From John Main OSB, "Redemptive Love," THE WAY OF UNKNOWING (New York: Crossroad, 1990), pp. 124-126.
St Paul speaks frequently of the evolving maturity of Christians.
The call to prayer, the call to meditation is precisely a call to grow up, to leave the ego-centered irresponsibility of childishness behind and to become ourselves by finding ourselves beyond ourselves in union with the All. Again,understand that this requires a personal response, not just an agreeing nod, from each of us. This invitation is to see with our own eyes, to hear with our own ears and to love with our own hearts, but also to do this in union with him who is Love. Now, in practice this requires of each of us to go beyond all our personal, historical dividedness. All the dividedness within ourselves must be transcended.
All the barriers that separate us from our true selves and from others and from God must be dismantled. And that means leaving all our images behind. Images that we have of ourselves, the images that we have of others and the images that we have of God. The Christian vision requires us to be open to God at an imageless depth, and it is in openness there that all the false dichotomies are resolves in union, in oneness. In other words, the call is for us all together to return to a fundamental simplicity. The call of deep prayer is no less that the call to be, to be yourself, to be in love, in trust, in openness to what is. And it is almost meaningless to say that God is Love until we know it for ourselves, through an experience of our being in the being of God. [. . . .]
Love alone has the power to redeem and absolute love redeems absolutely. Now as we know, this power to know and to love is to be found in our own hearts. And this is our pilgrimage, to our own hearts. The only thing necessary is that we seek this love with supreme seriousness, with generosity and with faithfulness. That we make that time available, every day of our lives, every morning and every evening in the quiet, in the hidden quiet of our own home, going to our own place of meditation to be silent; and there to enter into the eternal reality of God, a reality that is to be found in our own heart. This is the only pilgrimage that is necessary. On it we find love, beyond all compromise, beyond all fear, beyond all timidity.
Let me remind you again because it is such a precious thing to know, that what we have to learn is the selflessness of saying the mantra. The selflessness of saying it from the beginning to the end of our meditation complements the selflessness required to get up that little bit earlier in the morning . . .To be generous enough to seek the one thing that is necessary. In that very act of seeking we discover the unity of which we are part, a unity of all in all.
After meditation: from Willigis Jager, SEARCH FOR THE MEANING OF LIFE (Liguori: Triumph, 1996), pp. 81-82, 92, 264.
Contemplation . . .is possible only when reason, memory, and will have come to rest. . . Something happens to the person at prayer. No cognitive contents are accepted; religious images, vision, inner speeches, and pious thoughts are left behind. . . Contemplation is pure gazing. Something happens to the pray-er. It is an awakening to one's true divine essence.
[The] mantra captures the infinite in the finite. . . .it has nothing hypnotic about it, no power of its own. Rather it strengthens the forces that are already present within us. It connects us with something that is there to begin with.
The Divine sleeps in every person like a seed. Just as the seed developed in the human Jesus Christ, so it is designed to awaken and enfold in every person. Jesus Christ was completely transparent, God shone through him, lit him up. The same thing has to happen with us too.
Carla Cooper - firstname.lastname@example.org