Experiencing Christ through meditation

For almost a hundred participants, August 24 was the day their perception of prayer and meditation would change forever.

Oct 12, 2019

By Noeline Chanan Singh
For almost a hundred participants, August 24 was the day their perception of prayer and meditation would change forever.

The World Community for Christian Meditation (WCCM) Malaysia was invited by the Golden Seniors Group led by Peter Tan, to conduct an Introductory Workshop on Meditation in the Christian Tradition at S. Francis Xavier’s Church. Led by Rev Fr. Gerard Theraviam and the WCCM Team, young and senior participants were taken on an infinite journey with Christ.

We learnt that Christian meditation existed long before but was lost for centuries, only to be rediscovered in the 20th century. To our surprise, its revival had its roots in Malaysia. Fr Laurence Freeman OSB, who is the director of WCCM, described it simply as “a privilege of grace given by the Spirit to all.”

To fully experience the effects of meditation, we need to be mentally and spiritually prepared, to fully awaken the heart to the presence of God within us. Three keywords will set us into that mode: Silence, Stillness and Simplicity. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.”

A few prayer words were given to us to transform our minds. It is any word that one is comfortable with. This then becomes our silent mantra. Most chose MARANATHA, an Aramaic word, the language of Jesus, meaning “Come Lord”. We then closed our eyes, adjusted our posture to sit upright and slowly let the spirit flow into our beings.

We were meant to stay alert though there were some snores around the room. Despite all the little distractions, and the “monkeys jumping around in our minds” that kept popping up (in other words distractions), we were told to just keep repeating the word from beginning to end during the 20 minutes of silence. Ultimately, we could feel a sense of calmness: the mind did not feel stressed, the body relaxed and the spirit of Christ consumed us.

The workshop was a humbling experience for all. To make meditation part of our daily prayers, we need to have a routine: meditating twice a day (a minimum of 20 minutes each), morning and evening. Meditating alone may be difficult so we are encouraged to meditate at weekly group sessions as well.

Having captured as much as we could during the workshop, the group decided to move forward and set a date to start a weekly group session. This was supported by Parish Priest Fr. Norris Seenivasan SJ. Apart from some quiet time with the Lord, meditation brings us together to strengthen the friendship among members as they meet at a deeper level — in silence.

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