The panelists shared a variety of approaches that help bring them into union with God: eucharistic adoration, poetry, Scripture, yoga, dancing, drawing, and centering prayer. But all approaches ultimately involve a personal encounter of love, a contemplative experience with the Divine.
They described unique individual encounters with God as they responded to this question:
What is your favorite type of prayer? Why?
Judith Anne Zielinski, a Franciscan Sister of Sylvania, Ohio, is an award-winning television writer, producer and filmmaker. Formerly communications director for the Conference of Major Superiors of Men in Washington, D.C., she also worked for Family Theater Productions in Hollywood and now directs faith and values programming for NewGroup Media in South Bend, Indiana.
Against all odds and to my complete surprise, I think I am becoming a contemplative.
No, I am not levitating or subsisting only on the Eucharist. Nor am I wrapped in a cloud of divine intimacy for hours on end.
Instead, I live a hectic life as a television writer/producer, often on the phone or on the road for location shoots, doing interviews and hammering out scripts against pressing deadlines. I am far closer to Holly Hunter in "Broadcast News" than Teresa of Ávila.
So then: how a contemplative?
I am coming to understand contemplation not by its classical trappings, which I learned were for a "special few saints" of rarefied holiness, but as a sense of powerful divine intimacy; a growing surrender to that seduction; and a mindfulness that I am cherished, safe and chosen. I didn't earn this or work to achieve it. Instead, I believe it is a grace that is emerging as I discover the joy of a coherent universe where I can surrender my ego-control and let God be God.