, like tell others, or if they’re just private things God has shown me. I’ve had these questions for a long time, but was afraid to ask anyone (even my Assemblies of God pastor) because I didn’t want it to seem like I was being spiritually proud or anything like that. I honestly don’t know why God does these things for me. He just does. Thanks for all your help and input!
Kris

[quote=krism]For example, when Pentacostals talk about meditation, they mean pondering a scripture or a passage of scripture. Is this a form of prayer to Catholics, or is meditation something else, and if so, what is it?
[/quote]

That would be one form of meditation. One could also meditate upon some mystery of the faith or writing which isn’t scriptural.

What is Contemplation, and how do you do it?

Comtemplation isn’t so much something that you do as something which might be spritually entered into. A kind of spiritual rest where God speaks to the heart. It’s a little hard to entirely explain. I would recommed the writings of Fr. Thomas Dubay if you really wanted to get into understanding it. But, for a simple example by way of analogy, it might be said that meditation is a more human pondering in the mind upon some matter whereas contemplation is more of just taking it all in and appreciating the beauty of something inherantly. Someone might look at the clouds and think about all the nuances of how they have formed. Or they might just sit back and be taken up by how wonderful it all is. The former would be a form of meditation; the latter contemplation (on a mere human level aside from the spirituality of it all). Of course, meditation could lead into contemplation.

Are extacies the same as a Pentacostal praying in tounges? When God speaks to me, are those locutions (if that’s the right word)?

Usually, these terms are used to describe the extraordinary supernatural. I suppose that, in some way, being taken up to speak in tongues or hearing God speak to you could be said to be such things. However, that is usually not how the terms are intended, typically reserved for something more.

Does it happen to everyone, or to most people? It happens to me a lot. I don’t know why, unless it’s because I’m willing to listen, but it does.

At the higher level, they are probably pretty rare. At the more common level, sure many people hear God talking to them.

What about visions? I’ve had a couple, and I don’t know if there’s a responsibility to do something about them, like tell others, or if they’re just private things God has shown me. I’ve had these questions for a long time, but was afraid to ask anyone (even my Assemblies of God pastor) because I didn’t want it to seem like I was being spiritually proud or anything like that. I honestly don’t know why God does these things for me. He just does. Thanks for all your help and input!
Kris

If it’s just a basic thing, then it may merely be a personal matter between you and God. I don’t suspect that Our Lady is appearing to you with some particular message for the world, for instance. Sometimes people will have dreams or seemingly supernatural experiences which are, if genuine, just for themselves. It would be a good idea to submit these concerns to a priest spiritual director who could help you discern the matters, though.

[quote=krism]I’ve only been a Catholic for about a year, and I’m confused on some of the types of prayers I’ve heard about. It may just be a matte of semantics. I’m fluent in Pentacostal Protestant, but I’m not sure how various types of prayer translates into Catholic. For example, when Pentacostals talk about meditation, they mean pondering a scripture or a passage of scripture. Is this a form of prayer to Catholics, or is meditation something else, and if so, what is it? What is Contemplation, and how do you do it? Are extacies the same as a Pentacostal praying in tounges? When God speaks to me, are those locutions (if that’s the right word)? Does it happen to everyone, or to most people? It happens to me a lot. I don’t know why, unless it’s because I’m willing to listen, but it does. What about visions? I’ve had a couple, and I don’t know if there’s a responsibility to do something about them, like tell others, or if they’re just private things God has shown me. I’ve had these questions for a long time, but was afraid to ask anyone (even my Assemblies of God pastor) because I didn’t want it to seem like I was being spiritually proud or anything like that. I honestly don’t know why God does these things for me. He just does. Thanks for all your help and input!
Kris
[/quote]

Hi Kris. Here is some links that might help explain terminolgies-
escrivaworks.org/
catholic-forum.com/saints/indexncd.htm
scborromeo.org/ccc.htm
And some classics on the spiritual life. The first link is one of these also.
ccel.org/i/ignatius/exercises/exercises.html
ecatholic2000.com/desales/idl.html
Take the time to explore these sites. And read. It’ll be well worth it.

Thanks so much for your replies. It helped a lot. I’ll be sure to check out those links you mentioned, John. And Chicago, you are quite right when you say the Blessed Mother isn’t appearing to me with messages for the world. I’d probably freak out if she did!:bigyikes: Did you ever notice how it seems the deeper you get and the more you grow and learn, the less you know?:banghead:

Again, thanks!
Kris

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.