by PETER MURPHY
The World Community for Christian Meditation is holding the 2015 John Main Seminar at Waikato University in Hamilton this January.
John Main, who died in 1982, was a Benedictine monk who recovered this ancient practice of Christian meditation. Since his death the John Main Seminar has been held each year in his
honour. The theme of the 2015 event is “Spirituality and Religion in a Secular Age”, and the presenter is David Tacey, Professor of Literature at La Trobe University in Melbourne.
The January seminar is being preceded by a silent retreat led by Fr Laurence Freeman, director of the World Community for Christian Meditation — and John Main’s successor.
It was his fellow Benedictine, Bede Griffiths, who described John Main as the best spiritual teacher in the Church of his time. His genius was to recover that ancient prayer practice that goes back to the Desert Fathers and Mothers of Egypt in the fourth and fifth centuries,
and to be able to teach it simply so that even young children can grasp it. The community is now in more than 100 countries.
Meditation is helping to meet the spiritual needs of many people in today’s fast-changing world.
Professor Tacey’s concern is that spirituality has become divorced from religion, which is an anomaly of history.
To be spiritual has become popular, but outside a living religious tradition it becomes another dead end. Religion and spirituality have much to offer each other, particularly at a time in the West when religious practice is in decline.
Further information: www.johnmainseminar2015.com or St Mary’s parish (09) 299 6056
Peter Murphy is the parish priest of St Mary’s parish, Papakura.