Weekly Readings Newsletter

January 9 Readings

John Main OSBJohn Main OSB, “Second Conference,” THE GETHSEMANI TALKS (Tucson, AZ: Medio Media, 1999), pp. 35-37.

We must take extreme care about using terms like “self-renunciation.” In prayer we do truly seek to turn our whole being to a contemplation of God’s goodness, of his infinite love. But we can only do this with any degree of effectiveness when we have first truly come close to ourselves. Prayer itself is the way to experience the truth of the words of Jesus: “The man who would find his life, must first lose it.” But we have to take a preliminary step. And this first step is to gain the necessary confidence to lay down our life in the poverty of the single verse in meditation. This is the tremendous importance of Christian community---when we live with [others] and experience ourselves as revered and loved we build up the confidence that is necessary to enter into prayer where we practice this total poverty, this total renunciation. And Christian self-renunciation is always self-affirmation in Christ.

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January 2 Readings

 

John Main OSBJohn Main OSB, "The Oceans of God" (December 1982), THE PRESENT CHRIST(New York: Crossroad, 1991), pp. 111-112, 116-117.

Our life is a unity because it is centered in the mystery of God. But to know that unity we have to see beyond ourselves and with a perspective greater than we generally see with, when self-interest is our dominant concern. Only when we have begun to turn from self-interest and self-consciousness does this larger perspective begin to open. Another way of saying that our vision expands is to say that we come to see beyond mere appearances, into the depth and significance of things. . ..not just . . .in relation to ourselves but . . .to the whole of which we are part. This is the way of true self-knowledge and it is why true self knowledge is identical with true humility. Meditation opens up for us this precious form of knowledge, [and] this knowledge becomes wisdom . . when we know no longer by analysis and definition but by participation in the life and spirit of Christ. [. . .]

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Christmas Message 2010

Mother and Child, Ladakh India December 24th 2010

Dearest Friends,

This year as always, the timeless Christmas story speaks to us and enlightens the listening heart at many levels. There is the simplicity of the story and the unfathomable mystery of what it is saying. So, too, the story of our own lives, as we have lived them to this point, can be told in a few words; but no words can express their meaning and the wonder of our joys and sufferings, failures and discoveries.

There is the human fragility and marginality of the characters, Mary, Joseph, Jesus, the Shepherds – none of them among the powerful ones of the world. And yet through and around them is the presence of God speaking His Word in a silence that brings down the mighty from their thrones and humbles our own chattering egos.

In the story there is both a tenderness and a mighty, toughness and resilience. We feel deep emotion and yet contemplate a reality that takes us beyond sentiment and emotion, to a place of truth and love in which all desire is fulfilled and all that is incomplete is led to completion.

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December 19 Readings

Anniversary PhotoFrom John Main OSB, “Letter Ten: December 18, 1979,” LETTERS FROM THE HEART(New York: Crossroad, 1988), pp. 119-120.

Christmas is a feast that can open the hearts of us all to the presence of Christ. It puts before us the great qualities of innocence and hope that we need if we are to awaken to his light, and it fills us with confidence because it tells us that the old age has ended. The new age, indeed the new creation, has begun and our point of departure for finding it everywhere is finding it a reality in our heart.

Our journey is, then, one to our own hearts. Because all of us are invited to enter this temple and receive this newness of life, we have to recognize this time as a moment to put off everything in us that is dead, everything that prevents us from embracing the mystery of our own creation and entering into the fullness of life we receive as pure gift in God’s eternal act of creation.

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December 5, 2010 Readings

LogoFr John Main OSB, “Letter Ten, December 18, 1979,” LETTERS FROM THE HEART(New York: Crossroad, 1988), pp. 119-20.

Christmas is a feast that can open the hearts of all of us to the presence of Christ. It puts before us the great qualities of innocence and hope that we need if we are to awaken to his light, and it fills us with confidence because it tells us that the old age has ended. The new age, indeed the new creation, has begun and our point of departure for finding it everywhere is finding it a reality in our heart.

Our journey is, then, one to our own hearts. Because all of us are invited to enter this temple and receive this newness of life, we have to recognize this time as a moment to put off everything that prevents us from embracing the mystery of our own creation and entering into the fullness of life we receive as pure gift in the father’s eternal act of creation.

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November 28 Readings

logoAn excerpt from Laurence Freeman OSB, “Reverence,” LIGHT WITHIN (New York: Crossroad, 1989), pp. 92, 94-95.

Religious people tend to be more self-consciousness than others. And if we are honest about our self-consciousness we should see its connection with a certain lack of reverence in our religious life. We may indeed be surprised that at the most sacred moments in our religious life our spirit of reverence is shamefully hollow. A busy, noisy irreverence in our churches is certainly something that non-Christians often remark upon. They remark for example on the lack of silence or of physical stillness. They often remark too about the amount of time spent in asking God for things we want.

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November 21 Readings

logoFrom Laurence Freeman OSB, “ Letter Four” THE WEB OF SILENCE (London: Dartman, Longman & Todd, 1996).

If we can understand how silent nature is, we can learn the redemptive purifying power of silence. Whatever is simply itself is silent. It does not matter whether it is talking or quacking or blowing in the wind. Silence is not influenced by noise if the noise does not pretend anything or try to take over anything else’s identify or right to be. . . .Silence purifies. It restores us to our true nature and reverses the counter-currents of the unnatural.

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November 14 Readings

logo“Dearest Friends,”

Laurence Freeman OSB, CHRISTIAN MEDITATION NEWSLETTER, Vol. 34, No. 3, October 2010, pp. 4-5.

The truly other is essential to the mystical and loving mind. Otherness stimulates the mind to let go of its fixed points and expand beyond itself, enlarging the view we have of the world and of ourselves within it. In the face of the other we have to give up the fame of dramatizing them. This is a little of what I understand by the term “a catholic mind” because it has faced the other that we cannot describe or control. The catholic mind intuitively seeks to include rather than reject, even when it meets an abyss of difference in the other that it recoils from and finds wrong and threatening. [. . . .]

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November 7, 2010 READINGS

logo“Dearest Friends,”

Laurence Freeman OSB in the Newsletter of the World Community for Christian Meditation, Vol 32, No. 3, September 2008, p. 4.

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October 31, 2010 Readings

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“Leaving Needs Behind"

Fr Laurence Freeman OSB, LIGHT WITHIN (New York: Crossroad, 1989), pp. 69-71.

[Meditation] isn’t a call to follow a way of saintly perfection. It isn’t a call to be a hero or a genius, nor even a call to be extraordinary in any way. It is a call to be the person you are and to take the time it takes to be who you are (whether it is five years or fifty years), the person Jesus has loved by laying down his life. . .

So Fr John would point to the Gospel and would say that the teaching of meditation is the teaching of the Gospel. He says in WORD INTO SILENCE, “the whole of the teaching of Cassian on prayer is based on the Gospel.” And he quotes Jesus’ words: “In your prayers do not go babbling on like the heathen who imagine that the more they say, the more likely they are to be heard. Do not imitate them. Your Father knows what your needs are before you ask him.” [. . . ]

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