In these times of social distancing, many people are discerning a call to rediscover the value of silence in their lives. We are distancing from each other but the good news is that God is present to us all the time. God dwells in our hearts in loving silence. We need to be present to the divine presence and many hearts are now stirring. Be still and know that I am God. In the silence of our hearts, we find that we are profoundly connected.
We make a pilgrimage to the heart in the silent practice of Christian meditation. The human heart is yearning for the presence of God. Like the deer that yearns for running streams, so my soul is yearning for you, my God. But when we come to silence, we often discover that we are distracted and we remain in the shallows.
Meditation is a path to simplicity and peace. We use a prayer word to bring our distracted minds to stillness. When we hush our own inner voices, we experience the presence of God that words cannot express. We are led by the Spirit into the eternal prayer of Jesus to the Father and the ordinary reality of our lives, however challenging, becomes a special place of encounter.
The parish Meditation Group continues to meet on Mondays together but apart in our own homes. It is a wonderful way of participating in the life and worship of the faith community. We offer our solitude in solidarity and silent intercession for all peoples affected by the pandemic. Praying with others in silent contemplation is a great encouragement and force for good. When we are attentive to God in prayer, our lives are transformed and we respond in love and mercy.
We would be delighted if you would join us at 10.30 on Monday mornings or experience the practice at any other time. We meditate for 20 minutes in the tradition taught by Dom John Main. John Main was a Benedictine monk of Ealing Abbey who died in 1982. He recovered this ancient form of Christian prayer that is rooted in the Gospel and the teachings of the Desert Fathers. The simple steps of meditation are set out below.
How to meditate
- We sit up straight and allow our muscles to relax and our breathing to regularise. We close our eyes lightly. We need to be relaxed but alert.
- Silently, interiorly we begin to say a single word. John Main recommended the prayer word MARANATHA. We recite it as four equally stressed syllables.
- We listen to it as we say it, gently and continuously.
- We do not think about the meaning. We do not think or imagine anything – spiritual or otherwise. If thoughts or images come (as they will), we return to the repetition of the word.
We begin with an opening prayer composed by John Main and close with a Glory Be.
Opening prayer – Heavenly Father, open our hearts to the silent presence of the spirit of your Son. Lead us into that mysterious silence where your love is revealed to all who call – Maranatha – Come, Lord Jesus.
Meditation builds community!