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Christian Meditation


“Today I know I should be
not a mirror in which another sees
his infirmity, but a window
through which he can see the light.”

Father Jan M. Bereza OSB

Late Fr. Jan Bereza OSB The fire didn't let him stop only on the outside. It was difficult for him to function in structures and systems. He could not fit into any schemes and did not match any role. He was a free mind looking for something else, deeper. Who is my God? Where is my God?
Maksymilian Nawara OSB about Jan Bereza

Born 17 July 1955 in Warsaw, he died on 20 February 2011 in Leszno, Benedictine, and propagator of Christian Meditation. He was born as Mirosław Bereza, a graduate of philosophy at the Academy of Catholic Theology (since 1999 Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University) in Warsaw, in 1982 he joined the Benedictine Monastery in Lubiń and took the name Jan. In 1988 he was ordained a priest, in the years 1999–2002, he was the prior of the monastery community. From 1998 he was a member of the Polish Episcopate Committee for Dialogue with Non-Christian Religions.

In 1988, he founded the Center of Christian Meditation in Lubiń, which he managed until 2006. He collaborated with The World Community for Christian Meditation (WCCM) and Benedictine Commission for Monastic Interreligious Dialogue. He popularized eastern meditation techniques, trying to adapt them to the needs of Christian prayer. He initiated the Christian Meditation Days in Lubiń. In the Center he founded, meditation was taught according to the tradition of monological prayer, with one short invocation from the Bible. He was involved in the Christian-Buddhist dialogue.

Fr. Maksymilian Nawara OSB He understands his role in the Center as "sharing on this path with others who walk with him.” He admits that individual guidance is the most difficult, requiring significant commitment and empathy and sensitivity in the face of the mystery of meeting other people.

He was born on 10 March 1979 in Sosnowiec. He spent his childhood and high school time in his hometown Będzin. As a child, he belonged to scouts. Then came the time for music and autonomy and freedom search, which was expressed by his works and concerts. Robert (baptismal name of the Fr. Maksymilian), together with his family, belonged to the group of so-called cultural Catholics, which means that matters of religion and faith did not matter much to him.

A severe crisis came in high school. The person who in the Future Benedictine life played a unique role at that time was a schoolmate of his. Robert asked many difficult questions. He couldn’t remain indifferent. However, the repentance did not prove to be a slow process, but it lasted three months when there was a radical turn to God, and a conscious desire to live in His Presence was born. He began to look for new ways of prayer and came across the “The Way of a Pilgrim.” Practice attracted him, but he did not find support in diocesan environments nor knowledge about it. A breakthrough turned out to be nothing special, but holiday stays at his aunt in a small Greater Poland village – Lubiń. There, fascinated by the practice of meditation, eighteen-year-old Robert not only discovers – after a series of previous disappointments – the charisma of St. Benedict but also learns about the existence of the Center of Christian Meditation, founded and run by Fr. John Bereza. This event and the accompanying condition of spiritual fulfillment is a turning point in his previous searches.

The confirmation and consequence of this experience are joining the Benedictine order in 1998. The practice of meditation becomes part of himself, and, as a monk, he participates, whenever possible, in sessions led by Father Jan. In 2006, after twenty years, Fr. John Bereza OSB, the evangelist of Christian Meditation in Poland, ended his Center ministration. The twenty-eight-year-old Br Maksymilian Nawara OSB takes over the running of the Center. His new role raises many questions and doubts, because meditation grew out of his previous way of life, constituting its integral part, which the young monk initially did not want to combine with running the Center. However, nothing much changed in his approach to teaching meditation. He understands his role in the Center as “sharing on this path with others who walk with him. „He admits that individual guidance is the most difficult, requiring significant commitment and empathy and sensitivity in the face of the mystery of meeting other people.

The Center of Christian Meditation, along with his spiritual guardian, is continually developing, acquiring a specific character, rooted in Christian monasticism, and at the same time, open to dialogue with Zen Buddhism. On the one hand, theological studies, Syrian language learning and trips of Fr. Maksymilian to India, on the other hand – fascination with Jesus Prayer as well as personal search for contact with a living, different religious tradition – all this decides about the current nature, specificity and activity of the Center of Christian Meditation in Lubiń. Participants in sessions outside the spiritual haven of prayer, silence, and retreat have a unique opportunity to meet the ancient heritage of Greek and Oriental Christianity. However, during sessions in interreligious dialogue, they can participate in meetings with teachers representing a different Japanese Zen line in the Soto tradition.

At the General Chapter of the Annunciation Benedictine Congregation in the Abbey of St. Scholastica in Subiaco, Italy, on 09 September 2018, Fr. Maksymilian Nawara OSB was elected as a new Abbot President of Congregation. Report and photos from Abbey’s Benediction from 10 September 2018 in Subiaco [click here]

Dariusz Hybel „We are invited, moment by moment, to cultivate Love Presence in the Uncreated.
Life verifies spirituality. No illusions. Also
these meditative..."

Dariusz Hybel

He was born on 3 October 1966 r. in Głogów (conceived in January in the same city), son of Janina and Jerzy.

He was associated with the Center of Christian Meditation in Lubiń since February 1991, long-standing assistant of Fr. John Bereza, whom he met for the first time in 1989 during Buddhist Days organized by the Verbist priests of the Pieniężno Meetings with Religions. In 2006 Fr. Maksymilian invited him to jointly lead the practice and in 2010 to conduct meditation sessions in Center independently.

Dariusz Hybel graduated from philosophy in Poznań (Adam Mickiewicz University – Saint John of the Cross higher degree), from theology (Pontifical Faculty of Theology in Wrocław – graduation), The Gestalt Psychotherapy School (Krakow). He participated in the classes of the Carmelitanum Institute of Spirituality (Poznan), and also graduated from the Coach Academy at the Poznań School of Banking.

In the years 1993–2004, he was actively associated with politics and self-government (i.a. in 1998, he co-founded a civic organization, the so-called “Poznan Pedestrian Party” in the years 1998–2002 he was a councilor of the Poznan City Council).

As a journalist, he wrote hundreds of texts on socio-economic, political and religious topics; he cooperated with “Dziennik Poznański,” weeklys “Najwyższy Czas!”, “Niedziela”; in 1997, he was editor-in-chief of the weekly “Wielkopolanin.” He wrote two books about the functioning of the European Union from the perspective of a conservative (field of moral values) and a libertarian (field of economics). Currently, he is the deputy editor-in-chief of the magazine “Głos dla Życia.”

The Center of Christian Meditation in Lubiń is an important spiritual place for him. It was here that his search for the practice of prayer gained power.

Staying every day, like the vast majority of participants in a meditation session, outside the monastery, he knows the challenges perfectly – often painful – combining Christian spirituality and the secular life. Although at a deep level, there is no “secular” and „monastic” life. He has experienced that the relationship with God and following suit Jesus must find its concrete, individual expression in everyday life: „We are invited, moment by moment, to cultivate Love Presence in the Uncreated. Life verifies spirituality. No illusions. Also, these meditative…”