Christian Meditation – Day of Silence | India
Christian Meditation – Day of Silence
The Day of Silence held on 22nd August 2010 was indeed a refreshing and a beautiful experience. It was held at a hospice for terminally ill cancer patients. The serene atmosphere and the ambience of the hospice itself provided an ideal setting. Death and Dying was the central theme of the meditation discourses. The silence of the 36 participants during the entire day had a quality all its own. Among the phrases used to describe their experience, were the following: “a welcome pause in the frenzy of daily routine”, “inspiring”, “the practice is simple”, “a day like this really helps to put life in perspective”. “it enables us to keep God at the forefront and centre of our lives.”
There was a good interaction and openness at question time. The chanting of prayer during the day from the divine office was integrated into the celebration of the Eucharist. Mary is our model for listening to the word of God. So it was most apt that Lectio Divina was done between the chanting of two decades of the Rosary.
The liturgical readings for the day pointed out we are asked to enter through the narrow gate. The fact that there are an increasing number of people willing to do so is a cause not so much for euphoria but serene joy.
WCCM Pilgrimage to Malaysia
With the most gracious help and guidance of Dr Patricia Por, National Coordinator, Malaysia , 23 pilgrims of the meditation community from Hong Kong led by Fr Sean Dwan,went to a week long pilgrimage from Aug 9-15 to Malaysia where Christian Meditation took root there. All were amazed and felt it a blessing to meditate at the Temple of the Universal Temple where Fr John Main used to meditate with the Swami Satyanada. Every single day in Penang, Ipoh, Malacca and Kuala Lumpur we received royal welcome from the local meditators -- we celebrated Mass, meditated, dined and had fellowship together. One of the most memorable and moving highlights of the pilgrimage was on Day 4 when we visited the Temple of the Universal Spirit and had chance to communicate with Mother Mangalam, the successor of the Hindu Guru Satyananda who first introduced Christian meditation to Fr John Main. Mother remembered vividly how Fr John made his way up to narrow steps leading to the temple.
Photo: At the closing Eucharist of the 2010 John Main Seminar, in Canterbury, led by James Alison, representatives from many of the countries in the community received a candle to take home to their national community. In his talks James spoke of the essential mysteries of the Christian faith. Following the theme of Creation, death and resurrection and Eucharist he powerfully refreshed and reinvigorated for many the familiar symbols and texts. He spoke of God moving into the human condition without displacing us - powerful but not creating rivalry - and of Jesus as radically occupying the place of shame in order to reverse our usual, flawed way of seeing things.
John Main 2011 | Timothy Radcliffe OP
University College Cork, Ireland
11-14 August 2011
What does it mean to be alive in Christ? This is a tough question in a society which is often secular and hostile. Timothy Radcliffe, former Master of the Dominican Order, will explore the roots of our identity and life as baptised people.
PRE-SEMINAR RETREAT 8-11 August 2011
led by Laurence Freeman OSB
at University College Cork, Ireland
For further information
Call 010 353 66 7137484
Contemplative prayer program silently growing in Townsville
TOWNSVILLE diocesan Catholic schools have added the three S's to the three R's when it comes to classroom learning.
Townsville Catholic Education (TCE) assistant director Ernie Christie, who was a presenter at Brisbane's recent Pray 2010 gathering, said Stillness, Silence and Simplicity were the foundations of the north Queensland diocese's program of meditation and contemplative prayer introduced into all 31 of its schools.
"We've systematically brought in contemplative prayer with all our schools in a whole system with remarkable success," Mr Christie said.
Read the complete article about the importance of Christian meditation in the schools of Townsville, Australia at:
WCCM Newsletter ONLINE News
Meditatio 2010 Poland - Katowice
"Seeking Holiness through Wholeness of the Body, Mind and Spirit"
WCCM Poland organized from the 1st till 3rd May 2010 Meditatio, our fifth national meditative retreat. During previous retreats we had the privilege of having Fr. Laurence Freeman as our guest speaker. This time we were visited by a teacher from India, Fr. Joe Pereira.
I had been wondering which element of the Christian meditation would be in the centre of Fr. Joe’s teaching. I anticipated that we would hear a lot about the consciousness of the body. It was not a secret that Fr. Joe was a yoga teacher and a student of Guruji BKS Iyengar as well.
But it would be a mistake to assume that Fr. Joe teachings were completely different from Fr. Laurence’s. The man standing in front of us was a dedicated practitioner of Christian meditation, an Indian catholic parish priest and the man who founded The Kripa Foundation. Fr. Joe was awarded with the highest national award in India for helping those who struggled with different kinds of addictions. His teaching about Christian meditation was rooted in the deep experience of the holistic approach to the whole human being. The integration of spirit, mind and body was the way to this holiness.
There is no shortage of Christian teachings talking about the spirit or even the mind, which processes and absorbs spiritual experiences, however, almost always there is some problem with the body. Although on one hand being the temple of Spirit it is, on the other hand, home to the different desires which “should” be subjugated.
We are so much lost between these two extremes approaches to our body that matters related to it have nearly disappeared from the positive religious teaching, just in case it might cause some confusion. The body on its own is not the most important, but thanks to its existence, our Spirit has a place to dwell in. “The body never tells lies, while your mind can do that” - Fr. Joe quite often repeated this sentence during the Meditatio, his talk to inmates in Wąsosz or during our body workshop in the Centre for Dialogue and Prayer in Oswiecim. “You can cheat yourself, but your body will never lie to you.” – he used to say.
