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A glimpse of Reality...


‒ Lk 13:19







"For human beings, the most daunting challenge is to become fully human."

‒ Thomas Keating





A glimpse of Reality...

“And I

‒ Mt 8:12”

The vi





“The recurring theme of all religions is a sympathy, empathy, connection, capacity between the human and the divine - that we were made for union with one another. They might express this through different rituals, doctrines, dogmas, or beliefs, but at the higher levels they're talking about the same goal. And the goal is always union with the divine.”

Richard Rohr





A glimpse of Reality...

“The Lord said to her in reply, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things . . ."

‒ Lk 10:41

I have been so busy these days running around doing my work in the committee I volunteered myself to serve. I am in charge of the book table during retreats and was returning the left-over stock from the retreat we just finished. When I entered the room, a Centering Prayer Group was in silent prayer. I was in such a hurry to finish the “job” I came to do but was compelled to wait it out until the prayer period was over. But as I sat with them in prayer, little by little, I felt myself starting to relax and enjoying the peace and quiet. When the prayer was finished, I felt like staying on and I did. When the meeting ended, I could almost hear the words of the Gospel . . . "There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”

Thank you Lord for reminding me to “sit at your feet” and choose the better part.

I sit with God because I love God. I desire to go deeper and deeper into my relationship with God. And see what happens. God’s depths are bottomless like a vast ocean.

‒ Thomas Keating

A glimpse of Reality...

“Then he said, ‘Bring them here to me.’”

‒ Mat. 14:18

These days have been wrought with many different concerns happening all at the same time. Like the weather; I am experiencing a heavy downpour with no letup whatsoever. Keeping in mind that God never sends us anything we can not handle, nevertheless many times, I find myself doubting and questioning my capabilities in coping with it all. Today, the words in Matthew’s gospel spoke softly to me . . . “Bring them here to me." There was gentleness in the words that sent such a feeling of relief to my troubled soul and immediately I felt the peace He alone could give.

Thank you Lord for reminding me to always “cast my cares upon You” and that in you alone can I find peace.

“The real spiritual journey is work. You can make a naive assertion that you trust in Jesus, but until it is tested a good, oh, 200 times, I doubt very much that it's true."

Richard Rohr

A glimpse of Reality...

“And He ordered them to take nothing for the journey . . . They were to wear no sandals and were not to take a second tunic.”

‒ Mk 6:9

At this time of our life, because of my husband’s unsteady income, I really have to watch my spending. Although for myself, I hardly spend anything, many times I find myself “splurging” on my seventeen-year-old daughter. The readings today sort of reminded me of my propensity to buy for her things she really didn’t need only because “she would look nice in it”. Yesterday, we needed to buy her a pair of shoes for a coming party and before we left home, I prayed to the Lord to help us find something nice and inexpensive. I know the Lord had answered my prayer when it did not take long for us to find exactly what we were looking for. It was on sale and costs only about half the price I was prepared to spend. I was very happy about having saved a lot on our purchase. However, as we lingered on at the mall, we saw a cute little black dress that was perfect for my daughter. She really didn’t need one, but, I told here to fit it and she looked gorgeous in it. Without thinking any further, I bought it for her reasoning out that anyway, we had saved on the shoes.

Today, as I pondered on the reading, I felt quite guilty about having bought that extra dress. Not only that . . . the Lord, in His loving mercy, showed me where it was all coming from. He allowed me to see that I was trying to live out my frustrations with my not-so-youthful figure in my daughter. It was a rude awakening for me but I thanked the Lord for making me aware of it.

A glimpse of Reality...

“In their panic and fright they thought they were seeing a ghost, but he said to them, ‘Why are you so disturbed . . .?’”

‒ Lk 24:37

Ever since I knew for sure that I would go on my trip, I’ve been so overwhelmed by all the things I still have to attend to before leaving. I’ve already listed down everything I needed to do, but other things keep coming up that I couldn’t follow strictly my agenda. To top it all, I’ve been feeling sad over leaving my loved ones here, much as I’ve looked forward to seeing my daughters and their families there.

“Why are you so disturbed” spoke so clearly to me from the readings of today. The Lord is telling me to slow down and live the moment as it comes, without getting very harassed . . . that it’s more important to enjoy my time with my loved ones here, playing with the baby, still attending to the needs of others. I almost turned down having lunch with a friend for that reason. The Lord is reminding me to be totally present to the people around me . . . that things will get done if I put myself in the proper disposition.

