Lent Reflections 2024

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

Happy Easter. And finally, we can say Alleuia again! One word says it all.

St John looked into the empty tomb and let Peter, his companion whom he had outrun to get there, go in first. Peter, the good but less subtle part of us. Then John, the lover in us, went in and ‘he saw and he believed’.

As I have been writing these reflections during Lent I have had an invisible companion, no doubt part of myself, who is not merely a non-believer but who does not just ‘believe’ either. This is an important part of ourselves to befriend and learn from because its questioning curiosity gives space for faith to grow and teach us things we never dreamed of before. We become enthusiastically inauthentic if we just jump up and down saying we ‘believe’. Anyway, the word we translate as ‘believe’ has much more content and outreach of meaning – to have faith in, to be persuaded, to trust. The English word ‘believe’ grows from the word ‘love’.

Something bursts today in humanity’s journey into consciousness, long imagined and much hoped-for. It is not like the working out of a solution to a maths problem or even like finishing a work we have been long engaged on. It is more like the bursting of a seed or the opening of a flower. It can best be recognised if we allow it, moment by moment, to persuade us that it understands us.

‘He comes to us hidden and salvation consists in our recognising him,’ Simone Weil said.

It is like seeing what makes a joke funny or why a pun can both please and irritate us. We don’t have to try too hard, just wait for the penny to drop. Today is just the beginning and if the beginning is so good imagine what the rest will be like.

I hope these Lent Reflections have been of some service for you during our long trek. I would like to thank the great team, led by Leonardo, who got them distributed and very specially the translators who patiently (I think) put up with some last-minute deliveries and for their very generous gift of time and wonderful talent.

One word says it all.

Happy Easter!


Image: Laurence Freeman
Image: Laurence Freeman
Image: Laurence Freeman
Laurence Freeman
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