During previous Meditatios with Fr. Laurence Freeman we learnt about the roots of Christian meditation, the essentials of John Main`s teaching and the meaning of the mantra. Father Laurence taught us about the importance of reciting it in our hearts, for developing the discipline of fidelity to God and finally the poverty of spirit.
Meeting with Fr. Joe was an essential complementary addition to this teaching. Many times, repeatedly in fact, I have heard that we must learn to include our body in meditation. Unfortunately, just sitting on the meditation cushion or stool does not mean that you automatically do just that. If we want to involve our whole being into meditation we have to learn how to communicate with our own body.
No one can do your meditation for you and equally nobody can understand your body for you. Thanks to Fr. Joe we could realize that the body is really a component of our prayer and as the element of our human condition makes our prayer unique, because every body is unique.
The program of Fr. Joe’s visit in Poland was very intense. After the Meditatio program we drove 100 km north to Czestochowa. In the evening we visited the renowned Sanctuary at Jasna Gora with its miraculous painting of Our Lady (Black Madonna). Next day in a penitentiary institution in Wasosz, located about 30 km away from Czestochowa, a group of about 100 inmates watched the Kripa documentary and listened to Fr. Joe`s talk. After that Fr. Joe led a 20 minute meditation for those prisoners who attend our weekly meditation group.
Next stop was Oswiecim, the Centre for Dialogue and Prayer, where Fr. Joe conducted a three days’ body workshop. At the end of our workshop we visited former the concentration camps in Auschwitz and Birkenau. We ended this short but busy trip to Poland by Fr. Joe in Krakow, the city of churches.
“It was a good pilgrimage,” summarized Fr. Joe as we were seeing him off at the airport. It really was. For all of us it was a time of grace, indeed.
WCCM Poland, Katowice
Last Advent we launched a project to hand-write the St. Luke Gospel among all the meditators of the meditation groups. A chapter or two was distributed to each group so that each member could fulfill this task. The manuscript sheets will be handed over to the National Coordinator at the Contemplative Eucharist in June and bound into a book. The aim is also to “bind” the community together.
Our Course on Christian Mystics has focused on St. Teresa of Lisieux, The Beguins, Hildegard von Bingen, Edith Stein, Clement of Alexandria and Daniel Faria (a Portuguese mystic of the XX century). We are delighted that a bishop will be the lecturer for the final conference. As usual, after the conference and dialogue with the public there is a 20 minute period for meditation.
A one-day retreat took place in Lisbon on March 14, oriented by a Jesuit priest (the same who presides over our Contemplative Eucharists). Twenty-eight members of the Community attended.
Our InterReligious Meetings for Meditation (IRMM) continue and since the beginning of this year there is an addition: after the silent period of meditation (30 min.) a previously appointed member of one of the religious traditions speaks on a theme for 10 min. We have accorded the theme Compassion, for the current year. The May meeting was hosted by the Hindu Community. The Community in Viseu has also launched a similar initiative and on the 6th of March an interreligious meeting for meditation took place at the Major Seminary. Among the 27 people who came from different cities there were Christians, Buddhists, Vedantas and Taoists. They listened to extracts from the New Testament, Astavakra Gita, Tao-te-king and Dhammapada.
Due to the experience of the IRMM we have acknowledged the need to know more about the other traditions and we have therefore co-organized a six-sessions course as an Introduction to the Great Religions from April to May. Religions which have been introduced were: Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islamism and Bahá’i Faith. The sessions lasted for one hour and a half and the room was always full (80 people).
An Introductory Seminar for Christian Meditation was held in the northern city of Braga. M. Salema and I went there last Saturday, 15th of May, to introduce Christian meditation to a group of 28 people, aged from 18 to 94. We were happy to realize that the audience took great interest on the presentation and that some of them were keen on the subject of meditation. There is no doubt that at least one meditation group will be formed in Braga!
Reflections by Fr. Laurence on the disruptions to events caused by the Volcano :
While the volcano eruption ended my longstanding plans to teach in Texas and lead a retreat in California, even ash clouds have silver linings and order comes out of chaos when we see it.
Within a few days our community in the US, the UK and Italy had pulled together and made a breakthrough in our use of technology. The videos were shot in London by a Colombian meditator staying with us for a year. They were processed and transmitted to the US by an IT meditator in Rome. Maria and Dan in California caught the ball and the showing of the videos worked well.
Feeling we were on a roll I suggested we try a live question and answer session on the last morning of the retreat. Amazingly and wonderfully it worked smoothly.
I was very moved to see and feel the atmosphere among the retreatants, to see old friends and meet new ones there. We learned many useful things through this event. Above all, I learned again what a wonderful, generous and resourceful community we are.
Meditation Podcasts @ iTunes
Search for “Christian Meditation” in the podcast section of iTunes to find more than a dozen series of podcasts by John Main, Laurence Freeman, Bede Griffiths, Peter Ng, Gerry Pierse, David Wood and others. Though the podcasts are offered without cost, we suggest users send a donation to the Community at http://www.friendsinmeditation.com/friendsprogramme.html
Review of The Shape of the Wave: Elizabeth Cardone
Meditators of all ages and levels of experience will appreciate the wisdom of Fr. Laurence’s The Shape of a Wave, a collection of captivating and enlightening talks given at Monte Oliveto.
