A BRISBANE Catholic who has found solace in Christian meditation while being prevented from attending Mass has published a book of poems on his practice.
Director of the World Community for Christian Meditation Benedictine Father Laurence Freeman has written a commendation for the book Anointing the Soul – Poetry, Meditation and Healing.
Paul Kraus, a parishioner at St Benedict’s, Mango Hill, north of Brisbane, drew on his many years of meditation in writing the poetry.
Christian meditation is an important part of Mr Kraus’ life and he leads a meditation group in St Benedict’s parish.
He draws on his own personal experience of the healing he experienced through the practice during three separate battles with cancer.
Mr Kraus has written several books, including two other poetry collections, but he said this latest edition was particularly relevant during COVID-19 crisis.
“It is not so much about the method or the system of meditation, whether we meditate – which is a form of prayer – or whether we meditate in the Benedictine tradition, which these poems are, or any other tradition …,” he said.
He said people like Fr Thomas Merton and Fr Henri Nouwen had always written that meditation was therapeutic for the soul.
“This is what the book is about. These poems, each of them, look at a different way that we bring ourselves into God’s presence in stillness and silence,” he said.
“In a sense, this book is like a piece of evangelism for all Christians, especially in our Catholic community, to spend time with God in stillness, in silence, in holiness and especially in this time of this COVID crisis where we don’t have access to the sacraments.”
Mr Kraus said Christian meditation was like a sacrament of God in which He speaks to us.
“I don’t speak with any authority but in this kind of re-generation that we currently live in, especially where I myself very personally terribly miss attending Mass – it’s awful – I do find that in the stillness and silence of God’s presence in Christian meditation we are kind of re-generated, so to speak,” he said.
Fr Freeman, in commending Mr Kraus’ latest book, said the poems “clearly arise from a strong and sincere practice of contemplative prayer”.
“For those who are already meditating they will share the common pilgrimage and for those who may be new to this path I am sure they will be an incentive to begin and persevere,” he said.