We began teaching Centering
Prayer using the sacred word as the symbol of consent to God’s presence
and action because most retreatants were used to hearing the word of God
in scripture and in the liturgy. We thought they would find the use of a
sacred word congenial to their cultural background and religious
training. Later we continued to present the prayer in essentially the
same way but referred to the other symbols of breath and glance as
options that some might be more attracted to. Some people prefer the
sacred breath as their symbol or have tended to move toward the breath
as symbol as their practice matures. The breath is what the term
“spirit” means in the biblical languages; a symbol of life that is
always present. Just noticing the breath is a very gentle, subtle and
hardly noticeable practice as we use it. It is not, as in the Eastern
traditions, a practice of following the breath physically or counting
the breaths, which are concentrative procedures. In the long run we will
tend to lose whatever symbol we choose as we grow into the primary
experience of Centering Prayer which is complete self-surrender.
Consenting to the presence and action of God is the essence of the
practice of Centering Prayer.
Jesus exhorts us
in Matthew 6:6 to “go to your inner room, close the door and pray to
in secret, and your Father who sees in secret, will reward you.” It
seems to be a call to hide from our ordinary self-awareness. In any
case, you are not thinking of yourself in a prayer that does not have
any conceptual content.
I believe that
contemplation is an innate capacity of human nature, available to
everyone just by being born. We already have it; we just don’t think so.
We can’t, of course, acquire pure contemplation by trying to get it.
That kind of effort is just another ego trip. Some people may say, “just
relax, do nothing, and it will arise of itself.” But it is not that
simple. No doubt God works on our psyche in different ways, at different
times and on different occasions. The Spirit is softening us up in every
way, of which inner purification is one of the most obvious.
To have a state
of no thought at all is not the goal. The presence of God is so clear to
faith that it doesn’t matter how we are inclined to interpret it at any
particular moment. In Centering Prayer we do not think about anything
deliberately, not even about our felt experience of God or our felt
absence of God. It doesn’t matter. We need to be just as relaxed and at
peace with thoughts going by as without thoughts going by. God is just
as much in thoughts as in complete silence.
leads to interior silence and interior silence into the letting go of
interior dialogue. Then follows a sense of stillness, even though there
is always present some attentiveness to God’s presence.
As soon as we
understand something, we have to be detached from our understanding in
order to keep abreast of the exquisite delicacies of the divine action.
When we think about our understanding or notice our feelings rather than
just being with whatever state we are in, we muddy the waters so that
the divine light cannot penetrate to the bottom of our being.
The language of
the mystics speaks of waking up and of staying awake. Prayer in secret
is not a state of suspended animation. It is rather the habit of
disregarding particular perceptions and surrendering to the divine
presence just as it presents itself. In this perspective, the absence of
God is also God.
Thomas Keating, O.C.S.O, CO Newsletter, June 2011
With just a little bit of
attention, it is easy to notice how prevalent group identification and
group consciousness is in the world today. It is easiest to see it at
its extreme, for example, in fanatical loyalty to sport teams and
political parties or movements. It’s harder to see in the more subtle
ways it plays out in our ordinary, every day lives. This level of
consciousness is known as ‘mythic membership,’ and is described by
Thomas Keating in Chapter 5 of Invitation to Love:
“Over identification with
the group is the dominant characteristic of mythic membership
consciousness. When we derive our identity from the social unit of which
we are a member, we give the group unquestioning loyalty. The sense of
belonging to something important gives us feelings of security,
pleasure, and power.”
Another way of saying this
is we over identify with the cultural and emotional conditioning we all
acquired, and this conditioning coalesces around groups and their belief
systems, whether ethnic, religious, political, social, family, etc.
