Christophe André: “Meditation enriches my prayer”

Christophe André: “Meditation enriches my prayer”

How is it different from prayer?

In prayer, we address someone – God – and there is an intention: to ask, to thank, to celebrate… We use words. In mindfulness meditation, it is about making yourself present to what is there, to yourself, to your breathing, to your thoughts. Suffice to say that it seems to be the opposite: we don’t address anyone, we don’t expect anything, we try to be in what we experience, without needing to resort to words. These practices therefore seem contradictory.

However, I think that in reality, they are very complementary. It seems to me that our prayer cannot be deep, just, rise towards God, if it is not preceded by a time when we are silent, where we free ourselves from our cogitations.

I think back to a communion mass where there was a happy mess, a party atmosphere where people were more preoccupied with taking photos or talking with friends. At one point the priest asked, “Open your heart to God!” » ; but it was impossible: no one was really there, in spiritual openness. I even think that if we are not collected in the presence of what we are and what we do, we can certainly pray, but in an automatic, dishabitant way.

How has monastic life opened you to meditation?

Among the Benedictines, I have the impression of being a small parasite who benefits from the large monastic body. I am fortunate to be in contact with people with extremely strong faith and who, through their presence, their songs, their prayers and their way of living, are a way and an example. I feel a sort of osmosis with them. They have something that I touch in bits or moments. I feel like an amateur among champions of the faith! I enjoy being with them. They lie beyond the distinction between meditation and prayer: they achieve the union of the two. Great believers and great meditators no longer make this difference.

What has meditation brought to your spiritual life?

It has enriched it considerably. As soon as we nourish our inner life through meditation, we come to questions of a spiritual nature. In this sense, meditation has reactivated, nourished and multiplied my times of prayer. Every evening, when I think about the good things I experienced during the day, I quickly go “into prayer mode”. I think back to three pleasant moments and say, “Thank you, Lord, You allowed me to experience this. » When I feel like I could die, and it doesn’t, I thank Him.

Some time ago, I was waiting for medical results with a very uncertain outcome. I went to pray in the hospital chapel. I meditated and then gave thanks. I said, “I don’t know what’s going to happen to me, I trust You. But whatever happens to me, thank you for allowing me to experience everything I have experienced. » I really believe that meditation has helped me to encounter moments like these more often.

After meditating, sometimes I pick up the Bible. I will look for passages that I explore endlessly. My favorites are the Psalms, the Book of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Book of Jeremiah.

How can meditation help Christians in their faith?

Secular mindfulness meditation has occupied a place gradually neglected by the Christian tradition. Today, the Church realizes that it did not see the meditative wave coming, which responds to a need for interiority. To the believer, I would happily say the same thing as to a patient: meditating will not replace care but will add to it. Likewise, meditation is not intended to replace prayer but to make it deeper and more fruitful.

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