While skillfully exploring the concept of the wave and how it can help us to better understand our own meditation and life experiences, Fr. Laurence guides his listeners through a side-by-side study of The Conferences of John Cassian and some of the Upanishads of the Hindu tradition. The desert monks of The Conferences seek to realize the Kingdom of Heaven; similarly, young Nachiketas of the Katha Upanishads searches for the meaning of life.
With a thoughtful and conversational style, complemented by a good measure of humor and spontaneity, Fr. Laurence investigates the topics of contemplation, purity of heart, love and attention, self-knowledge, and wisdom, as well as the ideas of attachment and distraction, the nature and types of thoughts, and the role of crisis in spiritual growth and maturity.
Review of Community of Love
John Main’s Community of Love is a luminous work of exquisite depth and intelligence. The book’s contents are delightful and even unexpected. Here, Fr. John teaches on a wide range of topics, but with a cohesive vision and an authority informed by the light of experience.
Topics covered include, but are not limited to: the role of the Church in the modern world, the function of prayer and meditation in education, reflections on the Rule of St. Benedict, and the importance of community, as well as thoughts on Mary and the nature of death and resurrection.
Throughout this book, we see John Main’s commitment to the truth and practice of meditation, coupled with a powerful love for his community and his church. Above all, John Main’s writing reveals his own rootedness in the redeeming and resurrected Christ. He tells us, “Seeking Christ means that we open our consciousness to his. We begin to see with his vision, to love with his heart, and to do so without counting the cost.”
This new edition of Community of Love, with fascinating new prefaces from Fr. Laurence, will be of great benefit to both beginning and more experienced meditators. New meditators will gain encouragement and see the broad context of faith and experience in which we meditate. Committed meditators will find strength and renewal in the knowledge that their mediation shapes all aspects of their lives.
Community of Love presents a marvelous distillation of John Main’s thought. This is John Main at his finest.
Elizabeth Cardone firstname.lastname@example.org
Father Laurence and the WCCM Community join our brothers and sisters in Thailand in praying that the violent civil unrest in their once peaceful country is resolved soon, and without further loss of life. We know that the meditation practice and the mantra will carry the Thai community through this difficult time, and we invite meditators to share their contemplative response to the situation. Please send comments for posting on the Peace & Justice pages to email@example.com.
As a follow-up to the Inter-Faith meeting organised in Geneva in November of 2009, the Swiss community will be organising another such meeting from December 3 in the late afternoon until December 4 at the end of the day. The conferences will take place at the Château de Bossey, close to Geneva and will be in French, without translation. The speakers will be Father Laurence Freeman, head of the World Community for Christian Meditation, Dr Faouzi Skali, Soufi and founder of the Fez Festival of Sacred Music and Rabbi Marc Guedj from Geneva. If you would like to be informed as soon as the programme is finalised, please send a mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org or to: email@example.com
Mumbai Meditators’ Two-Day Silent Retreat.
Days of Silence and a Two-day Silent Retreat are regular features in the calendar of events of the WCCM Mumbai meditation community. This year’s Silent Retreat, held at the Canossa Ashram in a suburb of the city afforded quiet time and space for mediators to prepare for Holy Week, held as it was on the Week-end prior to Passion Sunday. We were privileged to have two priest participants, one diocesan and the other belonging to the Salesian Congregation. The latter is Fr. Pius Palathingal sdb. He has done his Licentiate in Spiritual Theology from the Salesian University in Rome with “The Art of Christian Meditation based on the works of John Main” as its subject. He recently celebrated his Sacerdotal Silver Jubilee and on that occasion brought out a book on Christian Meditation. This was the time to re-connect with Fr. Laurence who wrote a presentation for his book. Fr. Pius shared with us his valuable insights into John Main’s teaching on prayer and this retreat has encouraged him to be part of spreading the practice of Christian Meditation in India, much to Fr. Laurence’s delight.
For many of the participants, it was a time to unwind and to reconnect with their centre. The morning walking meditation was a special experience. The time for Taize Prayer , Chanting the Morning, Evening and Night Prayer, a Way of the Cross presented as a Lectio Divina all served to enhance the quality of the 4 – 5 times of meditation each day. The presence of the Auxiliary Bishop who celebrated the Eucharist on Saturday was much appreciated. He spent the whole morning participating in the programme praying and meditating with us. Four married couples, a mother and her young son, two priests, a management professional and a host of regular meditators made this group quite unique in its character. This has been for all of us a time of grace and the experience of truly being community.
AUSTRALIA Greetings from Bundaberg!
Travelling with Fr Laurence Freeman for a week during the month of February, 2010, was one of the highlights of my life.
It was the occasion of “THE BISHOP’S INSERVICE DAYS” in the Diocese of Rockhampton. Our Bishop, Fr Brian Heenan, takes time out each year to visit different areas of the large diocese to spend a day with the staff of all Catholic schools, the catechists who teach religious education in State schools, adult educators, Centacare staff, Youth, members of religious congregations, Catholic parishioners, members of other Churches, and members of the local Christian meditation groups.
This year was special. Bishop Brian had invited Fr Laurence Freeman to be the Keynote Speaker on each day, as well as to present a workshop on Christian Meditation, as one of a variety of workshops available to participants each afternoon.
Following a prayer ritual which focussed on The Year of the Priest, a welcome from the Director of Catholic Education, Miss Leesa Jeffcoat, and an address from the Bishop, it was Fr Laurence’s turn to address the audience. Audiences varied in size according to the region, with approximately 1000 people in each of the Rockhampton and Mackay regions, 400 in each of Gladstone and Bundaberg, and 300 in the Emerald region, with people travelling from Barcaldine, Blackall, Clermont and Springsure. Because of distance, people in Longreach received a live broadcast of Fr Laurence’s address in Rockhampton.
