Father John Main (1926-1982) led many to realize the “peace that passes all understanding,” through his teachings of Christian meditation. A Roman Catholic priest and Benedictine monk, at first his superiors did not permit him to use meditation as part of his spiritual practices, as it was not deemed Christian. He honored their instruction with obedience for many years. Later, after reading the Desert Fathers, and especially the Conferences of John Cassian, Main found a form of Christian meditation similar to the early roots of the Christian tradition. He asked his superiors again, and this time, permission was granted. Thus began the prolific influence of John Main’s Christian meditation.
The practice is quite simple. Sit comfortably. Say the word silently in your heart. The word is Maranatha: it is Aramaic, for “Come, oh Lord…” Simply sit, eyes closed, in a quiet place, and say the word silently to yourself. In your heart. Maranatha. That’s it.
I first discovered John Main through his book, Moment of Christ. It was suggested to me by the Abbot of the monastery where I was living. In suggesting the book, the Abbot wisely gave me very little instruction. He simply said, “I think if you read this book and do this practice, it would be beneficial.” Likewise, John Main gives very little instruction in his teachings. Simply say the word silently in your heart. Mar-a-na-tha.
So I began to do that at the monastery. Each night, in the hour that was allotted for silent prayer in the Chapel, I sat there, silently repeating the phrase in my heart. And there is something to it, something profound. I, too, hesitate to talk too much about this practice for fear of interrupting the natural process of would-be practitioners. I only suggest you try it. As for me, I like to light candles on my altar, maybe read some verses aloud from the Psalms just to get into a prayerful mindset. And then, sit, in silence, repeating the phrase. Maranatha. Come, Lord.
Changes happen. Moments come. Moments of Christ. Moments of Christ like I have not known otherwise. Try it for yourself and just notice what happens.
In the video below, I talk about the Christian meditation method developed by John Main.