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Weave a silence on my lips,

Weave a silence into my mind,

Weave a silence within my heart.

Close my eyes to distractions,

Close my eyes to attentions,

Close my eyes to temptations.

Calm me, O Lord, as you stilled the storm,

Still me, Lord, keep me from harm.

Let all the tumult within me cease.

Enfold me, Lord, in your peace.

‒ Celtic Tradition

 

 

For the contemplative Christian prayer is not, essentially, speaking to God, or thinking about God. It is about entering into a silent conversation with God through the mind of Christ. It is not about opposing our will to God’s or negotiating a settlement over our differences of opinion about what is good for us. It is about an active, whole-hearted surrender to the will of God who knows our needs with an intimate and unique love because he is part of our humanity, sharing with all our woundedness and complexity.

‒ Lawrence Freeman

 

A glimpse of Reality...

Right now, I am on vacation visiting my daughter and her family. They live out in the country where one feels so close to nature that the presence of God is almost palpable. Today’s hymn in the Morning Prayer fully expressed my feelings and took the words right out of my mouth . . .

“I sing the mighty power of God that made the mountains rise; that spread the flowing seas abroad and built the lofty skies.

“I sing the wisdom that ordained the sun that rules the day; the moon shines full at His command, and all the stars obey.”

“I sing the goodness of the Lord, that filled the earth with food; He formed the creatures with His word and then pronounced them good. Lord, how your wonders are displayed, where ever I turn my eye; if I survey the ground I tread or gaze upon the sky!”

“There’s not a plant or flower below, but makes your glories known; and clouds arise and tempest blow, by order from your throne; while all that borrows life from You is ever in Your care, and everywhere that man can be, You, God, are present there.”
 

 

To find our life, we must lose it. That’s the paradox that Jesus puts before us. To have life, to be alive, fully alive, we must learn to die, to die into life, like diving into the waves. We learn to die by unhooking ourselves from the compulsive, egotistically driven compulsion to be doing something, to be in control, to be producing, and so on.

‒ Lawrence Freeman

 

 

The Story of Contemplative Outreach Philippines

History of Contemplative Outreach Philippines

Contemplative Outreach Philippines (COP) took root at the Parish of Santuario de San Antonio in Forbes Park, Makati in 1985 as a ministry that taught the method of Centering Prayer, and offered practices that brought its fruit into daily life.  However, it was only in 1990 that it became a chapter of Contemplative Outreach Ltd. (CO Ltd.) of New York, an organization put up by Fr. Thomas Keating, O.C.S.O., solely to teach Centering Prayer. 

Many workshops were given during the years that followed.  At this stage, Grace Padilla and Lita Salinas, prime movers of Centering Prayer practice in the country, were invited to be part of the National Faculty of CO Ltd.  They were the first Asians to be given such an assignment.  It was both a function and a privilege.  The function was to teach Centering Prayer and the privilege was to be invited to attend Faculty meetings once a year, Coordinators’ Conferences, Formation Programs and Retreats, all aimed at enriching the ministry in all aspects.  Since all these activities are both for information and formation, the experiences derived from these were unquantifiable.  Both Grace and Lita benefited from these tremendously.  The programs, the inputs that these two learned were brought home and applied to COP and an ongoing Formation Program was devised for everyone who by this time had come together regularly as a Support Group in this new found way of relating to God.

Another factor contributing to the further spread of Centering Prayer practice were the visits of Fr. Basil Pennington (first in 1987 and almost yearly thereafter), Fr. Thomas Keating (in 1989, 1990 and many more times later on), and Fr. William Meninger in 1998.  These three Cistercian monks were responsible for reintroducing the ancient practice of contemplative prayer in a contemporary setting as Centering Prayer”.

Fr. Carl Arico, Vice-President of CO Ltd., came in 1992, and Mrs. Bonnie Shimizu, Chairperson, Resource Faculty Service Team, came in 2005 to give a “Formation for Presenter Workshop” to a group of committed members.  Since then, hundreds of workshops, retreats and formation programs have been given benefiting more than a few thousands, COP members and others, including the clergy and religious communities, desiring to know more about Centering Prayer and its application in daily life. 

As an organization, COP is served by a Servant Leader Team (SLT) made up of 10 members, 9 of whom are elected by its voting members.  The 10th member is the mentor/spiritual adviser commissioned by Fr. Thomas Keating.  Together they make up the Circle of Service (COS) whose function is to see to it that the vision of Contemplative Outreach (CO) is fostered, and its mission of spreading the prayer and supporting the members in their spiritual journey is facilitated.

The COP Secretariat is located at St. John Bosco Parish, Makati, Philippines at Rm. 211 in the Parish Building.  For information about COP, the Secretariat can be contacted thru the ff:

Office telephone number – (+632) 501-52-31

Email address -  cop.secretariat@gmail.com 

FR. KEATING ARTICLES:

The following 2 articles by Fr. Thomas Keating explain Centering Prayer vis a vis some misconceptions about it, deepening our understanding and appreciation of it as a prayer that is Christocentric, Scripture-based and rising out of the Christian contemplative tradition of the Desert Fathers.

Centering Prayer Method by Thomas Keating

Clarification Regarding Centering Prayer

 

Pastoral Statement

An Endorsement from the Archbishop of Manila

On Feb. 16, 1997, his Eminence, Jaime Cardinal Sin, Archbishop of Manila, issued a Pastoral Statement on Centering Prayer.  Based on an exhaustive study commissioned by the Cardinal himself, the Statement clarified Centering Prayer’s true definition, purpose, and benefits, and how spiritual guidance can help enhance the practice.

Cardinal Sin concluded the assessment with the pronouncement that Centering Prayer “merits the approval of the Catholic Christian faith community . . . because it has brought renewal and deepening of Christian Prayer and life among increasing numbers of individuals and communities, and has brought back many seekers for God and for spiritual life back to the Church.”

The Cardinal has disseminated the Pastoral Statement on Centering Prayer to all parishes, religious houses, and seminaries in the Archdiocese of Manila.  He personally released it to then COP Director, Lita Salinas (now COP mentor/spiritual adviser), thus recognizing the Outreach as the official organization authorized to teach Centering Prayer and its formation programs through its bona fide commissioned presenters.

February 16, 1997

Spiritual Advisers

Most Rev. Raul Q. Martirez, D.D.   Fr. Orly Sapuay, M.S.

The People Behind COP

Circle of Service

Conchitina Bernardo Tess Castañeda Tess Colayco Betty Florendo 

Dedette Gamboa  Terly Chikiamco Gilda Reyes • Billie Trinidad

Links

Contemplative Outreach Ltd.   www.contemplativeoutreach.org

 

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