The theme of each day was “Taking Time…”, and Fr Laurence encouraged his audiences to take time each day for prayer, especially Christian Meditation, so that prayer becomes grounded in our daily lives. He advocated the value of teaching Christian Meditation to children, and referred to the daily practice of meditation undertaken in many Catholic schools across Australia. Many principals and teachers left each day with the intention of introducing daily Christian meditation into their classrooms. The parables of Jesus, and His teaching on prayer, were brought to life by Fr Laurence as a sound basis for our Christian meditation.
One aspect of his presentation that has remained with me, was Fr. Laurence’s description of “The Catholic Mind” as “The Mind of Christ”. A mind which is all inclusive, open to all, without division or discrimination, where all are equal and loved by God, and no barriers are created. People in the audience, from many different walks of life, felt very much at home.
While the majority of participants had no prior knowledge of Fr Laurence, evaluation comments included:
. Fr. Laurence Freeman was inspiring;
. Meditation workshops were really interesting;
. Fr Laurence excellent!!
. Loved the meditation presentation;
. The practical experience of meditation was very worthwhile;
. Loved the guest speaker- what wonderful knowledge;
.Fr Laurence was inspiring, first with the Biblical introduction, and then with the actual meditation;
.Guest speaker was thought-provoking;
.A worthwhile experience to listen to Fr Laurence and to have time to practice the art of meditation.
Joe Mc Corley
JOHN MAIN: A SAINT FOR OUR TIMES
NEW REPRINT OF BOOK CLAIMS JOHN MAIN A SAINT FOR OUR TIMES
A recently published reprint of the book " All Saints: Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets and Witnesses for Our Time" has been published by Orbis Books. In the book author Robert Ellsberg claims John Main as a saint for December 30. John Main died December 30, 1982.
In a rich compendium of 590 pages, Ellsberg includes John Main along with 365 other saints, traditional and contemporary, canonized and un-canonized, in an updated calendar of daily saints whose lives speak to the meaning of holiness in our time.
Included along with John Main are such saints as St Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Thomas Merton, Mother Teresa, Dorothy Day, St Augustine, Simone Weil, Etty Hillesum, Archbishop Romero, Teresa of Lisieux, Thomas Aquinas, Joan of Arc, John Cassian, Hildegard of Bingen, Francis of Assisi, Catherine of Siena, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and 347 other profiles of saints at the margins as well as in the Christian tradition mainstream.
In a profile detailing his life on page 568 for December 30, Ellsberg calls John Main a "monk and master of Christian meditation", quotes from his talks and writings, and emphasizes John Main's approach to contemplative prayer that furthers dialogue with people of other faiths. After a visit between the Dalai Lama and John Main, Ellsberg quotes Main as saying, "We meditated together in absolute openness to love and to the Lord of love. We were not trying to convert one another. Our challenge as Christians is not to try to convert people around us to our way of belief but to love them, to be ourselves living incarnations of what we believe, to live what we believe, and to love what we believe".
Ellsberg points out that John Main was given very little time to develop his experimental monastery in Montreal. He says that Main suffered in his last illness, yet few apart from his dearest friends were aware of the seriousness of his condition. Until the end John Main continued to write and give conferences.
In his last major talk, says Ellsberg, John Main spoke at length on death and "the inner journey." He said, "The inner journey is a way of union. Firstly it unites us to ourselves. Then as our personal fulfillment is found beyond ourselves it unites us to others. And then as union with others opens up the heart of the mystery of love, it unites us with God, so that God may be all in all".
Reviewed by Paul Harris, Canada
Newsletter News Items | June 2010 Here you may read the NEWS items that are part of the June Newsletter. Be sure to use the link in the left-hand menu to visit the NEWSLETTER page to read Fr Laurence's latest letter and News.
Benedictine Monk speaks on Making the Most of Crisis
“A society of stress and anxiety, dragging a ball and chain around through the day” was how Benedictine monk Father Laurence Freeman OSB described some people’s experience of today’s world in his lecture to over 200 people gathered at The University of Notre Dame Australia’s Fremantle Campus on Tuesday 16 February.
Entitled "Making the Most of Crisis: How a Contemplative Mind Grows”, the lecture was focused on the importance of contemplation and role of meditation when dealing with crisis.
From Pauline Peters.... Dear National Coordinators, group leaders and friends,
Fr Laurence’s Tablet column this month is about a pilgrimage to the Skelligs. Reading the descriptions of this remote place of prayer and solitude where Irish monks built a monastic settlement in the 6th century you can almost imagine being inside one of the monastic beehive huts.
John Main spent part of his childhood at Ballinskelligs close to Skellig Michael. In the new edition of the book by Paul Harris, John Main: A Biography Paul has a chapter on The Influence of Ballinskelligs on John Main’s life. The booklet gives a fascinating insight into John Main’s life through letters, anecdotes, and reminiscences by family, friends and colleagues as well as a collection of photos. The booklet gives a new dimension to our understanding of the man, the monk, and his teaching. It is available from your National distributors or from Medio Media Tucson, www.mediomedia.org and the International Office firstname.lastname@example.org
At the recent John Main Seminar in Canterbury James Alison was a challenging and inspiring speaker and we look forward to hearing the cds of his talks. You’ll see a photo of the closing Eucharist and description of the Seminar on the web page and you can view a slide show of the Seminar here
Lina Lee Hong Kong Coordinator and Pat Por Malaysian coordinator have organized a pilgrimage this week for 22 meditators from H.K.They will visit a number of cities meeting the local meditators and meditating together at night. The highlight will be their visit to the Pure life Society to walk in the steps of Fr. John and to meditate at the Temple of the Universal Spirit where John Main met Swami Satyananda.
