Lent Reflections

These daily reflections by Laurence Freeman, a Benedictine monk and Director of The World Community for Christian Meditation, are to help those following them make a better Lent. This is a set time and preparation for Easter, during which special attention is given to prayer, extra generosity to others and self-control. It is customary to give something up, or restrain your use of something but also to do something additional that will benefit you spiritually and simplify you. Running through these readings will be an encouragement to start to make meditation a daily practice or, if it already is, then to deepen it by preparing for the times of meditation more carefully. The morning and evening meditations then become the true spiritual centre of your day. Here is the tradition, a very simple way of meditation, that we teach:

Sit down, Sit still with your back straight. Close your eyes lightly. Breathe normally. Silently, interiorly begin to repeat a single word, or mantra. We recommend the ancient prayer phrase ‘maranatha’. It is Aramaic (the language of Jesus) for ‘Come Lord’, but do not think of its meaning. The purpose of the mantra is to lay aside all thoughts, good, bad, indifferent together with images, plans, memories and fantasies. Say the word as four equal syllables: ma ra na tha. Listen to it as you repeat it and keep returning to it when you become distracted. Meditate for about twenty minutes each morning and evening. Meditating with others, as in a weekly group, is very helpful to developing this practice as part of your daily life. Visit the community’s website for further help and inspiration: UK wccm.uk and International wccm.org

If you prefer to listen to the Lent Reflections they are available on the WCCM Soundcloud.

John 20: 1-9 – The stone had been moved away from the tomb

As we prepared for the Easter Vigil here at Bonnevaux, there has been a lot of competition. It has mostly been between the birds in the trees and the frogs in the lake to see which could make the loudest noise. That’s the most obvious struggle. There’s also the competition between trees and bushes competing as to which can become greenest soonest in the sudden warm sunshine that we are enjoying; and let us not forget the insects. All links in the Great Chain of Being that unites us and everything in the cosmos to the Word through whom all things came to be and who became flesh and died for us and rose again.

In the great second century homily we read every year at this time, the Risen Christ speaks with the irresistible authority of love to those from the beginning of time he is releasing from hell:

Out of love for you and for your descendants I now by my own authority command all who are held in bondage to come forth, all who are in darkness to be enlightened, all who are sleeping to arise. I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be held a prisoner in hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead. Rise up, work of my hands, you who were created in my image.

Resurrection is the result of love entering into what has died and calling it back to life, a broken relationship, a desperate failure, a broken world or a dying planet. Only love of the first order, the spring of agape, can break down the walls and weapons constructed by the illusions, pride or hopelessness of the ego.

If we feel outside this, observers or doubters waiting to be convinced and if we ask how I can verify this, the same homily shows us in the words of Christ:

Rise, let us leave this place, for you are in me and I am in you; together we form one undivided person and we cannot be separated.

To see the Risen Christ, we have only to enter that space of simple oneness in ourselves where we are outside nothing and nothing is outside us. We continue after these forty days on the same pilgrimage which led us into it. Thank you for sharing it with me and all the others. And thank you for the wonderful team of translators in ten languages who were patient with me as my main resolution of this Lent, to get the daily reflection to you two days in advance, was broken. Betrayed and betrayer can unite with the one from whom we cannot be separated as we say:


If you wish to continue your reflections beyond Lent and Easter into the seven weeks of Eastertide, Mark Ball has provide a series of daily readings and lectio divina based on themes from John Main’s Monastery Without Walls.  Click on the button to access these.

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