“To meditate” is — in biblical spirituality — “to remember”. The Jewish Rabbis call it “hagah” that is “to murmur the mirabilia Dei and they do this as they read the Scriptures in a low voice so that they can hear what they are reading. Catholics inherited this in their practise of the Lectio Divina but is most obvious in the way the Liturgy of the Hours is celebrated. Here, where the psalms are not chanted, they are read with a murmur.
Below, Benedict XVI talks about this aspect of meditation — of remembering the Word of God. The “Word of God” must be understood first as an event, a happening. For us Catholics, it is first of all the Christ-event. Before it was proclaimed by the apostles, and then written down for posterity, it was a “happening”. Mary is exemplary in this because she “put all these things in her heart.”
I want to speak of only one small aspect of the life of prayer – which is life in contact with God – namely, meditation. And what is meditation? It means “remembering” all that God has done and not forgetting his many great benefits (cf. Ps 103:2b).
We often see only the negative things; we must also keep in mind all that is positive, the gifts that God has made us; we must be attentive to the positive signs that come from God and must remember them. Let us therefore speak of a type of prayer which in the Christian tradition is known as “mental prayer”. We are usually familiar with vocal prayer.
The heart and the mind must of course take part in this prayer. However we are speaking today of a meditation that does not consist of words but rather is a way of making contact with the heart of God in our mind. And here Mary is a very real model. Luke the Evangelist repeated several times that Mary, “kept all these things, pondering them in her heart” (2:19; cf. 2:51b). As a good custodian, she does not forget, she was attentive to all that the Lord told her and did for her, and she meditated, in other words she considered various things, pondering them in her heart.