During adolescence we identify with our peer group as a means of
developing socialization skills and group acceptance. It is meant to
help us grow and flourish; it is not meant to fixate us at this
particular stage and bind us there for a lifetime. Basing our
consciousness on group identity can be very powerful and demanding, even
hypnotizing, and when it reaches this level of identification, mythic
membership prevents us from identifying with our own integrity in divine
relationship with God.
cultural and emotional conditioning becomes such an attachment; it
becomes our ‘skin,’ our false self. It is not surprising then that we
don’t even notice our actions and reactions to our external and internal
worlds because we are so identified with them. Perhaps you’ve heard this
wisdom story: A little fish asked its mother, ‘What is water?’ The
mother tossed her on to the sand and she began to struggle, flipping
around on the beach. Then the mother pushed her back into the water and
the little one swam away. She learned the answer to her question.
We have been
lulled into ignorance and illusion of who we are. The obvious truth of
the Indwelling Presence is right before our eyes and we deny it,
reverting to our usual programmed behavior based on social expectations.
Mythic membership is one of the obstacles we encounter on the spiritual
journey. If we can’t let go of mythic membership, then we can’t
surrender to God!
Centering Prayer helps us see our behaviors and mis-identifications and
turn them over to God through our commitment to consent to God’s
presence and action within. The gentle return
to the sacred word actually interrupts clinging to our thoughts - which
are always rooted in our preoccupation with ourselves. When we let go of
our thoughts during our Centering Prayer period, even for a split
second, we open to God. And little by little we are able to ignore or
turn away from our desire to cling to our self reflections about who we
think we are and embrace silence, God’s first language. In this silence
we acquire a space between our thoughts and there the truth of
who we are emerges. We become present to what is in the moment.
So in Centering
Prayer, we move from struggling with letting go of thoughts, to a
diminishment of thoughts and finally, a diminishment of our own self
awareness. In the silence that emerges we gradually grow in faith, trust
and willingness to surrender to God, one consent at a time, simply
letting go of thoughts.
Newsletter, June 2012
The spiritual life combines
an ever-deepening practice of interior silence and service of others
motivated by the love for God. Both are necessary for the spiritual
journey because they cultivate a disposition of alert receptivity and
openness to the guidance of the Spirit.
Contemplation and action are
manifested in the practice of servant leadership. For a while, the
Church of the Middle Ages nearly lost the vision of Christ as servant
leader and joined forces with the political powers of the time. Maybe
that was historically inevitable because there was no other kind of
force to establish a safe society for people than the institutional
Church. But when any group affirms its elite status or superiority over
all other groups, there is a hazard that the ego will take possession of
that idea and go for it, because now it has an excuse or motive for
justifying all kinds of egoic forms of domination.
servant leadership to his apostles over and over again. What we do for
others is not to fix them, which presumes that we know how to fix them
and presupposes that we are coming from a superior position. We are
called by God to care for others as a privilege. All the members of the
human family are members of what St. Paul calls the Mystical Body of
Christ. He doesn’t need our leadership talents. But he does appreciate
and need our practical love and humble service. He manifested the divine
humility by sacrificing all the honor and privileges of his nature as
the Son of God. If we made that disposition our own, trying to fix
situations would change into allowing God to heal the wounds that are
impossible for us to deal with, let alone to fix. By making ourselves
the servant of those we serve, the divine healing work of Christ can
flow through us without our egos getting in the way. Servant leadership
leads to gratitude for being able to serve.
The most profound
truth regarding the spiritual journey is that we are being transformed
into Christ. We are turning ourselves over completely to God in the full
consciousness that this is a service that we are offering for the
healing of the whole human family, not just for our particular
Our heart in the
sense of our inmost being has to become big enough through grace to take
into it everyone who has ever lived – past, present, and to come. We are
loved by God to the point of his
becoming one with us and our particular experience of the human
condition. The cross is suffering
endured out of love for all the members of the Mystical Body and their
transformation into oneness
with the Father.
Thomas Keating, O.C.S.O, CO Newsletter, June 2018
THE IMPORTANCE OF RELATIONSHIP
Beloved members of our one
I had a visit with Thomas a
few days before I started writing this article. He wanted to see me to
thank me for my work over the years. This is the man that we all owe so
much gratitude for what he has untiringly and endlessly given us all his
years. And yet, here he was thanking others for their contributions of
service. It was mind boggling and poignant to me. He thanked me for
loving people into life. He wrote a poem about the impact Sarah Johnson*
had on his life. Here is this man at the end of his life, in pain, and
still giving his all back into the universe. If ever I had an example of
what it means to Love unconditionally, this moment in time was one huge
example. The greatness of his giving, the greatness of his humility,
left me with nowhere to go, nothing to do, and the recognition that
doing nothing takes a long, long time.
