“We strive to be a soul-inspiring, mind-stretching, heart-healing center of unconditional surrender to the freedom of God, a place of hope and hospitality.”
Mission Statement, Cathedral Church of St. Paul
Why do we have a Cathedral Meditation Center?
The Cathedral Meditation Center is part of the Cathedral structure and programming, through which we affirm that each of us, individually and collectively, needs to nurture our faith throughout adulthood. Begun in 2001 as part of the Cathedral Without Walls program, and continued with the Long Range Plans of 2006 and 2011, the Center is a resource for the people of St. Paul's, the Episcopal diocese, and the wider Christian community of Vermont and nearby New York.
Meditation groups meet:
- Tuesday evenings at 5:30 (throughout the year)
- Wednesdays at 10:30 am (throughout the year)
- Friday mornings at 7:15 (except July and August)
We also offer a Contemplative Holy Eucharist - Modified Rite 1, on Sundays at 8:00 a.m.
What is the place of meditation in the life of the Spirit?
Meditation is universal spiritual wisdom and a practice that we find at the core of all the great religious traditions. Meditation leads us from the mind to the heart. It is a way of simplicity, silence and stillness. It can be practiced by anyone from wherever on your life’s journey. We only need to be clear about the practice, begin – and keep on beginning!
Be still and know that I am God – Psalm 46:10
What is Christian meditation?
Christian meditation is the practice of quieting our minds, thereby opening ourselves to the Spirit of God already indwelling. Although we may think of meditation as the provenance of Eastern spirituality, it actually has a long and venerable presence within Christianity. Silent, imageless prayer using the repetition of a prayer word or mantra, is rooted in the New Testament. Later, this form of prayer was taught by John Cassian and the 4th century Desert Christians, and is also found in the fourteenth century work, The Cloud of Unknowing. The practice has often seen a resurgence during times of societal upheaval, not unlike our own.
The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God – Romans 8:26-27
Meditation assists participants as they grow in God's spirit and develop relationships of love and trust within community. It is a discipline that gradually and surely allows Christ to stretch our minds and hearts from within. As we grow in the Spirit, we find we are propelled outward to live God's compassion, peace, and justice in the world.
Where does our modern meditation practice come from?
We practice meditation as taught by Dom John Main, OSB (1926-1982), and as carried on through the interdenominational World Community for Christian Meditation. Inspired by John Cassian and the Desert Fathers and Mothers, Dom Main created a simple discipline that is both modern and timeless. It enables us to get back to the essentials of the Christian experience, to the prayer of the heart, to the experience of Christ within, and to the indwelling Spirit.
How do we meditate together in weekly meditation groups?
Our weekly Meditation Groups teach and anchor the practice of Christian Meditation. Belonging to a group helps strengthen individual meditation practice at home. At St Paul’s, lay-led meetings typically include:
- Centering music
- A short talk or reading on meditation
- 30 minutes of silent meditation
- A question and answer period
- A short prayer that ends the session
Newcomers and “drop ins” are most welcome. Please come a few minutes before the start time.
How can I learn to meditate?
Sit down. Sit still and upright. Close your eyes lightly. Sit relaxed but alert. Silently, interiorly, begin to say a single word. The World Community for Christian Meditation recommends the prayer-phrase “Maranatha.” Recite it as four syllables of equal length. Listen to it as you say it, gently, but continuously.
Do not think or imagine anything - spiritual or otherwise. Thoughts and images will likely come, but let them pass. Just keep returning your attention - with humility and simplicity - to saying your word in faith from the beginning to the end of your meditation.
Meditate each morning and evening for between twenty and thirty minutes.
Where is St Paul’s Meditation Center?
The meditation room, which is to the left of the Cathedral entrance, within the office suite, provides space for individuals and groups to meditate and also a lending library of readings, books, video and audio recordings.
How do we deepen our practice?
Christian Meditation Days occur periodically and are designed for anyone who wants to explore this spiritual path, as well as for people who currently practice Christian meditation. Programs feature a guest speaker or video presentation from the World Community for Christian Meditation, with discussion. All sessions include meditation.
For further information please contact the Church office with your name and phone numbner, and one of the Meditation Center leaders will get back to you. Even better, come 15 minutes early to either the Tuesday or the Wednesday group meditation times, and we will be happy to give you an introduction, or attend our Contemplative Eucharist at 8:00 a.m. on Sunday mornings.
For questions or information please contact Gail Ernevad (firstname.lastname@example.org).