When the Benedictine monk John Main was invited to established a new kind of monastic community grounded in the traditional balance of prayer, work and study, it had a prophetic difference openness to monks and laypeople and the integration of the practice of mediation into its daily prayer. Meditation - the simple prayer of the heart that he had discovered in the Christian desert tradition - was, for John Main and the community he inspired, the heart of the spiritual life as well as its way of outreach to the world.
His inspiration continues in the work and vision of The World Community for Christian Meditation (wccm.org) which, as Rowan Williams says "is for me, as for many throughout the world, a taste of what a commitedly contemplative church might look and feel like."
John Main had the gift of teaching the depth dimension of Christian faith in a direct, contagious and simple way. His striking insight that meditation creates community has profound implications for global questions of all kinds. His advice on daily practice and spiritual friendship is practical wisdom for better finding our way through todays complex economic, social and ecological challenges.
By re-presenting Christs call to renounce the desire for power by embracing simple poverty of spirit, his teaching shows us how to remain spiritually alive personally, and to breathe new life into tired religious language and structures.
A quarter of a century after his death, John Main: The Expanding Vision celebrates a remarkable legacy of spiritual teaching for our times:
Together, the contributors reveal both why John Mains influenced and vision has expanded so widely and deeply, and why itcontinues to be so profoundly relevant to a world in search of peace, unity and the true understanding of human wealth.
Laurence Freeman OSB is a monk of the Olivetan Benedictine Congregation of Monte Oliveto Maggiore and Director of The World Community for Christian Meditation. Freeman was born in England in 1951 where he was educated by the Benedictines and studied English Literature at Oxford University. In the monastery his spiritual teacher was John Main with whom he studied and whom he helped in the establishment of the first Christian Meditation Centre in London. In 1977, he went with John Main at the invitation of the Archbishop of Montreal to establish a Benedictine community of monks and laypeople dedicated to the practice and teaching of Christian meditation. Freeman studied theology at the Universite de Montreal and at McGill University, made his solemn monastic profession in 1979 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1980. After the death of John Main in 1982, he continued the work of teaching meditation that had now begun to develop a global community. In 1991, Fr Laurence returned to England to establish the International Centre of the newly formed World Community for Christian Meditation that is now present in more than a hundred countries. He is the Director of the WCCM Benedictine Oblate Community. In 2010 he launched the MEDITATIO outreach programme of the Community to mark the celebration of its twentieth anniversary.