What I want to pass on at
this time is this: my debt to him is monumental; my service to you all
over the years —whether in retreat form, sits and talks, or as a bridge
for a new way of governing—is both an honor and a privilege. The vision
of Contemplative Outreach is “We embrace the process of transformation
in Christ, both in ourselves and in others, through the practice of
Centering Prayer.” The big emphasis is on the words PROCESS and
PRACTICE. The process of transformation contains both joy and pain.
Practice takes us through both and we land at the other side. At this
writing, Thomas was experiencing pain and using practice to allow him to
reach the other side. What an amazing model he is for all of us as we
attempt to move through our lives with grace and strength.
Thank you for allowing me to
December 2009 issue of Contemplative Outreach News for an article about
Sarah Johnson, written by Fr. Thomas.
Newsletter, June 2018
“The heart of the Christian
message is Love—to love one another as Christ has loved us and to love
our neighbour as ourselves.”
Love is the energy that
relates us one to another as human beings. It unites each of us to the
center of ourselves and, beyond that center, to the Indwelling Spirit.
The love that we share is fueled by God’s love for us. It is an endless
supply of love flowing through us. As Christians, we call it Grace.
We can’t isolate ourselves
from interacting with others; our families, friends, neighbors, anyone
we meet in our daily encounters. Unless we behave in a loving
way—starting with loving ourselves—we are not allowing the love of God
to flow. We can’t say, “I love God, but I don’t love my neighbor.”
cultivates the freedom to say and do what the Spirit prompts us to say
or do, without exceptions or conditions. Keeping an open heart, mind and
intention, refreshed daily by our Centering Prayer practice, is vitally
important. We begin to grasp that, as we sit in silence each day, we are
holding and supporting one another in the energy of love.
It is an approach from “the
ground up” to being human, to being lovers of God and lovers of one
In the silence the only
thing we have to do is to be present and open. The Spirit does the work.
The Spirit binds us to each other and we let go of our thoughts that
separate us. That is to say, we let go of judgments, assumptions and
opinions of who we are and who others are, and remain open to find out
the truth of who we really are in God.
Whether we are Christian,
Jewish, Buddhist, or Hindu is not important. These words label our
belief systems. What we share and what unites us is our human condition.
If we let go and let God live our lives for us and act from a place of
love, transformation is possible. We find that differences can be
resolved and peace can be part of our lived experience. Grace, then, is
the recognition that there is no separation between us and all that is
good and true.
Contrary to popular opinion
about the nature of contemplation—that it is simply a withdrawal into
oneself—contemplation is both silence and action. Contemplation places
us in the immediacy of open presence, which is living life as it is one
moment at a time.
The humble giving of
ourselves, one to the other, in order to understand the movements of
love and the free flow of Grace with open heartfulness is the joy that
is lying in wait for us through the contemplative life.
from CO e-News, Dec. 2007
OUT OF A STONE
Fr. Thomas Keating
Can the Creator of all lure
poetry out of a stone?
Or cause a stirring of Divine Love in a human heart?
All is possible for the
Creator of all,
Who loves to manifest the impossible
In endless configurations.
As the false self
And the ego becomes a servant,
Everything turns into poetry
And everything becomes a moment of Divine Love.
But, the separate self lingers on.
Once the separate self has
been laid to rest,
The Divine Presence alone remains,
And the Creator of all becomes all in all.
The silence of the Creator
Drowning out everything else,
And hiding in endless creativity.
RE "VENI SANCTE SPIRITUS"
video was created by Rachelle Rule, secretary of the COP Secretariat,
who passed away August 30, 2014. In her YouTube video,
published on May 8, 2009, Rachelle had the following notes:
“Taken from the
CD "Inner Room"…Taize / Contemplative music featuring Fr. Thomas Keating
reading Scripture for Lectio Divina. This cut also features Soprano
soloist Rebecca Gale together with the Spiritus and Aunyx Choruses. CD
Produced by Jonathan Blair. Video taken from the YouTube and edited by
chelrule. Remastered on May 10, 2009.”