The 2011 John Main Seminar will be held in Cork at University College 11-14 August. The Seminar will be led by Timothy Radcliffe OP, former Master of the Dominican Order with the theme Alive in Christ What does it mean to be alive in Christ? This is a tough question in a society which is often secular and hostile. Timothy Radcliffe will explore the roots of our identity and life as baptised people. The University College established in 1845 on the bank of the river Lee is a beautiful setting for the Seminar and Saint Finbarr, the patron saint of Cork, is believed to have had his monastery and school of learning close by. The campus is noted for its beautiful wooded grounds and the Gothic style Quadrangle buildings.
The pre seminar retreat will be led by Fr Laurence 8-11 August 2011
For further information see here or email: email@example.com
MEDITATIO Weekend Retreat
Christian Meditation as an 11th Step Practice Nov 26th -28th Kairos centre London.
The title of the retreat is Addiction: the 9th demon and how meditation heals it.
Fr. Laurence will be giving the opening and closing talks. The focus of the weekend will be emotional sobriety through the practice of Christian Meditation. We will share the spiritual principles behind each step, "which if practiced as a way of life...will enable the sufferers to become happily and usefully whole." Enquiries firstname.lastname@example.org
Christian Meditation as an 11th Step Practice –
“We are a group of men and women from 12 step programs, following the teachings of John Main OSB and The World Community for Christian Meditation. We are not affiliated with, nor a replacement for, any 12 step program of recovery. Our mission is to share this ancient path of contemplative prayer as a way to practice the 11th Step. We are available to those seeking to deepen their faith and to support those already practicing Christian Meditation.”
Coming Home: Teaching Meditation to Children -Dec 7 Regents College, London
Speakers: Dr. Cathy Day, Director of Catholic Education Diocese of Townsville, Australia and Mr. Ernie Christie, Assistant Director of Religious Education
Dr Jonathan Campion, Consultant Psychiatrist
Laurence Freeman OSB, Director of The World Community for Christian Meditation
Supplementary workshops –
8 Dec – Killarney | 10 Dec – Belfast | 11 Dec – London | 13 Dec – Northampton |
14 Dec – Brentwood
Contact Briji Waterfield Tel: 07980 581351 E: email@example.com
Fr Laurence will be a key note speaker at the GREENBELT Festival in London Aug27-30 and with young meditators will lead a number of meditation sessions. The Festival attracts over 21,000 young people and families most camping out and enjoying a diverse programme of music,performances,spirituality,comedy, talks and discussion. It’s a wonderful opportunity to reach out to young people and introduce them to meditation and we hold the weekend in our hearts.
This week I received an email from our National contact Amir Jacob in Pakistan that a new group had begun there and we welcome Shahzad Lawrence and his group. We have many groups in our community in places of conflict and as we’re reminded on our Peace and Justice webpage ‘Meditation is a way of love and compassion that has not only individual but also global significance. Meditation is a practice that can bring peace, not only to individual meditators, but also to the whole world.’
Blessings of peace,
To follow the way of meditation we need others to travel with us. It is a pilgrimage. The essence of meditation is to be on the way. Pilgrims travel together in faith, supporting and encouraging one another as they go, as they approach at different speeds, and in different ways perhaps, a common goal. - John Main
Haiti Pilgrimage 2010
Here is reflection from George Browning from our trip in Dec 2009. We are planning another trip this year.
love&prayers - gene bebeau, us coordinator
I was fortunate to be one of eleven for the WCCM visit to Haiti in 2008. I was moved by the experience and planned to invite my daughters to see what I had seen if possible.
Only one of my daughters, Katy, was able to go to Haiti in December 2009 for the WCCM trip. There was no disappointment. All my hopes and dreams for a shared experience were realized.
Although we were few in numbers we set off on an ambitious schedule of talks by Michel Legault and Dr Pierre.
We visited students in seminaries, high schools, and a nursing school. A fishing village and the hospital at Fond de Blanc were high points. Holding the babys at Mother Theresa's Orphanage will stay in our hearts and minds.
My daughter's reaction to our generous hosts and leaders, the peace and humility of the Haitian people, the fun of a full schedule with wonderful companions, and the power of meditation, was wonderful to experience.
If you get a chance to make this trip don't miss it!
[Photo top: Pierre's group and Church members in Fond Des Blanc]
[Photo below] Talk at a School in Fond Des Blanc at the end of the school day. They had just finished taking tests.
We didn't have a place to sit so we did a short period of Yoga led by Dr Pierre and 4 minute standing meditation. The children were surprised at how energized they felt afterwards.
SUNDAY EXAMINER, HONG KONG `FEATURE'
http://sundayex.catholic.org.hk | November 8, 2009 | P.12
Look for attention in prayer not intention, priest counsels.
HONG KONG (SE): “Prayer is about attention, not intention,” Father Laurence Freeman said during a three-day visit to Hong Kong from September 12 to 14. Speaking at retreat days in St. Jude’s in North Point, St. John’s Anglican Cathedral and the University of Hong Kong, the English Benedictine priest said that Jesus was a great one for asking questions. “However, he seldom answered them,” he noted.
