guided meditation

It is helpful to see these days before Easter as a week of retreat, and here in New Zealand in response to the COVID-19 threat we are required to retreat from all contact with people outside of our households during these lockdown weeks.

Here is the first of the prayer podcasts – not too many words here, just 15 minutes of gentle reflection with a lot of silence, beginning with the sound of church bells, a traditional call to prayer. Simply find a comfortable spot, a room on your own or a corner with headphones, press play and let the meditation guide you .

An Invitation:

You might like to savour some of Pope Francis’ reflections from his Palm Sunday 2019 homily.

Jesus shows us how to face moments of difficulty and the most insidious of temptations by preserving in our hearts a peace that is neither detachment nor superhuman impassivity, but confident abandonment to the Father and to his saving will, which bestows life and mercy. He shows us this kind of abandonment by spurning, at every point in his earthly ministry, the temptation to do things his way and not in complete obedience to the Father. From the experience of his forty days in the desert to the culmination of his Passion, Jesus rejects this temptation by his obedient trust in the Father.

Today, too, by his entrance into Jerusalem, he shows us the way. For in that event, the evil one, the prince of this world, had a card up his sleeve: the card of triumphalism. Yet the Lord responded by holding fast to his own way, the way of humility.

Triumphalism tries to make it to the goal by shortcuts and false compromises. It wants to jump onto the carriage of the winner. It lives off gestures and words that are not forged in the crucible of the cross; it grows by looking askance at others and constantly judging them inferior, wanting, failures… One subtle form of triumphalism is spiritual worldliness, which represents the greatest danger, the most treacherous temptation threatening the Church (De Lubac). Jesus destroyed triumphalism by his Passion.

…Humility does not mean denying reality: Jesus really is the Messiah, the King.

…Yet at the same time the heart of Jesus was moving on another track, on the sacred path known to him and the Father alone: the path that leads from “the form of God” to “the form of a servant”, the path of self-abasement born of obedience “unto death, even death on a cross” (Phil 2:6-8). He knows that true triumph involves making room for God and that the only way to do that is by stripping oneself, by self-emptying. To remain silent, to pray, to accept humiliation. There is no negotiating with the cross: one either embraces it or rejects it. By his self-abasement, Jesus wanted to open up to us the path of faith and to precede us on that path.

…Festive acclamations and brutal torture; the silence of Jesus throughout his Passion is profoundly impressive. He also overcomes the temptation to answer back, to act like a “superstar”. In moments of darkness and great tribulation, we need to keep silent, to find the courage not to speak, as long as our silence is meek and not full of anger. The meekness of silence will make us appear even weaker, more humble. Then the devil will take courage and come out into the open. We need to resist him in silence, “holding our position”, but with the same attitude as Jesus. He knows that the battle is between God and the prince of this world, and that what is important is not putting our hand to the sword but remaining firm in faith. It is God’s hour. At the hour that God comes forth to fight, we have to let him take over. Our place of safety will be beneath the mantle of the holy Mother of God. As we wait for the Lord to come and calm the storm (cf. Mt 4:37-41), by our silent witness in prayer we give ourselves and others “an accounting for the hope that is within [us]” (1 Pet 3:15). This will help us to live in the sacred tension between the memory of the promises made, the suffering present in the cross, and the hope of the resurrection.

13 Responses to "guided meditation"
  1. Thank you Fr. John for the “blessed assurance, Jesus is mine”. May we all journey close to him this week.

  2. Thanks so much Fr John,
    A great way to start the day.
    And the lesson of humility shows me exactly what I need to do…… keep quiet and let God take care of the resentment in my heart, asking Him to remove it and replace it with compassion for the person I am dealing with.

  3. Joy to the heart and mind on Palm Sunday …
    Thank you for sharing such a beautiful model of Meditation Prayer this morning.

    Our innate call is to clear our mind, to relax and to be inwardly focused, no longer focused on the external. Our Christian Faith helps us to connect with mindfulness and dignity …… peace, perception, self-awareness and wellbeing.

    Thank you for journeying with us all again this year on our pathway to Eastertime
    with the silence and stillness of humility and hopefulness. +


    Meditation prayer quells our unsettling feelings, emotions and anxieties.

  4. Listening to this this meditation with my headphones on, during the silent moments I heard the amplified beat of my own heart, which for me is always a reminder of how my being totally depends on Another.

    We live quite near our parish chuch. Often at this hour I or one of our fellow parishioners will be be ringing the bell as a call to Mass. How sad that this Palm Sunday we will not be hearing that bell ring out.

  5. Even longer times of silence during the mediations would be good, Fr John. Some of us can take time to collect our thoughts before moving on.

  6. Thank you Fr John for guiding us through this moments of silence to connect and reconnect in silence. Precious moments. It is amazing the power of the guided meditation that connects wherever locally and globally in the stillness of silence.

  7. Thanks, Father John forThe Guided Mediation it most useful this morning. When we live in a Didtraced world the ring of the bell brings us back to reality. Praying for our friends etc was so natural and for those in need.
    I will miss your FFF when lent is over.

  8. So special to be led in a guided meditation. I appreciate your ministry, John. The bells reminded me of the church at Southern Star Abbey, Kopua, and the monks there.

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