Lord, thank you for setting my priorities straight.

The Spirit of God, the promise of the Father, sums up in himself all the promises of Christ. For they all point to him. The Incarnation is a promise. The passion and death of Jesus are promises. His Resurrection and Ascension are each a promise. All are promises and pledges of the diving Spirit, present to be received at every moment. He is the last, the greatest and the completion of all of God's promises, the living summary of them all. Faith in him is faith in the whole of revelation. Openness and surrender to his guidance is the continuation of God's revelation in us and through us. It is to be involved in the redemption of the world and in the divinization of the cosmos. To know that Christ is all in all and to know his Spirit, the ongoing promise of the Father - this is the grace of Pentecost.

Between God and us, two extremes meet: He who is everything and we who are nothing at all. It is the Spirit who makes us one with God and in God, just as the Word is with God and is God…the Word by nature, we by participation and communication…

…The Spirit is the gift of God welling up in the Trinity from the common heart of the Father and the Son. He is the overflow of the divine life into the sacred humanity of Jesus, and then into the rest of us, his members.

“If anyone thirst, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ ” John tells us that Jesus was speaking of the Spirit when he uttered these words. The Spirit is the stream of living water which wells up in those who believe. It is the same Spirit that causes our hearts to rejoice because of the confidence that he inspires in God as Father. Abba, the word that spontaneously wells up in us, sums up our intimacy with God and our awareness of being not only with God as friend to friend, but in God. We are penetrated by God and penetrating into God, through the mysterious all-enveloping, all-absorbing and all-embracing Spirit.

Jesus in his priestly prayer for his disciples prayed “that they may all be one; as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us. It is the Spirit who causes us to be one in the Body of Christ. We have all received the same Spirit, enlivening us and causing us to be in Christ, in the Father, in the Spirit.

We are in God and God is in us, and the unifying force is the Spirit. To live in the Spirit is the fulfillment of every law and commandment, the sum of every duty to each other, and the joy of oneness with everything that is.

— Thomas Keating, OCSO ... from the book, "The Mystery of Christ"

The practice of meditation is indeed an authentic experience of dying to self ... it is like a "mini-death," at least from the perspective of the ego ... We let go of our self-talk, our interior dialogue, our fears, wants, needs, preferences, daydreams, and fantasies. These all become just "thoughts," and we learn to let them go. ... In this sense, meditation is a mini-rehearsal for the hour of our own death, in which the same thing will happen. There is a moment when the ego is not longer able to hold us together, and our identity is cast to the mercy of Being itself. This is the existential experience of "losing one's life." ...

Just as in meditation we participate in the death of Christ, we also participate in [Christ's] resurrection. At the end of those twenty minutes or so of sitting, when the bell has rung, we are still here! For twenty minutes we have not been holding ourselves in life, and yet life remains. Something has held us and carried us. And this same something, we gradually come to trust, will hold and carry us at the hour of our death. To ... really know this is the beginning of resurrection life.

— Cynthia Bourgeault, Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening


In the experience of silence, especially if it is deep, you may experience at times a certain pure awareness. Even if it is brief, you are in contact with That Which Is, and this Reality is obviously in love with you.

Thomas Keating



Excerpted from an interview with Thomas Keating and Jonathon F.P. Rose of The Garrison Institute, October 2008

JR: Tell us about Centering Prayer, and particularly the role of Centering Prayer in an uncentered time.

TK: [laughs] Well, obviously the role of Centering Prayer in an unsettled time is to center. It’s a term that comes from St. John of the Cross in The Living Flame of Love, one of his most mature writings, and it’s not a bad term for what we're trying to do, because as he says, the center of the soul is God and so as we leave behind the perplexities and the suffering and the turmoil at least as an obsession or over-emphasis on it, we turn towards our inmost center, and we move from ordinary psychological awareness to the spiritual level of our being, a level of intuition and our capacity for God. St. Thomas says that the soul has a certain capacity for God. To open to this capacity, we need to turn our attention from our preoccupations temporarily to get the perspective on reality which has God as its center.

