Sister Chabanel Mathison, OSU

Sr. Chabanel Mathison, OSU

St. Louis, Missouri

For several years I have experienced my prayer around what is called Christian Meditation, taught by the World Community of Christian Meditation in the tradition of Benedictine Father John Main. It involves simply sitting in stillness and repeating over and over to myself an image-free mantra that, like a leaf sweeper, moves aside the clutter of my mind and heart and makes room for the awareness of being immersed in Holy Mystery—the God within, and the God around me in every aspect of creation.

It is radically simple but not necessarily easy, and it is not prayer that can be rated as successful or unsuccessful. I just “do it” at both ends of my day with the raw faith that God is living and working deep inside of me and all around me though I may experience nothing at all. Sometimes it is a challenge to remain committed to it when it feels empty and hopelessly distracted. It would be so much easier to pray with measurable progress marks. Over the years, however, it has become my way to “come home and wait for God.”

Where I do FEEL a difference with Christian Meditation is that it enhances my awareness of the presence of God in the people, the events, and the circumstances of my days as I move through them. It gives me a contemplative view. An example of how this happens for me in these pandemic days is a perspective it has brought to the innumerable Zoom meetings that consume my energy and punctuate the way we seem to be organizing our lives while we are being challenged as never before to relate.

The computer is not the focus; it is simply the means of bringing us together. The focus is our relationship and common purpose as we listen and listen and listen to each other. Zoom has become a new human space and we “hold” this sacred space together. It is no longer being gathered in a meeting room that holds us together. As we tune in to each other, we are led to wholeness, not just with those on the screen, but with all living beings—presence to presence. We are held together by our contemplative, Spirit-filled awareness.