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
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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)
address - email@example.com
FR. KEATING ARTICLES:
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
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.
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
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
Most Rev. Raul Q. Martirez,
• Fr. Orly Sapuay, M.S.