He pointed out that when Jesus was asked where he was staying, he simply answered, “Come and see.” He also asked his followers, “What are you looking for?” Father Freeman said, “That question reminds us of our fragilities, it is a challenge to look at the priorities in our lives. This is where we need to pay attention to Jesus.”
Father Freeman said that we need to pay attention to the questions that Jesus asks. “And the attention is extremely important,” he added, “as Jesus describes prayer as attention, not intention. It is an invitation to come and see.” He said that much of our prayer tends to be bargaining with God, trying to get him to change his mind on something. “Some people,” he said, “aim at changing God’s mind, asking him to intervene in human affairs and change some relationship with God. They try to get God’s attention or bargain with him, but in fact, God knows our real needs before they are put into words.”
In describing the importance of prayer, Father Freeman noted, “The way we pray is the way we live.” He used the image of a wheel to describe what he called centreing prayer, where the spokes are the many ways that we approach God, but the hub, or the centre, is the part which remains silent and still. “That is where we find the connection in our stillness to the centre of our lives.”
However, he also noted that the wheel will never move if does not touch the ground. In the same way our prayer must also touch the ground. “Prayer should be grounded in our daily life, the daily experience of ourselves.” However, he noted that because, as St. Paul says, “we do not know how to pray, we must allow the Spirit to pray within us.”
Father Freeman said that prayer must always be directed towards the centre. “As St. Paul said, ‘I live no longer, but Christ lives in me.’ And so we can say, ‘I pray no longer, but Christ prays in me’.”
He said that what he calls centreing prayer is born out of a lay spirituality, as it was conceptualised by a lay person, John Main.
Father Freeman harked back to his school days at a Benedictine college in England. “We had just broken one religion teacher,” he related, “and we got a tall, confident, at ease, natural man with a strong sense of humour, called Brother John, and we knew he was in charge.”
However, the wheel of life does go round, as Father Freeman described how he met him again in his second year at university.
Main was born in London in 1926, to Irish parents in Canterbury. Jesuit educated, he joined the Benedictines as a student for priesthood after World War II, but left to study law at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland.
As a lawyer, he joined the British Diplomatic Service in the 1950s, and was stationed in what was then known as Malaya, which was in a state of turmoil and civil war. “One day, he went to visit an Indian monk in Kuala Lumpur on official business. Immediately, he understood he was in the presence of a special man of profound integrity. They talked about prayer.”
Father Freeman said that Main told the monk how he prayed, reflecti
on, asking for forgiveness, making intercessions and, his daily Mass.
However, the monk then shared, “When I pray, I allow it to sink into the silence of the heart. We do this with the spirit, the creator of the universe, who dwells in the human heart in silence and is loving to all.”
The Indian monk advised him, “Just take a sacred word, a mantra, and repeat it continuously, letting go of thoughts and images. Main was fascinated.” Father Freeman added, “The use of repeated words is common in prayer. We should use them in our life journey so that we can interact with the journeys of Christ.”
Father Freeman told the members of his audience that their presence at his talk shows that prayer is important to them. He reminded them, “Prayer is like the wind. We think we are on our way, at a turning point or on the point of a great discovery. But by thinking that we know the way we are following, it can just as easily turn in an instant, becoming totally unpredictable.”
He also encouraged people not to get discouraged. He described how being busy, getting sick or distracted can easily leave prayer as the first casualty. “But remember that meditation did touch you,” he counselled, “we can connect again.”
He added that, strangely, meditation is a way of losing control. Contrasting it to the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, where people are encouraged to relate to God to recover from or heal anger, addiction and things like that just to get control of ourselves, he noted that at the same time, people are trying to touch the presence of God, not sharpen their ideas about God.
“In meditation, we learn to lose control, letting go of the control of the possession of the ego. The challenge is simple, but not easy. We have to put the teachings of Jesus into practice, we have to lose ourselves, then find life,” he went on.
He explained that often we try to deal with crisis by working to control things, but this usually does not work. “We feel helpless,” he said, “and if we do not deal with it we will breakdown. In meditation we can begin to see a new wisdom, a new way of looking at things and a new knowledge emerges.”
He described this as being the point where we begin to pay attention and “attention is itself a freedom,” he concluded.
Christian Meditation Center | Neptune Beach,FL
Website for a new Meditation Center... www.wccmneptunebeach.org
Every day brings newcomers seeking to experience Christian Meditation.
There have been a couple of items in the local papers and another one coming up in about 10 days to focus on our day of prayer: Thanksgiving Day held at the Center in Silence Stillness and Simplicity. A day of silence with 6 scheduled meditations. Six volunteers will come to lead each meditation period.
7AM-7:30AM | 9:30AM-10:00AM | 12:15-12:45PM | 3:00PM - 3:30PM and 6:30PM - 7:00PM
The Center will be in silence, however there will be a Spiritual Friendship room available for anyone who would like to expierence Lectio Divina. There has been an overwhelming response from the community of meditators eager to join us for a time set apart in their rather chaotic weekend of family, football, food and the begining of the holiday shopping frenzy; a day which for the most part has lost all meaning of thankful hearts in the unity of the spirit.
Linda Kaye, Director of the Christian Meditation Center Neptune Beach,FL
Father Laurence in Hong Kong | Media Here you may download audio and video clips of Father Laurence's recent visits to Hong Kong, China and Japan. You can right click the hyper-links and select "Save Target As...".
I knew my prayer life needed strengthening...