To date, the
video has had more than 37,000 viewers. Here are a few comments:
margaret (8 years ago)
“...i could sense the angels singing with this... :)
thank-you.... Father, Son, Spirit... :) “
mysticoversoul (6 years ago)
“Thank you so very much for posting this music video of the much-loved
Taize chant "Veni, Sancte Spiritus." I have been so taken by the video's
sacred quality that I have embedded it at my Web site at
contemplatingtruth (dot) WordPress (dot) com. Again thank you.”
Schultz (5 years ago)
“Beautiful and touching and has real healing qualities. Thank you for
this precious gift. Veni, Sancte Spiritus…”
Rowan (3 years ago)
“Well, thank you. The best rendition of one of life's most perfect songs
should never be kept in 'private.' “
May Rachelle rest
in God’s embrace forever, and surrounded by the angels singing “Veni,
The essence and
heart of Centering Prayer is consenting to God’s presence and action
within. It leads to contemplation and its continuing development.
qualities reveal how this consent deepens through daily practice.
arises in consenting to God’s presence within. External silence supports
this movement and leads to interior silence.
flows from interior silence. It disregards the endless conversation we
have with ourselves and rests in the experience of God’s presence.
is the growing awareness of our oneness with the whole human family and
with all creation. It is sensitive to the ever-present inspirations of
the Spirit, not only during the time of formal prayer, but in the
details of everyday life.
is an expression of solidarity that is an inner call to serve God and
others based on the realization that God is loving and serving them
through us. In other words, God in us is serving God in others.
is what Jesus called “prayer in secret” (Matt. 6:6). This is the
experience of God’s presence beyond rational concepts and preoccupation
with our thoughts and desires. Interior silence tends to move into
solitude and then into stillness. Stillness is the habitat of
contemplative prayer. As Saint John of the Cross teaches, contemplation
is the inflowing of God into our souls, and in the Christian tradition,
is looked upon as pure gift. In actual fact, it is a gift that has
already been given. Just by being human, one has this capacity. Many
advanced mystics affirm that contemplation is the natural state of human
consciousness, of which the Garden of Eden in Genesis is a symbol.
is the growing capacity to live in the midst of the dualities of daily
life in such a way as to integrate contemplation and action. Even in
enormous activity, endless distraction, and immense concerns, we can
remain in the divine presence. That presence invites us to enter the
inmost center of our being where God dwells and where the Spirit
inspires all our actions. Simplicity is the final integration and
unification of all our human capabilities. It is the peak sustained by a
whole mountain of interconnected and interdependent parts, in which each
acts according to its particular nature in complete harmony with every
other part. Simplicity arises out of the immense complexity of human
nature as it is brought into unity through letting go of attachments and
trusting in God.
The first step
towards this simplicity is simplicity of lifestyle and the cultivation
of interior silence through contemplation. Contemplative prayer and
action under its influence gradually liberates us from attachments both
conscious and unconscious that cause the loss of interior peace. It
moderates the tumultuous emotions that can tear us apart and undermine
the sense of being rooted in God and in the state of life we have
not the same as action, but they are not separate. They are distinct,
but God is
as much in one as in the other. It is we who may not be present to one
or the other. Simplicity is based on the truth about ourselves and the
experience of God. It is the acceptance of everything just as it is. The
Holy Spirit can then move us to change what needs to be changed or do
what needs to be done.
Surrender is the total gift of self to God, a movement from divine
union to unity. It marks the beginning of what Jesus calls “eternal
life” as an abiding state of consciousness. Self-surrender through the
practice of Centering Prayer is a traditional path to divine union. The
movements of self-surrender and trust are the work of the Fruits and
Gifts of the Spirit, and of the increasing joy of giving oneself
completely to God.
