Contemplation during Meetings
Coming together as Marists provides opportunities for social catch up, celebratory meals and, in particular, meetings to plan for the future. Our Marist way at these meetings normally includes the presentation of position papers, discussion of these presentations in small and large groups, time for personal reflection and increasingly the opportunity for silent group contemplation. We took this approach at our recent Marist Provincial Chapter.
These short periods of contemplation normally take place during a prayer session which includes the singing of a hymn, the saying of psalms, listening to a reading from Scripture, a shared response and the offering of prayers of petition. Building five or ten minutes of private contemplation into these prayer times helps provide the opportunity for greater focus, deeper understanding and inner peace.
Contemplating together once or twice a day adds a rhythm to the day - a value which emanates from a long monastic tradition. Meetings can become talkfests and discussions can lack direction. Praying together helps participants resume focus by turning again to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
After the angel visited Mary, asking her to become the mother of God, Mary set out to visit her cousin Elizabeth. She would have had much to ponder as she traversed those hills outside Nazareth. Once there, one can imagine the periods of contemplation she and Elizabeth would have shared as they spoke about how their lives were about to change - Mary giving birth to Jesus and Elizabeth to John the Baptist.
Such example can inspire us as we engage in our busy worlds.