During a Lenten program through my church, San Jose Catholic, I was introduced to meditation. I knew my prayer life needed strengthening and decided meditation was the way to do this. A little over a year after beginning meditation I lost my job. I worked for this company thirty-nine years. One minute I was working on a project and the next a security guard was walking me to my car like I was a criminal.
I went through some stages of loss even a little depression. But panic or hopelessness never set in. Every day I continued to get up early and meditate, go for a walk and say the Rosary and go to daily Mass. I did what I needed to do to find a job – network, prepare a resume, write letters to prospective employers etc. – I found a temporary position for three months and then almost a year after being laid off I found a permanent position.
At one of our weekly group meditation gatherings after I found my new job our leader, Joanne, asked the question if meditation has helped in our lives. I hadn’t thought of it before this, but I knew right away the reason I wasn’t panic stricken about losing my job or anxious about finding another one is meditation brings a calmness to my life I have not experienced before. I truly believe this is the first time I have actually been able to put into practice “turning a problem over to God.” Because of meditation God didn’t have to work through a tangle of emotions to get my attention. I was already paying attention through meditation.
NEWSLETTERS Subscribe, download, read or listen .here.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT | Reviews Learn more about the latest publications here.
"Silence in the City" | Video Trailer
For complete information and the 10-minute video, please go to www.christianmeditationaustralia.org .
JOHN MAIN DAILY READINGS BOOK PUBLISHED IN A SPANISH EDITION
Silence and Stillness in Every Season: Daily Readings with John Main, edited by Paul Harris, with a Preface by Magdalena Puebla and an introduction by Laurence Freeman, was recently published in a Spanish language edition in Buenos Aires, Argentina, by Bonum Publishers. The title of the Spanish edition is John Main: Silencio y Quietud, para cada dia del ano. (For information contact; Contemplative Life Bookstore website: www.contemplative-life.org -- Email address is firstname.lastname@example.org).
This collection of quotations by Benedictine monk John Main (1926-1982) has 365 daily readings and 395 pages of his teaching from talks given at the Benedictine monastery in Montreal, Canada. These readings reinforce the great inspiration which John Main's taped talks and books have given to so many people around the world seeking a contemplative spiritual path in the 21st century.
In a forward to the book Laurence Freeman comments: " In John Main's vision meditation opens an authentic spirituality for a wide range of people today. This book of his teaching on the spiritual path will help many meditators to stablize and deepen their daily practice in the two periods of silence, stillness and simplicity which John Main recommended. Each morning and evening these daily readings offer the gentle encouragement and wise inspiration which everyone who has set out on the pilgrimage needs in order to persevere and to discover the fruits of meditation in their ordinary daily life. Many meditators will be grateful to Paul Harris for the loving work he has put into selecting these readings".
This book is suggested reading for newcomers to meditation as well as practising meditators. In John Main they will find a spiritual guide and teacher who leads them into the daily discipline of the contemplative journey of prayer. This is bedside reading for those interested in the meditative spiritual path.
Teaching Christian Meditation to Students | E-Newsletter
We have 10 sets of Christian meditation podcasts listed on iTunes. If you already have the iTunes software installed on your computer you may subscribe to the podcasts directly by using the links here. When you subscribe, you may also "Tell a Friend" by clicking on the appropriate link. Alternately, iTunes users can subscribe to them by following the usual path at the iTunes store > podcasts > power search > description > Christian meditation -- and then choosing the series they want to subscribe to. While subscriptions are without cost, each title description encourages subscribers to make a contribution to the WCCM to support its work and tells how to get other meditation resources at our online Book Store.
Special John Main Anniversary Web Page
The WCCM web home has been hosting a variety of special contributions to this John Main 25th anniversary page as we celebrated this landmark year for our Community. On the page you will find a "Welcome Message" from Father Laurence, photos, biographies, audio clips & podcasts by John Main and Father Laurence, PDF files of John Main's "Monastic Teaching", book announcements, a complete John Main bibliography, music by Margaret Rizza based on John Main's writings, memories of Father John from meditators around the world and more. Visitors are invited to contribute to the page. Other features will be added throughout the year, so please come back again. Click here.
Westminster Cathedral | Memorial Celebration of John Main's Life & Spiritual Legacy
December 29, 2007
Download a PDF file of this special Eucharistic memorial celebration held at Westminster Cathedral, December 29, 2007 here.
Letters from the International School
Welcome to this series of 'Letters from the International School'. The aim of these letters - as it is of the 'School' of the World Community for Christian Meditation in general - is to support and nurture all meditators, but especially those of you who feel called to share the precious gift of meditation with others. These letters will cover therefore the essential teaching of our Community. To read more, please click here.
Lectio Divina Online
In this exciting feature, every week a new passage will be posted that can be used for 'Lectio Divina'.
You may click on this page to read an introduction to the practice of Lectio Divina. Instructions for the use of these passages in a group setting are also available, as is the list of Lectio Divina for 2006.
Prayer Service to Celebrate John Main's Life & Teaching
Download this PDF prayer service by Sr. Kathleen Bolger celebrating the life and teaching of Dom John Main, OSB.
London Christian Meditation Centre | Schedule
Download and Print the PDF schedule for daily, weekly and monthly meditation events and services here.
Download and Print the latest UK Newsletter [PDF] here.
"Essentials of Christian Meditation" - Subscribe to this series of podcasts at iTunes. Talks by Father Laurence given at retreats around the world. Choose from the complete series by using the iTunes link in the left-hand menu.
