Modern conditions have so vastly changed from those of antique and medieval times that it is necessary to remind readers that until about the sixteenth century in Catholic countries, the teaching of meditation to the laity was prohibited. It was a subject to be studied by ecclesiastics only, and an art to be practised in monastic circles only. When the Renaissance brought a relaxing of this reserve, it was at first in favour of the higher social classes alone. Not till the eighteenth century was it available to all classes.
-- Notebooks Category 4: Elementary Meditation > Chapter 1: Preparatory > # 103