Some theologians have said God is reality, not just our reality but everything that in a sense is God, in a sense of coming from the Ultimate Reality as the source, whether you consider this personal or impersonal God. The Ultimate Reality is probably both — it adjusts to each thing that exists according to its nature. As we move towards the inner self, one approaches what some folks call the true self; in the Judeo-Christian tradition it would be called the image of God or the image and likeness of God. The likeness is what we don’t have yet or which we lost depending on what your religious understanding or perhaps your scientific preference might be, because in the perspective of evolution, especially spiritual evolution, we’re returning to our source or as the Buddhists call it — and this is just a private interpretation, I hope you’ll forgive me — emptiness is form and form is emptiness. …

So, Centering Prayer is a movement towards the center, our own center, which is also the center of everything else that exists which is the Ultimate Reality or God in the label given by the Judeo-Christian traditions, but which could be called anything. … It’s the faith in God as the center of our being that is not only supporting as an existence but welcoming us into the divine hospitality, the only host that can give not just gifts but Itself to us.

— From the December 2021 Contemplative Outreach News



“Because we are members of one species, all of whom are interconnected and interdependent, our every thought, word and deed affect everyone else in the human family instantaneously, regardless of space and time.

Hence we are accountable to each other as well as to God.”

— Thomas Keating, Reflections on the Unknowable

”Our destiny is God's own infinite happiness.
We are meant to participate in it,
but the path to it involves first the experience of our own powerlessness
to achieve it by ourselves.
This is one of the biggest of all the issues of our spiritual life:
how to be peaceful with this situation.

Thomas Keating

There is an Inner Reminder and an Inner Rememberer (see John 14:26, 16:4) who holds together all the disparate and fragmented parts of our lives, who fills in all the gaps, who owns all the mistakes, who forgives all the failures—and who loves us into an ever-deeper life. This is the job description of the Holy Spirit, who is the spring that wells up within us (John 7:38–39)—and unto eternal time. This is the breath that warms and renews everything (John 20:22). These are the eyes that see beyond the momentary shadow and disguise of things (John 9); these are the tears that wash and cleanse the past (Matthew 5:4). And better yet, they are not only our tears but are actually the very presence and consolation of God within us (2 Corinthians 1:3–5).

You must contact this Immensity! You must look back at what seems like your life from the place of this Immensity. You must know that this Immensity is already within you. The only thing separating you from such Immensity is your unwillingness to trust such an utterly free grace…

— Richard Rohr

“I sit with God because I love God. I desire to go deeper and deeper into my relationship with God. And see what happens. God’s depths are bottomless like a vast ocean.”

Thomas Keating

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.

Jesus emphasized 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 intentions.

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.

— From the June 2018 Contemplative Outreach News

God is more us than we are.

We were in his mind forever and we will be with him in due time, forever, too.

Thomas Keating

The essence and heart of Centering Prayer is consenting to God’s presence and action within. It leads to contemplation and its continuing development.

The following qualities reveal how this consent deepens through daily practice.

1. Silence arises in consenting to God’s presence within. External silence supports this movement and leads to interior silence.

2. Solitude flows from interior silence. It disregards the endless conversation we have with ourselves and rests in the experience of God’s presence.

3. Solidarity 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.

4. Service 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.

5. Stillness 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.

6. Simplicity 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 embraced.

Contemplation is 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.

7. Absolute 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.

Knowing the 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

“If we experience emotional suffering, there is probably something we haven’t quite surrendered yet.”

Thomas Keating

Divine Therapy & Addiction: Centering Prayer and the Twelve Steps

Thomas Keating reflects on the wisdom and legacy of the Alcoholics Anonymous Twelve-Step Method and its connections to, and similarities with, the Christian mystical traditions of Centering Prayer and Lectio Divina. In conversation with a long-time member of AA meetings, Fr. Thomas talks insightfully about surrendering to one’s Higher Power and the journey that must be undertaken for the healing of the soul to begin. $15 USD.

Who is God?

This is recording of a talk given by Thomas Keating in 2000 where he answers the question of “Who is God?” by directing us to the experience of God and by reflecting on the parables, especially the Pharisee and the Publican, the Leaven and the Banquet, each which gives us an insight into the nature of God. The talk ends with an exploration of Matthew 6:6 as a way to be aware of the presence and action of God through Centering Prayer.

Mp3 is 96 minutes and a PDF transcript is is included. $10 USD.



