"Be still and know that I am God"
Psalm 46

The gift of meditation for priests.

Meditation is a gift for those in full time ministry.  Priests spend so much in active ministry that it is important to take some time in silence.

International Retreat

for Priests, Ministers, Pastors and those in training for ordained ministry:

Ministry in the Priesthood of Christ

led by Fr. Laurence Freeman O.S.B.

at the Ammerdown Retreat Centre
Near Bath, England.

- Monday 26 to Friday 30 September 2011 -

Click here for the Retreat brochure with registration details.


to this online resource to support priests seeking a contemplative dimension to their ministry!

Meditation is for the joy and hope of the world, as John Main OSB himself said: "It is a way of growth because what we are growing into is life itself."  In his book The Heart of Creation he says: "In the same way that there is only one essential prayer, the prayer of Christ Himself, so there is only one Christian worship, the communion we have through Christ in the Trinitarian love. Each member of the Trinity wholly at the service of the other." (See Silence and Stillness in Every Season for August 18th.)

Meditation is therefore concerned on the one hand with communion:

That they may all be one...

“God, Who has fatherly concern for everyone, has willed that all men should constitute one family and treat one another in a spirit of brotherhood. For having been created in the image of God, Who "from one man has created the whole human race and made them live all over the face of the earth" (Acts 17:26), all men are called to one and the same goal, namely God Himself.

For this reason, love for God and neighbor is the first and greatest commandment. Sacred Scripture, however, teaches us that the love of God cannot be separated from love of neighbor: "If there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself... Love therefore is the fulfillment of the Law" (Rom. 13:9-10; cf. 1 John 4:20). To men growing daily more dependent on one another, and to a world becoming more unified every day, this truth proves to be of paramount importance.

Indeed, the Lord Jesus, when He prayed to the Father, "that all may be one... as we are one" (John 17:21-22) opened up vistas closed to human reason, for He implied a certain likeness between the union of the divine Persons, and the unity of God's sons in truth and charity. This likeness reveals that man, who is the only creature on earth which God willed for itself, cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself (Luke 17:33).” (Gaudium et Spes 24)

On the other hand Meditation is concermed with Mission:

That the world may believe...

"... the life of the Church communion will become a sign for all the world and a compelling force that will lead persons to faith in Christ: '...so that the world may believe that you have sent me.' (John 17:21) In such a way communion leads to mission, and mission itself to communion." (Christifideles Laici 31)

"Thus, communion is itself mission, indeed communion begets communion and is essentially a missionary communion."  (Consecrated Life in the Third Millennium - Starting afresh from Christ 33)
  • Pope John Paul II in his address to the Bishops of the U.S.A. in 1987:
       “It is of great importance to the Church that in the full power of the Church's communion we continue to proclaim together Jesus Christ and his Gospel. In this way we ourselves live fully, as successors of the apostles, the mystery of ecclesial communion. At the same time through our ministry we enable the faithful to enter ever more deeply into the Church's life of communion with the Most Holy Trinity.”
  • Pope Benedict's visit to the U.K. 2010, in his address to Youth:
        “Deep within your heart, he is calling you to spend time with him in prayer. But this kind of prayer, real prayer, requires discipline; it requires making time for moments of silence every day. Often it means waiting for the Lord to speak. Even amid the ‘busyness’ and the stress of our daily lives, we need to make space for silence, because it is in silence that we find God, and in silence that we discover our true self. And in discovering our true self, we discover the particular vocation which God has given us for the building up of his Church and the redemption of our world.”

St. Charles Borromeo

Charles Borromeo, related to the famous Medici family through his mother, was a nephew of Pope Paul IV.  He was called by the Pope to serve as Cardinal-deacon and secretary of state and was ultimately consecrated Archbishop of Milan in 1564.  He dedicated the remaining 20 years of his life to the reform of the clergy and the pastoral care of his people, zealously implementing the decrees of the Council of Trent.  He died on November 3, 1584.

Excerpt from a Sermon by Saint Charles Borromeo
Acta Ecclesiae Mediolanensis, Mediolani 1599, 1177-1178.

     "I admit that we are all weak, but if we want help, the Lord God has given us the means to find it easily. One priest may wish to lead a good, holy life, as he knows he should. He may wish to be chaste and to reflect heavenly virtues in the way he lives. Yet he does not resolve to use suitable means, such as penance, prayer, the avoidance of evil discussions and harmful and dangerous friendships. Another priest complains that as soon as he comes into church to pray the office or to celebrate Mass, a thousand thoughts fill his mind and distract him from God. But what was he doing in the sacristy before he came out for the office or for Mass? How did he prepare? What means did he use to collect his thoughts and to remain recollected?

Would you like me to teach you how to grow from virtue to virtue and how, if you are already recollected at prayer, you can be even more attentive next time, and so give God more pleasing worship? Listen, and I will tell you. If a tiny spark of God’s love already burns within you, do not expose it to the wind, for it may get blown out. Keep the stove tightly shut so that it will not lose its heat and grow cold. In other words, avoid distractions as well as you can. Stay quiet with God. Do not spend your time in useless chatter.

If teaching and preaching is your job, then study diligently and apply yourself to whatever is necessary for doing the job well. Be sure that you first preach by the way you live. If you do not, people will notice that you say one thing, but live otherwise, and your words will bring only cynical laughter and a derisive shake of the head.

Are you in charge of a parish? If so, do not neglect the parish of your own soul, do not give yourself to others so completely that you have nothing left for yourself. You have to be mindful of your people without becoming forgetful of yourself.

My brothers, you must realize that for us churchmen nothing is more necessary than meditation. We must meditate before, during and after everything we do. The prophet says: I will pray, and then I will understand. When you administer the sacraments, meditate on what you are doing. When you celebrate Mass, reflect on the sacrifice you are offering. When you pray the office, think about the words you are saying and the Lord to whom you are speaking. When you take care of your people, meditate on how the Lord’s blood that has washed them clean so that all that you do becomes a work of love.

This is the way we can easily overcome the countless difficulties we have to face day after day, which, after all, are part of our work: in meditation we find the strength to bring Christ to birth in ourselves and in other men."