Using the Great Invocation
Meditation, prayer and affirmation are all used in voicing the Great Invocation. It can be done in two ways:
- Taking the whole of the Great Invocation as a subject for meditation.
- Pausing after each verse and meditating on it.
Through meditation on the Great Invocation, we try to reach its inner meaning and purpose; and, as we do this, we achieve an ever-deepening understanding. First the lower or thinking mind is active and gives us an intelligent grasp of its meaning; then the higher or abstract mind offers the possibility of intuitive understanding of its significance.
It is useful to add visualization to purely mental meditation. For example, we can think of the world situation as best we can and in terms of our major world interest. Then we see all people everywhere glowing with a dim light and, here and there, points of greater light where those of spiritual intention and loving hearts are working for their fellow human beings. Then we visualize, through the creative imagination, the vivid light of the Christ and His disciples streaming towards humanity and slowly merging with the light that is already present.
In the second phase of invocation—prayer—we have to invoke with the heart. Let us try to realize what this really means. It means that we invoke with all the feeling and aspiration that we can summon, and also with the Soul. We should remember that the heart is an expression of the Soul and therefore “heart” can be translated as “Soul”; the Soul is the heart of our being. Thus we use all the highest feelings we are capable of mustering in this “heartfelt” form of prayer.
The third phase is affirmation. This is an act of spiritual will; it is a spiritual affirmation of the dedicated personality. It has a quality of certainty, of assurance, and a note of triumph. Here the mind and mental energies are used. The will works from above downwards, while desire works from below upwards. Desire, when it is spiritual, is aspiration, working from below upwards—and this corresponds to the previous stage of prayer; but the use of the affirmative will is from above downwards. Its quality is dynamic.
Each of these phases can first be practiced separately. This means at one time saying the Invocation meditatively, trying to realize its deepest meaning, at another time saying it prayerfully, with our hearts, trying to realize its love content, its service to humanity and to the divine Plan; then using it as an affirmation, putting the whole will behind it. When we have trained ourselves to use it effectively in each of these ways, we should endeavor to combine the three attitudes at the same time.
There is an intermediate stage in which we can say the first verse meditatively, from the angle of knowledge-wisdom, for the light of mind invokes Light; then we say the second verse more with the heart, for love invokes the greater Love. The third verse, in which we invoke “the Center where the Will of God is known,” calls in the affirmation of the will. Thus we are prepared to voice the fourth climaxing verse, combining the three ways, with the full emphasis on the final words “on Earth.”
There is also an individual application of the Great Invocation: We can appeal for the descent and activity of spiritual energies within ourselves and in our sphere of influence because that which is invoked on behalf of humanity is also available in a personal sense. When using it thus, we regard the personality as a field for the circulation of light and love, of the Christ Life and the sacrificial will, as an area in which evil is frustrated and rendered futile. The personality then becomes an instrument of service for the work of the Christ in restoring the divine Plan on Earth.