Monastery Without Walls | The Spiritual Letters of John Main
The Benedictine monk John Main was one of the most profoundly influential spiritual teachers of our age. His belief that the desert tradition of meditative prayer practised by the earliest monastic communities had an immediate and contemporary relevance gave rise to the vision of a totally new kind of community, one made up of men and women scattered throughout the world yet united in their daily practice of Christian meditation.
To this fledgling family -- which today has grown to over 100,000 members in over 100 countries -- John Main wrote a series of intimate letters notable for their deep coherence and simplicity. Tradition and personal experience, church and society, meditation and prayer are the themes that weave in and out of these letters, but their centre is a sense of the presence of Christ permeating every dimension of living -- solitary and relational.
Monastery Without Walls is a complete and annotated edition of all of John Main's letters which together constitute a volume of remarkable spiritual wisdon and insight, as fresh and relevant as when they were first written.
To order, please use the Bookstore link at the left.
25 Years Later: John Main's Legacy | 25 Activities
The Christian Meditation Community has put together a list of 25 activities to help individual meditators and meditation groups commemorate the 25th anniversary of John Main's death. Printer-friendly version here.
Latest Newsletter Online
Until you receive your beautiful printed copy of the March 2006 issue of the International Newsletter, you may read it and download it using the "Newsletter" link from the "World Community" link in the menu at the left. Use the "Home" page link to contact your nearest distributor to ask to be added to the WCCM postal mailing list.
"Lectio Divina" Online
Thanks to Sr Barbara Hazzard OSB and School Webmaster, Dr Shanida Nataraja, there will be a weekly passage for 'Lectio Divina' related to the liturgical calendar on the 'Resources' page of the WCCM's 'School' Web site. There is also an introductory article explaining the ancient discipline of 'Lectio Divina' and instructions both for individual use and group use. Click on the "School" link in the left-hand menu here.
JOHN MAIN CENTER at Georgetown University JOHN MAIN
CENTER FOR MEDITATION AND INTER-RELIGIOUS DIALOGUE
You are warmly invited to the Meditation Center for any of the following events this weekend FRIDAY
6pm Shabbat service with meditation SATURDAY
6pm Contemplative Mass with meditation SUNDAY
11 am meditation followed by conversation with Father Laurence Freeman OSB
Director of the John Main Center Tel: 202 333 4022 Email: email@example.com
Address: 3631 Prospect Street, Georgetown
You are also invited to join in any of the daily meditations at the Center
Monday- Thursday 9 am and 9 pm
Friday 9 am and 6 pm
Saturday –Sunday 11 am and 6 pm
Schools for Meditators Worlwide
International Schools Coordinator, Kim Nataraja, has written two articles which meditators around the world will find helpful for either planning or attending a school. Read them or print them out here: "How We Share the Gift of Meditation" and "Is the School for me?"
Learn more about The School by using the link in the left-hand menu.
LIKE A CHILD: Christian Meditation in the Schools
“Children are born contemplatives and so contemplation is not only the goal of the Christian life but in a sense its starting point too,” Fr Laurence Freeman has written in a foreword to the Like A Child series of books I have written as a program for teaching Christian meditation to children in primary schools.
Print this inspiring article and use it for your personal reading and reflection.
Share it with those who plan liturgies in your community.
John Main's Legacy....
Thirty years ago, in 1975, John Main began the first meditation groups at his monastery in London and, later, in Montreal. These memorial pages celebrate his unique place in the living tradition of contemplative prayer in the church. View an online slideshow to learn more about his life, read informative articles to appreciate better his influence on countless meditators around the world today. Listen to audio clips of John Main speaking about the practice and tradition of Christian meditation. (Group leaders are invited to submit their own reflections to be posted on the special pages.)
"Q & A" - Your Questions Answered
In memory of Sr. Eileen O'Hea, we are initiating a "Q&A" service for our Web visitors. If you have a question about the practice or tradition of Christian meditation, you may submit it here. Please browse our "Frequently Asked Questions" (FAQ's link at the left) first to avoid repetition. Be sure to include your name, city and country.
MEDITATION GROUPS WORLDWIDE
Traveling? New to meditation? Want to know who your neighbouring groups are? In addition to online assistance, an up-to-date Directory containing the contact details of Christian Meditation Groups Worldwide is now published in PDF format every 3 months. It is held by the International Office and National Coordinators who can help you to find meditation groups in 32 countries. For example, Kathy and Mike Moignard (photo), who discovered Christian meditation in Singapore and now live in Delhi, say that if anyone is interested in meditating with others to contact Kathyat firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 5139 9900 ext. 226.
For other informartion about groups contact Jane Grafton.
"Weekly Readings" by E-mail
Each week, to assist you with your daily meditation practice, we publish "Weekly Readings" which you can find on our Web pages (choose from the left-hand menu) or get sent to your own E-mail address. Subscribe here.
Listen to John Main Online!
"The Way of Meditation" - You may listen to an online streaming audio clip of John Main speaking on the simplicity of the practice of daily meditation. From our main menu, select the "About Us" link, then click on the John Main link. Scroll down the page to choose from among several selections. After any of the talks, to prepare for your meditation and put aside all the words you have been listening to, you may listen to a brief excerpt from a musical composition by Margaret Rizza. (All John Main & Margaret Rizza tapes and CD's are available at our Bookstore.)
10 sets of podcasts available, including John Main's COMMUNITAS SERIES: Use the iTunes podcast link in the left-hand menu.
Please send news, announcements and photos to the News Editor here.