Thursday, October 18, 2012

Archbishop of Canterbury and the Lie of Contemplative Prayer

 On Wednesday, October 10 the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams addressed the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization. He was invited to the Synod by Pope Benedict XVI.

The mystical tradition of contemplative prayer is ancient, and shows up in every major religion in some form. Buddhists are deeply contemplative, disciplined observers of their own minds, dedicated to understanding, accepting and overcoming suffering. Hindu mystics have contemplated the many attributes of God and developed a dynamic system of worship that is often viewed as polytheistic, by westerners and even by Hindus. Sufis, who make up the mystical arm of Islam, have traditions of  mystical prayer expressed in dance and poetry.[1]

Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, called for a revival of centuries-old monastic traditions to help people become “properly human.” He is suggesting that schoolchildren and people with no religious background should be encouraged to try meditation as a way to help them understand Christianity. Reported in the UK's newspaper, The Telegraph, the Archbishop believes that it will better help the modern world deal with “chaotic” emotions as a result of living in an “insane” consumerist society driven by advertising and the banking system.

The statement coincides with the marking of the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council, which reformed key aspects of the Catholic Church. It also marks the start of the “Year of Faith,” an attempt by the Catholic Church to re-enthuse worshippers.

The practice of the inner life was practiced by Ignatius Loyola, a Jesuit, who eventually formed the Society of Jesus. Based on an article in Lighthouse Trails (not an endorsement), the writings and practices of St. Ignatius Loyola, “cultivate the ability to discern the divine components” within us. This follows the course of thinking that Thomas Merton had – that divinity is already within, and mystical practices help us to realize what is already there. That is why Merton said,
It is a glorious destiny to be a member of the human race, … now I realize what we all are … If only they [people] could all see themselves as they really are. I suppose the big problem would be that we would bow down and worship each other…. At the center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and by illusion, a point of pure truth….This little point … is the pure glory of God in us. It is in everybody. (Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander, pp. 157-158)
The practice of indoctrinating children with this philosophy is widespread, and involves the Evangelical Church. Sunday School curriculum has been developed to create encourage these pagan practices in the young. NavPress publishes one of these programs, and likely to be coming to a church near you. It is a great, subtle lie. Don't be taken in by it!

Related Post
Transcendental Meditation vs. Contemplative/Centering Prayer: A Comparison
Passion Conferences: Contemplative Prayer for Social Change