To watch videos on You Tube please click here

Jesus did not teach a specific method of meditation or bodily discipline for quieting the imagination, memory and emotions. We should choose a spiritual practice adapted to our particular and natural disposition. We must also be willing to dispense with it when called by the spirit to surrender to his direct guidance. The Spirit is above every method or practice. To follow his inspiration is the sure path to perfect freedom.

— Thomas Keating


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 click here.

"Our ultimate goal is to integrate the active and contemplative dimensions of reality within us and around us, which some mystics call ever-present awareness, enlightenment, or waking up. To handle the details of living a human life without being distracted from this primary vision is not attained through thinking, but through what might be called the practice of just being. To take time just to be, which is to do nothing but be in God’s presence for a regular period of time every day seems to be the shortest access to the mystery that is beyond any conceptual consideration."

Thomas Keating, June 2021 newsletter


Fr. Thomas Keating

Fr. Thomas Keating

Fr. William Meninger

Fr. William Meninger

Fr. Basil Pennington

Fr. Basil Pennington

Vision Statement

Contemplative Outreach is a spiritual network of individuals and small faith communities committed to living the contemplative dimension of the Gospel in everyday life through the practice of Centering Prayer. The contemplative dimension of the Gospel manifests itself in an ever-deepening union with the living Christ and the practical caring for others that flows from that relationship.

The purpose of Contemplative Outreach is to support one another in the process of Divine transformation through the practice of Centering Prayer. We also encourage the practice of Lectio Divina, particularly its movement into Contemplative Prayer, which a regular and established practice of Centering Prayer facilitates.

In the Philippines, this mission is being carried out by Contemplative Outreach Philippines (COP).  In addition to conducting workshops, retreats and other programs on Centering Prayer, COP guides and facilitates support groups for persons in the practice.  Since its establishment in 1990, the Outreach has shared Centering Prayer with men and women, religious and lay alike.  It has also sponsored recollections and retreats conducted by the founders themselves- Fr. Thomas Keating, Fr. William Meninger and the late Fr. Basil Pennington - all Trappist monks.  Commissioned presenters also conduct retreats and workshops.

Mission Statement

The primary purpose of Contemplative Outreach Philippines is to teach the method of Centering Prayer and to offer practices that bring its fruits into daily life.  The Outreach also teaches Lectio Divina (Sacred Reading), particularly its movement into contemplative prayer as facilitated by a regular practice of Centering Prayer.  The ministry offers workshops, retreats, and formation programs designed to present the richness of the Christian contemplative heritage in an updated and accessible format.

Contemplative Outreach Philippines is authorized to use the formats of Fr. Thomas Keating, O.C.S.O., founder of Contemplative Outreach Ltd. In the United States and one of the three Trappist monks who developed Centering Prayer.  The Archdiocese of Manila recognizes the Outreach as the official organization authorized to teach Centering Prayer and its formation programs through its bona fide commissioned presenters.

Centering Prayer is a prayer of interior silence and alert receptivity to the Divine Indwelling, the center of one’s being.  Together with the daily practice of Lectio Divina, growth in Prayer awakens the spiritual level of one’s consciousness.  One’s will is cultivated to constantly and repeatedly consent to God’s presence and action as one becomes increasingly aware of them in day-to-day living.

History of Contemplative Outreach

Contemplative Outreach has its roots in the wish of three monks living at St. Joseph's Abbey in Spencer, Massachusetts in the early 1970s. Inspired by the decree of Vatican II, the monks wished to develop a method of Christian contemplative prayer that was appealing and accessible to laypeople. With no idea that their wish would eventually result in an international organization, Fathers Thomas Keating, William Meninger, and Basil Pennington embarked on an experiment. Today their experiment is called Contemplative Outreach.

As abbot of St. Joseph's Abbey, Fr. Keating attended a meeting in Rome in 1971. At the meeting, Pope Paul VI called on the members of the clergy to revive the contemplative dimension of the Gospel in the lives of both monastic and laypeople. Believing in the importance of this revival, Fr. Keating encouraged the monks at St. Joseph's to develop a method of Christian contemplative prayer with the same appeal and accessibility that Eastern meditation practices seemed to have for modern people. A monk at the abbey named William Meninger found the background for such a method in the anonymous fourteenth-century classic The Cloud of the Unknowing. Using this and other contemplative literature, Meninger developed a simple method of silent prayer he called The Prayer of the Cloud.

