From the Revd John Brown
Sir, - The decline of religious communities lamented by the
Archbishop of Canterbury in his recent address to some of their
representatives at Lambeth Palace (News, 4
April) is symptomatic of a wider malaise: the widespread
neglect of contemplative prayer throughout the Church.
Archbishop Welby referred to them as being treated by the
mainline of the Church like trainspotters on the platform "doing
something esoteric and different" compared with commuters busily
going to and fro.
On the contrary, our congregations need to be taught that
contemplation, the quiet waiting upon God in silence with "the mind
in the heart", is accessible to every man, woman, and child in his
or her workaday world.
In his Holland Lectures published in 1964, Michael Ramsey spoke
of seeing "some significant signs of a new discovery of
contemplative prayer, the prayer of quiet waiting upon God is the
setting of everyday life", with a growing interest in mysticism.
Sadly, we are still waiting for the mainstream of the Church to
become aware that "the pearl of great price" of silent prayer is
available to every seeker after a more direct apprehension of the
living God in his or her personal experience, without which the
renewal of the Church will never be achieved.
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