January 2024

Dear Group Leaders and Friends in Christian Meditation,

There is an expression I am sure you have heard many times, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” Sometimes we might be impatient for the teacher to show up, maybe we have followed teachers who have erroneously led us down the wrong path, perhaps we are so frenetic in our activity, we might not even realize the teacher is standing right in front of us. In my own experience, the teacher, Father John Main, and the practice of Christian meditation arrived at a time when I was at a low point. I was close to hitting rock bottom, and I found myself uplifted by the saying of the mantra. I needed the silence, stillness, and simplicity of the practice, and I didn’t even know it.

Father John was the teacher I needed, and interestingly, he came to me after I was introduced to the practice of meditation, and twenty-one years after his death. Clearly, I never met Father John in life, but I have definitely been introduced to his spirit in his talks, in the practice of Christian meditation, and in the community that he began which we now call the World Community for Christian Meditation. I was certainly ready, and finally aware of what I needed to become the person that I was created to be by our God who creates each of us uniquely out of love.

Shortly after I was ordained to the priesthood, and sent out into the world to minister, I became stuck in areas of my own life where I struggled. I struggled with prayer and with patience. Both became obstacles in my ability to minister. Like all of us, I brought many gifts to my life and faith. Again, like all of us, I also came with my own rough edges. I saw in meditation a practice that would close the gap a bit between the person that I was and the person that I desired to be, as well as the one that God created me to be, in the life that I was living. God knows we are not perfect. I believe that seeking perfection is both an impossibility, and in the words of Father Laurence Freeman, perfectionism is a virus. I believe that we ought to seek to be whole. I think that is the real sense of what holiness is, wholeness. So often, we think of holy people as perfect in faith and life. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Again, God created each of us uniquely to be whole and to be one with each other and one with our God who is One.

Father John died on December 30, 1982. I was twelve years old. My thoughts were certainly not about meditation during that time in my life. I didn’t even know what that was, and my mind was probably on hanging out with my friends. In time, I would find what it meant to be a friend of Christ from a man who I have never met in this life but will always be my teacher. The teacher of a practice I didn’t know I needed when I met him at the age of thirty-three.

Speaking of Father John, our own national community has the privilege this summer to host the international community with the 2024 John Main Seminar. The seminar and preceding retreat will take place July 8 – 14, 2024 in New Harmony, Indiana. The seminar will be led by Archbishop of Trinidad and Tobago, Jason Gordon, and as is our custom the pre seminar time led by Fr. Laurence Freeman. Here is a link to save the date for the seminar and other international events https://wccm.org/major-events/2024-programme-save-the-date/

As many of us struggle with winter weather challenges, it might be a good time to put these July dates on our calendars and think of warmer times and the gathering of friends in Christian meditation.

May each of us experience the peace of Christ in this new year!

Warmly,

Kevin Maksym