Ultimate Reality as Unmanifest is to lose oneself completely. This is
the invitation of
the amazing texts in Saint John’s Gospel about our being in God and
God living in us. (cf. Jn 17: 20-22).
Suffering is the
consequence of the fact of living in an imperfect world. For that there
is no cure. Sharing the divine life does not mean that created things
are not good; it is just that they are incapable of fulfilling our
boundless desire for perfect happiness. Nothing could be more down to
earth or more humbling than this ever-present Presence, which just is.
It does not have to prove itself. It does not need to acquire anything.
It just is. Its desire is to make us equal to Itself in the expanding
interior freedom that goes with that unity.
As we experience
the dynamic unfolding of grace, our perspective changes in regard to
God, the spiritual journey, and ourselves. In between these stages there
may be delightful plateaus which are great blessings and have huge
physical, mental, and spiritual effects. The dark nights are
psychological states, and the darkest of all is the spiritual suffering
that arises from being a creature, unable because of our weakness to
handle the difficulties we encounter in this life, but going through
them with invincible confidence in God’s infinite mercy.
— Taken from the Contemplative Outreach December 2017 Newsletter
Thomas Keating: From the
Mind to the Heart
This beautifully illustrated
book with the paintings of Charlotte M. Frieze, comes from the
conversations Fr. Keating had with his friend John Osborne in 2010 for
the film, The Rising Tide of Silence and three years later for
the new film, From the Mind To The Heart. Fr. Keating's thoughts
about silence and contemplation, power and the false self, and
humankind's shifting relationship with God have emerged in the film and
this companion book. $25 USD.
Self-Guided Online Courses
Learn or renew your
practices or deepen your experience of the contemplative life. Available
anytime, anywhere with internet access.
Silence and Centering Prayer
Embracing Living: The
Lectio Divina: Heart to
Heart - Listening and Living with God
A Journey of Discernment
Forgiveness: A Growth in
The Transformation of
And more. Visit the complete
listing on the CO website at Programs>Online Courses.
That We May be One:
Though this term has not
generally been associated with the Christian Tradition, in fact, its
essence runs throughout the New Testament, most prominently in the
Gospel of John and the Letters of Paul. Opening to the Divine Indwelling
through practicing Centering Prayer is the consent to God's presence and
action within us. This separate-self sense gradually evolves into the
conviction of self in God.
Six topics are included:
The Western and Scriptural
Models of Spirituality (15 min.);
The Invitation of the
Christian Contemplative Tradition Beyond Rational Consciousness (19
The Self and Evolving
Consciousness (16 min);
Christian Non-Duality and
Unity Consciousness (18 min.);
The Present Moment and All
That Is (13 min.);
Fallen, Beloved and
Surrendered (17 min.)
DVD package and reflection
booklet: $25 USD
MP3 (audio only) and
reflection booklet PDF : $10 USD
MP4 (video) and reflection
booklet PDF: $15 USD
to God as God Is
This book collects the
intimate talks and daily presentations made by Thomas Keating to people
who have been practicing Centering Prayer for several years, have some
experience of the spiritual journey and especially to those engaged in
some form of contemplative service. $15 USD.
The Will of Divine Love
This book looks at the
process of spiritual evolution in created reality. It also looks at
Centering Prayer and other transformative spiritual practices –
Welcoming Prayer, forgiveness practice and creative self-expression –
that unload the unconscious and help us to enter the “promised land’ and
the inner wealth of our divine inheritance as souls created in God’s
image and likeness. $25 USD.
Solitude: Wherein Wisdom Dwells
Part of the Contemplative
Life Program (CLP), this 97-page booklet focuses on the practice and
disposition of silence and solitude. Centering Prayer and Lectio Divina
feature prominently in the practices of this 40-day mini-retreat, which
includes beautiful images, brief inspirational readings and a suggested
daily practice. Sections of the booklet include prayer in secret;
dimensions of silence; places of solitude; thoughts in solitude; and a
day of silence and solitude, which provides a format for your own
one-day retreat at home. Booklet or PDF version on sale for $10 USD.
