Christian Meditation – A Social Discipline

Christian Meditation is not isolationist. It is not Quietism.

To meditate is ultimately a social act.

Fr. Laurence Freeman, who will be invested with his Order of Canada on May 24, 2012 in Ottawa, defined prayer as an “encounter”. Encountering means meeting another person. The social sciences theorize that we discover ourselves in context of others. We cannot be ourselves without another.

How true, in Christian Meditation.

In the last century another Canadian, Benedictine Fr. John Main, rediscovered and brought a fresh, contemporary voice to Christian Meditation. He described the process of Christian Meditation as forming a “community of love”.

This is at the heart of Christian doctrine. The Trinity, describing God, is inherently and essentially a divine relationship. God self-defines in relationship: Father, Son, Holy Spirit. Outside of relationship, God is not God. In meditation we are not alone, even though we do it on our own.

What is our “true self”? It is our “inner self”. Once there, we relate to one another not out of surface compulsions and reactions of anger, fear, anxiety, or guilt. Instead, we relate to one another, true self to true self, inner self to inner self. As someone once said, “the Christ in me” relates to “the Christ in you.” The great church reformer, Martin Luther, in the 16th century wrote that each of us is a “little Christ”.

Christian Meditation is like entering the top, wide opening of an hour glass. As we continue faithfully in the silence, stillness and simplicity of prayer we arrive at the deepest, truest point of our being in the living God. At the center of the hour glass, in the deepest place in our heart, we find Christ who finds us in love and whose presence resides within always, even when we are not aware.

But this prayer then leads us out of ourselves. The direction of flow is again to the wide, openness of the world beyond our individuality.

But something has changed. We are transformed in prayer. We now see others and the world around us with compassion and the love of Christ which first found us.

Christian Meditation leads us to act. Being before acting. Contemplation and social justice then function together.

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