Monasteries of the Heart

Monks in Our Midst: John Main, OSB on contemplative life

There is such widespread misunderstanding about the "contemplative life;" the very phrase carries with it so many unconscious associations. To many it summons up a picture of lifeless people sitting around all day with little or nothing to do. But real prayer, coming from the silent center of our spirit, is the source of the selflessness of love, the source of energy. In that center, the source of our Being, we encounter God. To find God is to find love. To find love is to find oneself in harmony with the basic energy of all creation, which is love. When a community is directed to this as its essential priority, ordinary limitations imposed on human relations by egoism become, as it were, flipped around. Where there was self-seeking there becomes service. Where there was desire for self-protection there becomes an impulse to lead others to fulfillment through love.

John Main OSB was an English Benedictine monk who began Christian meditation groups which met at his monastery in West London, England and, later, in Montreal, Canada, the origins of an ecumenical network which has become the World Community for Christian Meditation (WCCM). Learn more here.

How closely does the phrase “to find love is to find oneself in harmony with the basic energy of all creation, which is love” align with your concept of the contemplative life? Would you describe it differently? How?

Please share your reflections with us here.

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