An excerpt from John Main, “Make Nothing Happen,” WORD MADE FLESH (London: Canterbury, 1993), pp. 20-21.
Religion is meaningless if it is confined to external and ritual acts of worship. Liturgy and ritual only have meaning when they are inspired by conversion of heart.
This is what we are turning to as we learn to be still. In stillness an awareness matures that God has revealed himself to humanity in Jesus and that Jesus reveals himself to us, in our heart, by his Spirit which he has sent to dwell within us. Our life, no less than liturgy, finds meaning when we are as fully open as we can be to this Spirit.
Looked at from the outside, meditation can be thought of as a static condition, one in which you had closed down the doors of perception. But from actual experience meditation is known to be far from a static state and is far better understood as a dynamic awakening to the fullness of our own potential for growth. The expansion of our spirit in the love of Jesus is this fullness. Simplicity, childlike trust and wonder are the ways to realize it. We are not looking for anything to happen, for any insights or wisdom. We are not analyzing any superficial or external phenomena. All this is trivia compared with the knowledge of the Spirit dwelling within us that arises when we turn our minds aside from what is temporal and passing and instead open our hearts to what is enduring: God and God’s love for each of us. [. . . .]
It is nothing less than essential to meditate every day. Meditation is to the spirit what food and air are to the body. We must come to peacefulness, serenity and our capacity for true vision if we are to live in the light of God. Again and again the Gospel tells us that that light shines in our hearts. So we need only to be open to it in humility and love.
After meditation: from Willigis Jager, SEARCH FOR THE MEANING OF LIFE: Essays and Reflections on the Mystical Experience (Liguori, MO: Triumph Books, 1995), p. 75.
Religion may be compared to a glass window. It remains dark unless it is lit from behind. The light itself is not visible, but in the window of religion it takes on a structure and becomes comprehensible to everyone. Although religion often tends to bind its followers to the structures of the window, the ultimate thing is not the window but the light that shines behind it. Only those who see the light of God behind all the structures can realize the meaning and goal of religion.
Carla Cooper - firstname.lastname@example.org