Meninger began to offer instruction on The Prayer of the Cloud to priests who came to the monastery for retreats. The prayer was well received and as word got out, more people wanted to learn the prayer, so Fr. Keating began to offer workshops to the lay community in Spencer. Another monk at the abbey, Basil Pennington, also began to teach The Prayer of the Cloud to priests and sisters at retreats away from St. Joseph's. At one retreat, someone suggested that the name of the prayer be changed to Centering Prayer, alluding to Thomas Merton's description of contemplative prayer as prayer that is "centered entirely on the presence of God...His will...His love...[and] Faith by which alone we can know the presence of God." From then on, the prayer was called Centering Prayer.

In 1983, Fr. Keating gave the first "intensive" Centering Prayer retreat at the Lama Foundation in San Cristobal, New Mexico. One of the participants of the retreat, Gustave Reininger, previously had met with Fr. Keating and a man named Edward Bednar to discuss starting a contemplative network. After their meeting, Bednar wrote a grant proposal, which he called Contemplative Outreach, and received funds to start parish-based programs in New York City that offered introductions to Centering Prayer. This marked the beginning of the Contemplative Outreach Centering Prayer Program and a milestone in Contemplative Outreach's birth as an organization.
Other participants of the retreat at the Lama Foundation also played a large part in the growth of Contemplative Outreach. In 1985, participants David Frenette and Mary Mrozowski, along with Bob Bartel, established a live-in community in the eastern United States called Chrysalis House. For 11 years, Chrysalis House provided a consistent place to hold Centering Prayer workshops and retreats. Many Centering Prayer practitioners and teachers who now carry on the work of Contemplative Outreach were trained and inspired at Chrysalis House.

In 1986, the three monks' experiment was incorporated as Contemplative Outreach, LTD., and the first official board of directors was named. Fr. Keating served as the first president, Fr. Carl Arico as vice president, Gustave Reininger as treasurer, and Mary Mrozowski and Gail Fitzpatrick-Hopler as directors. At first, the organization was run from Gail Fitzpatirick-Hopler's dining room table. After several necessary expansions, the network's international headquarters now offices in 2000 square feet of space in downtown Butler, New Jersey with the help of seven full-time employees, two part-time employees, five volunteers, and, of course, the continued support and guidance of the Holy Spirit.

  ̶  From Contemplative Outreach E-News, Oct. 2009


The intent of Contemplative Outreach is to foster the process of transformation in Christ in one another through the practice of Centering Prayer.

“…This mystery of oneness enables us to emerge from the Eucharist with a refined inward eye, and invites us to perceive the mystery of Christ everywhere and in everything.”

‒ Thomas Keating

History of Centering Prayer

Centering Prayer was developed as a response to the Vatican II invitation to revive the contemplative teachings of early Christianity and present them in updated formats. In this way, the method of Centering Prayer is drawn from the ancient practices of the Christian contemplative heritage, notably the traditional monastic practice of Lectio Divina and the practices described in the anonymous fourteenth century classic The Cloud of Unknowing and in the writings of Christian mystics such as John Cassian, Francis de Sales, Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Therese of Lisieux, and Thomas Merton. Most importantly, Centering Prayer is based on the wisdom saying of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount:

"...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 repay you."

Matthew 6.6 (New American Bible)

In the 1970s, answering the call of Vatican II, three Trappist monks at St. Joseph's Abbey in Spencer, Massachusetts, Fathers William Meninger, Basil Pennington and Thomas Keating, looked to these ancient sources to develop a simple method of silent prayer for contemporary people. The prayer came to be known as Centering Prayer in reference to Thomas Merton's description of contemplative prayer as prayer that is "centered entirely on the presence of God." The monks offered Centering Prayer workshops and retreats to both clergy members and laypeople. Interest in the prayer spread, and shortly after the first intensive Centering Prayer retreat in 1983, the organization Contemplative Outreach was formed to support the growing network of Centering Prayer practitioners.

Today Centering Prayer is practiced by people all around the world, creating local and global networks of Christians in communion with Christ and each other and contributing to the renewal of the contemplative dimension of Christianity.

Taken from CO Website



Contemplative Outreach Symbol


ALPHA AND OMEGA - Symbol of God-the beginning and the end.

THE CROSS - The symbol of our salvation.

  THE FLOWERS - Symbol of the abundance of life – the resurrection.

CIRCLE - Sign of ongoing process.

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