Times for Christian Meditation at St. John of the Cross Parish Center are:
Wednesdays: 2:00-2:45 p.m. & 7:30-8:15 p.m.
Saturdays: 7:00-7:45 a.m.
Christian Meditation, also known as contemplative prayer, is the prayer of silence. In meditation we go beyond words, thoughts and images into the presence of God within.
St. John of the Cross said, “God is the center of my soul.” Meditation is this daily pilgrimage to one’s own center—a spiritual discipline that we undertake to open ourselves more to the Spirit within. St. Paul said that “We do not even know how to pray, but the Spirit prays within us” (Rom. 8:26). As we pray, we first have to learn to become still, to become attentive. Only then can we enter into loving awareness of the Spirit of Jesus deep within our own heart. Silence is the language of the Spirit.
The way to set out on this pilgrimage is to recite a short phrase or a word that is called a prayer word or mantra. This is the means of turning our attention beyond ourselves, away from our own thoughts and concerns. This way of prayer is not new, but rather rooted in our Christian tradition. It had been lost over the centuries and revived in recent years.
Meditation is an inner journey of silence, stillness and simplicity and is the missing contemplative dimension of much of Christian life today. To enter the simplicity of it demands faith, discipline and courage. If we are faithful and patient, meditation will bring us into deeper and deeper realms of silence. The fruit of this prayer is in our daily lives and relationships.
How to Meditate
- Sit down, upright and still. Close your eyes lightly, be alert, relaxed.
- Silently, interiorly begin to say your prayer word/mantra; listen to it.
- The word recommended is Maranatha, Aramaic, for “Come, Lord.”
- Recite it as four equally stressed syllables: MA-RA-NA-THA.
- Say it silently, continuously. Do not imagine or think anything, spiritual or otherwise; when distraction and thoughts do come, just gently return your attention to the prayer word/mantra.
- The goal is to meditate for 20-30 minutes once or twice a day.
- Let go of any expectations, do not analyze or criticize this time of prayer. It may seem as if nothing is happening and it is a waste of time, but it is the most dynamic thing we can do each day.
- Join others in this practice and it will help you develop and continue.