Transformation in Christ series with Thomas Keating
all products in all formats:
DVDs with guidebook &
reflections cards (with English
& Spanish subtitles)
English digital version
Spanish digital version
CD with reflection booklet
$20 USD. Mp3 version
Guidebook $20 USD; PDF version
$12 USD; PDF version
Gift of Life: Death &
Dying, Life & Living series with Thomas Keating
all products in all formats:
DVDs with guidebook (with English & Spanish subtitles)
English digital version
Spanish digital version
CD with reflection booklet
$20 USD Mp3 version
$12 USD; PDF version
$12 USD; PDF version
Digital downloads now
available for many products. Get instant fulfillment with no shipping
costs. Search in the online store under Media>Digital Download
A TASTE OF CENTERING PRAYER
“When you pray, go
to your inner room, close the door and pray to your Father in secret.
And your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you.” (Matt.
Centering Prayer is a
simple Christian practice that helps us to locate and take refuge in our
“inner room,” consent to the presence of God-in-2nd-person, and lead us
into deep prayer, devotion, and contemplation of the divine. Largely
popularized in recent decades by Father Thomas Keating, Centering Prayer
traces its origin to the contemplative prayer of the Desert Fathers, the
Lectio Divinia tradition of Benedectine monasticism, and to works like
The Cloud of Unknowing and the writings of St. Teresa of Avila and St.
John of the Cross. It endures to this day as one of the Christian
tradition’s most powerful contemplative practices.
Take 20 minutes out of
your day, and do the following:
Choose a sacred word as
the symbol of your intention to consent to God’s presence and action
within (e.g. God, Christ, I AM, Love, Now, Faith, Amen, etc.).
Sitting comfortably and
with eyes closed, settle briefly and silently introduce the sacred
word as the symbol of your consent to God’s presence and action
When you become aware of
thoughts, return ever-so-gently to the sacred word.
At the end of the prayer
period, remain in silence with eyes closed for a couple of minutes,
before returning to the rest of your day.
About Fr. Thomas
Father Thomas Keating is
considered by many to be one of the few genuinely realized Christian
saints in the world today. He continues to be a prominent voice in the
Christian Centering Prayer movement through the organization he founded,
Contemplative Outreach, an international network committed to renewing
the contemplative dimension of the Gospel in daily life.
-- Taken from Integral
Centering Prayer is
sometimes accused of falling short of true intimacy with Christ. What is
meant by “true intimacy?”
think of prayer as thoughts or feelings expressed in words.
Contemplative prayer, the pure gift of God, is the opening of mind and
heart – our whole being – to the Divine Presence within us, beyond
thinking, conversing, and even consciousness itself.
is a method that prepares our faculties to awaken to the gift of
contemplation. It leads to an intimate relationship with Christ that is
beyond words, and moves into communion with him both in daily prayer and
action. Centering Prayer is Christo-centric and consistent with the
Christian mystical interpretation of the Gospel. Through the work of the
Holy Spirit, Centering Prayer leads to a deeper intimacy with Christ.
Jesus invites us to learn
this kind of prayer in his Discourse at the Last Supper: “I do not pray
for them alone (those at the supper). I also pray for those who through
their preaching will believe in me. All are to be one; just as you
Father are in me and I am in you, so they too are to become one in us.”
And a little later: “The glory you have bestowed on me, I have bestowed
on them, that they may be one as we are one – I in them and you in me.
Thus their oneness will be perfected … May the love with which you
love me dwell in them as I dwell in them myself (John 17: 20-26).”
This is the
teaching that Centering Prayer proposes, following the whole Christian
contemplative tradition, and brought into dialogue with contemporary
psychological, anthropological, and neurological discoveries, as well as
with the wisdom teachings of other religious traditions.
In Catholic theology,
Jesus is not just a human being possessing a complete human nature. He
is the Word made flesh, the Son of God, who in his divine nature assumed
the historical humanity of Jesus. It is through the person of Jesus, the
Divine Human Being, that we are drawn to experience the Eternal Word of
God, not just through abstract theological formulas, but directly.
