Who invented meditation?
It is important to explain to your children that the way of prayer that John Main called 'meditation' is not a newly invented way of prayer; it is really the same as what is called 'contemplative prayer'; this is an authentic and well-established way of prayer in the Christian tradition used by many Saints throughout the ages. It is a 'listening' prayer requiring inner silence. By repeating our prayer word 'Maranatha' - instead of talking to Jesus as we usually do - we become so still and quiet that we end up being in His Presence and listening to Him.
Laurence Freeman OSB, our Director, always emphasizes that Jesus is a teacher of contemplation. But Christians often ask him where they can find the evidence for this in Christian Scripture. It would be good to be able to refer to a passage where it is stated in so many words that Jesus 'meditated', but that is unfortunately not possible. But we do know that he often sought solitude to pray alone. He also taught us, especially in Matthew 6: 6-8, that he wanted us to withdraw into our heart, to be silent and use few words. 'But when you pray, go into your room [your heart], shut the door[your senses], and pray to your father, who is there in the secret place; and your Father who sees what is secret will reward you.' and 'In your prayers do not go babbling on like the heathen, who imagine that the more they say the more likely they are to be heard'.
The importance therefore is silence, stillness and simplicity.