International Newsletter – December 2011 edition – Extra online content

WCCM: 20 year anniversary 

Ruth Fowler

In 1991 at New Harmony Inn in Indiana, a series of intense discussions scheduled around the wonderful talks by Fr Bede, led to the formation of the WCCM.  At the time I don’t think anyone really knew what it meant for the Community into the future.  Hope was generated by this new way of being community, but it was also tempered by the unspoken pain arising from the closure of the Montreal community as well as the many practical issues such a new structure needed to address to support itself.    What was not in doubt was our faith in the teaching, our faith in the practice of silence and our deep faith in the presence of the Holy Spirit, within ourselves and in the Community.

Since that time the WCCM has enriched the lives and faith of many thousands of people across the world.  Central to this has been the continuity, simplicity and integrity of the teaching from John Main OSB and Laurence Freeman OSB.  Faithful to the deep contemplative vein coursing through the Christian tradition, the practice of loving attention in silence has been, with grace, a catalyst to transform the lives of countless Christians seeking a deeper encounter with Mystery.  The unpretentious and faithful weekly meditation groups across more than 100 countries, are the lattice on which this vine of contemplative prayer flourishes.  The groups focus on sharing the silence and the teaching, has been an essential source of strength for meditators.  Responding to their experience of ‘coming home’, many hundreds of meditators across the Community have generously shared the teaching from their own witness of faithful practice.  Chief among these has been the selfless dedication of Laurence Freeman, Director of the WCCM, to the teaching and the Christ teacher within.  And in this the fruits of community and spiritual friendships have been nurtured.  

The Community has grown in articulating the teaching and its roots and in outreach where the insights of contemplative prayer are applied to a number of everyday contexts, education, business, addiction, health, well being, or inter-faith discussions.  It has also grown in its witness to the contemplative spirit  – a testament to the Spirit’s presence in the life of its members.  Such growth is not easily arrived at.  Like all families, our individual and collective wounds have asked that we heal and grow and forgive, ourselves and others, so that we can make real a community of love.  Our gradual maturing revealing the need for deeper transformation in patience and humility.   

As in the past, so in the future, the Community’s willingness to listen deeply to the Spirit’s movements will shape its future contours.  People continue to hunger for depth and meaning.  The need for the ongoing teaching to adults and young people is clear.  School children too have a right to know about the ‘other wing’ of prayer – the way of silence.  Wise use of technology and social media can enhance the communication of the twin pillars, the teaching and the practice, without falling prey to these modern modes inherent capacity for banality.  But initiatives and mediums, important as they are, come and go with the times.  The constant is our witness in love to another way of being present.  This will be the fruit of our own continuing faithfulness and surrender into the Mystery of Being, the Mystery of Christ, as individuals and community.  


Reviews – The Way

Listen an interview with Henriette Hollaar and Francisco Wulff on the movie The Way

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