At Jesus’ baptism
in the Jordan, the Father’s voice rang out saying, “This is my beloved
Son … Listen to him.” This listening points to prayer as an intimate
relationship with God. As listening deepens, so does the relationship
with God, which gradually matures over time until we become one with
him. This is the thrust of the practice of Lectio Divina: first to know
Jesus in his humanity and historical life, then to know him in his
passion, death, and resurrection; then to know Jesus in his
resurrection; and finally to know him in his Ascension and risen life in
The practices of
Centering Prayer and Lectio Divina open us to new levels of responding
to the Spirit of God within. This growing relationship may require
different responses from us as each level unfolds. In other words, the
focus of each level is distinct and produces different results. To grow
in divine love, through the earlier stages of relationship is to
experience a deeper knowledge and love of Christ. They change one’s
perspective not only of God but of all reality.
is not meant to replace other kinds of prayers, rather it casts a new
light and depth of meaning on them. Centering Prayer embraces the
unitive stage of Lectio Divina, as do all Christian prayer practices
that encourage complete surrender to Christ.
The source of
Centering Prayer is the Divine Indwelling, where one is responding to
the call of the Holy Spirit to consent to the Divine Presence and action
within oneself. Through the continuing practice of Centering Prayer, we
experience a deepening commitment to the needs and rights of each member
of the human family and an increasing respect for the interdependence
and oneness of all creation.
As we move from
conversation to communion with God's human and divine nature, Christ, we
experience the divine intimacy as it was practiced in the first few
centuries and preserved in the Christian contemplative tradition both in
the West and in the Eastern Orthodoxy. The contemplative life, already
present within us through the Divine Indwelling, awaits our consent.
Contemplative Outreach Newsletter, June 2016
NEW GOVERNING BOARD IN CO LTD.
An announcement was made in the Dec. Newsletter of CO Ltd. re the
transition from the former Circle of Service to a new Governing Board
“on behalf of all the individuals and all the groups that make up the
Contemplative Outreach community. The Board is now separate from
Management but collaborates closely with it through Gail Fitzpatrick-Hopler,
whose title is now Executive Director.” Its functions include: setting
the overall direction for CO, approving the budget, and hiring/managing
the Executive Director. Like most non-profit boards, it is not involved
in daily operations.
Fr. Carl Arico, a member of the CO leadership team for many, many years
stepped down from his position, believing in the wisdom of passing on
the torch to other volunteers who are willing to serve the organization.
The new members of the Governing Board are Mary Dwyer (Chairperson),
Nick Cole, Lois Snowden, Tom Smith, Thomas Hall, Fr. Gilbert Walker and
Kathy Di Fede. As a primary oversight group, the Board embodies the
vision and mission of CO and upholds the spiritual and service aspects
of CO in harmony with the CO Vision, Theological and Administrative
CONTEMPLATIVE OUTREACH YOU TUBE CHANNEL
To watch videos on You Tube
"Divine love is
compassionate, tender, luminous,
totally self-giving, seeking no reward, unifying everything."
— Thomas Keating
THE BENEFITS OF CENTERING PRAYER
Centering Prayer is a
receptive method of silent prayer that prepares us to receive the gift
of contemplative prayer, prayer in which we experience God's presence
within us, closer than breathing, closer than thinking, closer than
consciousness itself. This method of prayer is both a relationship with
God and a discipline to foster that relationship.
Centering Prayer is not
meant to replace other kinds of prayer. Rather, it adds depth of meaning
to all prayer and facilitates the movement from more active modes of
prayer - verbal, mental or affective prayer - into a receptive prayer of
resting in God. Centering Prayer emphasizes prayer as a personal
relationship with God and as a movement beyond conversation with Christ
to communion with Christ.
To watch on YouTube, please
"A part of the process of
letting go is to forgive ourselves and to trust God enough that if we
are sorry for our misbehaviors, God has completely forgotten about them
and would prefer that we would too. To live in the present moment means
that the past has been integrated into who we are now. To think back
would be a foolish thing to do because we can never judge the
dispositions that we had then with how we now would judge certain
behaviors. ... Part of acceptance is just to be still and surrender to
God knowing that all God wants is our love."
— by Thomas Keating