Anniversary of John Main
December 30th 2015
It is thirty-three years since John Main passed from this world into the light. Over these years it has been wondrous to see his vision confirmed and his teaching touch the hearts and lives of people around the world – a teaching that is not limited by race, language, age, gender or even creed. This can only be because it is a teaching on prayer that harmonises directly with the mystery of Christ in whom there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave or free, male or female… That is, it is a mystery in which our differences are transformed into aspects of a single inclusive and great unity.
Today our community reflects on the grace of John Main to the church and the world. We reflect too on our own varied yet unified ways of developing his vision and legacy. May this day be blessed by a sense of wonder, gratitude – and presence.
John Main OSB (21 January 1926 – 30 December 1982)
In the last days of his life when I meditated with him or just sat beside his bed I realized that he had already effectively passed over into the state of continuous prayer, which he said is the goal and meaning of all kinds of prayer. On some of these last occasions, when I prayed with him, I was made powerfully aware of the existence of this deeper, non-dual dimension of spiritual consciousness. Here, in complete silence and stillness, perfectly devoid of desire or fear, a great communication can be effected, a transmission that is real and actual but that, even as it happens in time and out of time, does not disturb the stillness or break the silence.
One other and most important aspect of praying with John Main for me was to learn to recognize Jesus. I had been raised in Christian faith but as I entered a questioning and self-discovering phase of life the belief system around this faith began to dissolve. Jesus became an ever more distant enigma. Father John’s emphasis on delving into the experience which meditation opens up through stillness and silence allowed me to plunge fully into great question of Jesus - ‘who do you say I am?’. Praying with John Main reawakened the question of faith at a much deeper level of self-knowledge than I had ever been at before. In John Main’s vitalizing free spirit and in his deep faith in and love for Jesus I began to see what the big question might mean. I had met Jesus in him.
Laurence Freeman, OSB