I suppose if we wanted to sum up John Main’s teaching in terms of the tradition. ..One couldn’t do better than read this sentence from Word into Silence. “John Cassian recommended anyone who wanted to learn to pray and to pray continually, to ‘take a single short verse, to repeat this verse over and over again.’
We want to learn to pray. We probably want to learn to do that more than anything else because we realize that everything else depends upon the fact that our spiritual potential is being realized. In other words, unless we are ‘on the way’ everything we do is hollow, two dimensional.
There is a natural longing for holiness in each of us, and we have to understand correctly what kind of longing and what kind of holiness is involved….it has often been so abused and trivialized in the course of the Christian centuries. Often the desire for holiness has become so egotistical that it has run absolutely counter to the Gospel teaching of love, tolerance and compassion.
We have to understand the sanctification takes place within the community of disciples. There is no individualized holiness. Every enlightenment of every individual soul touches every other soul because it is the expansion of the enlightenment of Christ who is present in each…So our longing for holiness originates from with our fellowship.
And that is why we must face and answer that longing with practical communal steps, because our fellowship as disciples makes no sense without prayer. Holiness demands that we pray together.
The church becomes jut a social, political or intellectual organization if we are not at prayer and deeply in prayer. And if we are not in prayer neither are we a witness, or at best we are a very unconvincing witness.
The call to holiness comes to us in the Body of Christ and it is in and through the Body that we are enabled to respond to that call. We would all like to settle for less because responding to that call is very demanding. It is an absolute call.
The call of Jesus is absolute and universal and that is what makes it impossible for us to settle for less…to be holy like him we have to enter in his self, into his holiness. He told us that we must be holy as our heavenly Father is holy.
So how do we respond to that call? We respond by attentiveness, by simply turning away from ourselves to the perfect holiness of God.
The mantra simply leads us to be deeply and permanently attentive to His prayer, to His Spirit flowing in our hearts, flowing between Him and the Father.
Any community rooted in prayer, turned towards Christ as its living center, aids each of us in mindfulness, attentiveness to that spirit of continual prayer in the heart of each. To be attentive to that is to see it. And to see it is to become it.
Laurence Freeman, OSB
We invite you to reflect on the readings from Light Within for faith sharing in meditation groups or for personal time of prayer. Many have found the teachings of Fr. Laurence and Fr. John resonate with the spiritual principles of the 12 steps of recovery.
Obedience - 12&12 p.174, Tradition Nine
So we of A.A. do obey spiritual principles, first because we must, and ultimately because we love the kind of life such obedience brings
‘Persistent use of meditation and prayer’
“In Step 11 we saw that if a Higher Power had restored us to sanity and had enabled us to live with some peace of mind in a sorely troubled world, then such a Higher Power was worth knowing better by as direct contact as possible. The persistent use of meditation and prayer, we found, did open the channel so that where there had been a trickle, there now was a river which led to sure power and safe guidance from God as we were increasingly better able to understand him” 12x12 Step 12 p108
‘Spiritual Thirst” Carl Jung’s letter to Bill W. in 1961 –“ His craving for alcohol was the equivalent, on a low level, of the spiritual thirst of our being for wholeness, expressed in medieval language: the union with God.” …You see, "alcohol" in Latin is "spiritus" and you use the same word for the highest religious experience as well as for the most depraving poison. The helpful formula therefore is: spiritus contra spiritum.
Respond - 12&12 p.35, Step Three - Once we have placed the key of willingness in the lock and have the door ever so slightly open, we find that we can always open it some more. Though self-will may slam it shut again, as it frequently does, it will always respond the moment we again pick up the key of willingness.
Spirit - BB p.85, Into Action - If we have carefully followed directions, we have begun to sense the flow of His Spirit into us.
Quiet and Stillness “In all times of emotional disturbance or indecision, we can pause, ask for quiet, and in the stillness simply say: "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference. Thy will, not mine, be done." 12&12 p.41, Step Three