John Main Anniversary

Raimon Panikkar once said of John Main, who died thirty years ago today, on 30th December 1982:

John Main harmonized what he learned from the East and from the West. From every discovery there is a new creation. Main was not complicated - he was a symbol for us all. In this he was an authentic genius.

During my Christmas and New Year retreat on Bere Island I am spending part of each day editing a series of short talks on meditation by Fr John that have not yet been published in book form. In preparing for the re-issue of his collected talks in CD and online next month, we were delighted to find these talks. They will be available later this year in a new book to be called “In the Beginning”.

The extraordinary thing, I have felt, is that these talks given to new meditators carry the same force and depth as his most advanced teaching. This must be a sign of the profound simplicity that Raimon Panikkar speaks of. 

The impact of this simple profundity on many individual life-journeys can never be measured. Few Christian denominations, also, have not felt the influence of his re-affirmation of the contemplative dimension of the gospel and Christian life. On this day when we remember the ongoing and still expanding gift of his life, let us allow this sense of gratitude and reverence to guide us into the silence of our times of meditation.

May the genius of simplicity touch every day in the coming year.

Laurence Freeman OSB

December 30th 2012