Christian Meditation Group

posted 7 Jun 2011, 14:49 by A Clarke   [ updated 6 Mar 2014, 13:53 by Lisa O'Neill ]

Christian Meditation Group

All are welcome to attend the weekly meetings of this Christian Meditation Group, now in it's fifteenth year.
We meet every Wednesday, in Howth, at 8.00pm sharp until 8.40 pm approximately, so that the remainder of the evening is free.
Beginners will be given individual personal guidance to this simple method.
Should your prayers seem repetitive, stale or otherwise unsatisfactory, this is a good opportunity to right your situation as Christian Meditation gives a greater awareness of the constant presence of the Holy Spirit within us.
Telephone (01) 832 3919 for more details.


We follow the teachings, of a Benedictine monk, Dom John Main, who rediscovered an
ancient method of spiritual meditation / contemplation which was practised by the first
Christians, induding 'the Desert Fathers and Mothers' and even our own Celtic monks.
Jesus when He bestowed the Holy Spirit on the apostles and us, at Contimiation, gave
us an ever present presence of His Spirit. To understand the meaning of meditation
and the meditation group we need to understand better what meditation means.
In ancient times the contemplative life, meant a life of privilege. Only those who were
educated and sat on the top of the social pile could afford the time and leisure for contemplation.
Later in Christianity the contemplative life became more democratic and
anyone in the church could follow it. But it meant giving up the vocations of marriage
and work in the world, for a celibate and cloistered life. Contemplation still seemed a
gift God gave only to an elite. It is curious how for centuries the universal teaching of
Jesus was restricted to the few. Jesus called everyone to 'be perfect' in love and com-
passion like his Father, to leave self behind, to shed materialistic stress and anxiety, to
find the 'rest of contemplation in acepting his yoke. But the universal application of
his teaching was forgotten or repressed or denied. The first Christians however got
the point. They listened to the gospel when it told them to pray without ceasing. They
understood that meditation is an essential, universal element of the human condition.
Meditation is not an escape from one's life's work. It is part of our work and helps to
do the other part better. It is not a substitute, but a support, for all other individual
and collective prayer.
Just as in an active project we usually need a team to support us, with it's diverse
talents, so in the work of meditation we need community. Meditation, as John Main
knew, creates and reveals community.
The meditation group is but an expression of this truth. There is nothing new about
Christians coming together to pray. “The whole group of believers was united, heart
and soul; they joined in continuous prayer". This was said of the small Jerusalem
Church that formed after the death of Jesus and we can say the same about groups
There has been in the last thirty or so years a revolutionary rediscovery of the tradition
of Christian contemplation, not just for the cloistered but also for ordinary women and
men from all walks of life. This was one of John Main's and his successors' great
achievements. The Christian Meditation movement is one of the great growth areas in
the Church and Christianity at large, and has spread to 120 countries, approximately,
in the World. This practice of meditation has awakened a new awareness that the con-
templative dimension of prayer is open to each of us and invites everyone, not only to
the 'educated' but every one young or old, as the method is simple and not compli-
cated. Access is not restricted. It is a privilege of grace given by the Holy Spirit to all.
But like all gifts of the Spirit, we must do our part. If we are to live our particular vo-
cation in daily life with depth and meaning, we must actively aocept the gift, tending it
with humble devotion and daily fidelity. What is particularly Christian about it is the
awareness that it takes us, in faith, into the prayer of Jesus and the Holy Spirit. And
when we share in the human consciousness of Jesus, who is simultaneously open to
each of us and to God, we can begin to be truly open to one another.
Meditators of all religious persuasions may attend the group meetings by committing
themselves, in the privacy of the silence, to their own respective 'Power' and recipro-
cate, in kind, the same with their fellow meditators, if they are content to meditate
with Christians whose faith in Christ as their teacher inspires them to imitate his truth
and openness. But it is not an interfaith faith group as such. Indeed, the German,
Cardinal Kasper spoke about ‘Spiritual Ecumenism' and the fact that it was discussed at
a meeting of Cardinals and that it was not a question of yes or no but how! The Cardi-
nal was a speaker at a recent international seminar commemorating the life of John
Main, which is held yearly, in different countries This seminar was held in Belfast a
few years ago when the principal speaker was the Dalai-Lama and the chairperson was
President McAleese, who is an ardent supporter of, and has published a book about
Christian Meditation. John Main had close and very fond associations with Ireland and
publicly referred to himself as being ‘Irish’. His father and mother were bom in Ire-
land, in Ballinskelligs and Co. Meath respectively. His fatner worked in the trans Atlan-
tic cable organisation in Ballinskelligs until it was closed and he was transfened to the
companys HQ in London and John was born there in 1926. his nephew William lives in
Ballinskelligs and has continued to lead the Christian Meditation there, which was initi-
ated by John Main’s sister Yvonne Fitzgerald, deceased. He spent many holidays in
Ballinskelligs, with his relations and also attended primary school there for a year. He
was educated in the Benedictine schools in Ealing, London and was later ordained, a
priest there in 1963. He attended Dublin University, Trinity College where he studied
Law and later lectured there. He served as a code-breaker during World War 2 and
subsequently becarne a diplomat in the Far East where he befriended “a gentle Hindu
Swami" who introduced him to meditation. Never swaying from his own Christian faith
he recognised the value of this practice but it was not until years later that he fully re-
alised how deeply this silent prayer of the heart was rooted in his own Christian tradi-
tion; this was when he read anew the writings of John Cassian, an early Desert Father.
Cassian established a monastery in Gaul/France, late in life, which the Celtic monks are
reputed to have frequented. John Main was bom in 1926 and died in the Benedictine
Priory in Montreal, Canada in 1982.

Queries in this respect should be directed to (01) 8323919. There are many centres in
Ireland where Christian Meditation retreats and seminars are conducted, which are
published in Christian Meditation newsletters.

Parish Website -

National Co-ordinator, Ireland -

Christian Meditation Centre, Ballinskelligs, Co. Kerry
Tel. 086 258 1093, 066 947 9400

International Christian Meditation H.Q. London

This website gives full infonnation regarding all aspects of Christian Meditation; Ad-
ministration, History, Publications, International Contacts. The details of the Guiding
Board and the Supervisory Board gives interesting information of the many notable dis-
tinguished persons involved world-wide.