THE JOY OF
By Anna Marie Llanos
When I was in school many moons ago, I was told that before going to
bed at night, I was to pray an act of contrition because I might die
in my sleep. I was so frightened that it could happen, that I prayed
to God not to send me to hell because of some misdemeanor I may have
done that day.
In the late 80s I was introduced to Centering Prayer. I encountered
and got to know this living God, who dwells within me, loves me, and
wants to have a relationship with me. I discovered that my God was not
a policeman just waiting for me to make one mistake, so He could
punish me forever.
In the stillness I would sit at His feet, just Him and me, together,
without words, without thoughts, twice a day. I soon realized that
just by being there, not doing, not asking, we became more intimate as
Slowly I could hear Him speaking, without words too. Deep in my heart
I knew what I had to do and not do. All that was needed was to do my
prayer on a daily basis until it became a habit. Things that worried
me before, no longer did because I knew that my "friend" would always
look after me and protect me from whatever could harm me.
For sixteen years I would attend four to five retreats a year, not
only attending but taking care of all the physical arrangements
because I wanted to listen again and again to Lita Salinas repeating
Father Thomas Keating's Spiritual Journey in a language I could relate
to. So simple yet so meaningful to my daily life. Slowly whatever
wounds I carried deep in my heart began to heal.
Centering Prayer also taught me that unconditional love means that
loving is a choice one makes. In the silence I can be more attentive
to God's presence and action in my life. I see God in everything. In
my little garden where birds love to eat the bird seeds I spread once
a day. I think of the gospel where it says " look at the birds in the
sky. They do not sow nor reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet
your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not more important than
they?" God put into my heart to buy bird seeds and spread it out for
them. I see the rain and thank God for watering my garden. I have
three atis trees. One I planted, but the other two just grew in
another area of my garden. The birds planted them. See? They too, know
how to thank me.
Centering Prayer has made me more aware of taking care of nature and
the environment. Thinking only positive and loving thoughts envelope
my immediate surroundings and thus I am a much happier person.
THE KEY TO
By Fr. Carl J. Arico
What are the ingredients that are part of the mystery of
true compassion and what is the key that unlocks its power?
Let us picture compassion as a stool with three legs.
The first leg of the stool is known as the gift of tears, or what
might be called the gift of grieving. This is the ability to allow the
grace of God to melt our stony hearts and make them flesh again —
fully human in their response. Over time, it is very easy to become
stone-hearted, numb and/or indifferent to violence, suffering,
injustice and terror, unmoved by what we see and hear. We become
untouchable, detached. Unfortunately, like a slap in the face, it
takes more and more to get our attention and move us. Perhaps this is
one of the meanings of Jesus' invitation to turn the other cheek. By
turning the other cheek we get another point of view that helps us see
the larger picture. So the first leg of compassion is the ability to
feel, shed tears and grieve for the pain of others and the suffering
in this world.
The second leg of the stool is forgiveness. Forgiveness is never a
matter of good judgment; it is a matter of our own well being. Nothing
destroys the spirit as quickly as an unforgiving mind and heart. For
many of us, on top of our stony hearts, our minds replay the same
drama over and over again, reliving the hurt and repeating the same
opinion about a person or situation. Give yourself freedom. Give the
one you are holding in unforgiveness freedom. Stop playing the
interior dialogue over and over again. Become willing to let it go.
Pray the Prayer of Forgiveness and allow the Divine Therapist’s
healing to take place.
The third leg of the stool is generosity. As much as is divinely
possible, never stop feeling, forgiving and caring. Let it not be an
isolated event but a way of life. Don’t count the cost but relish the
freedom that it gives. The parable of the prodigal son illustrates
this way of being. We all go through the phase of the younger son when
it is all about self-centeredness. We all go through the phase of the
elder son when it is all about being correct and self-righteous. We
are all invited to become the Father who is all about self–giving.
When we give of ourselves, we gain and increase the true self, that
which is being filled with the presence of God. What was once lost has
been found in openness and generosity.
Self-love says, “I have enough of my own troubles. I do not have the
energy to be concerned about the pain and problems of the other.”
Slowly the bubble of self-interest closes upon us and we begin to
suffocate with our own stale air, barely being able to breathe. No
respiration, no inspiration. The good news is that the gift of
compassion can weaken and break through this shell. The Holy Spirit
punctures the shell and we breathe in the reality of life – the
awareness that there is no real separation from one another, just as
there is no separation from God.
This three-legged stool of practices is a foundation on which you can
place your life, a balanced way of living and relating. The seat is
There is another practice assumed here that is the key to a life of
compassion. Inherent in grieving, inherent in forgiveness and inherent
in generosity is letting go of judgment. We may observe and be fully
aware of how filled we are with judgments, but we must not engage
them. Guideline three in Centering Prayer can apply here: “When
engaged with your thoughts, return ever-so gently to the sacred word.”
When an observance of a person or event becomes judging experience and
then becomes a judgment, that is when we need to pray, perhaps
invoking an active prayer phrase to assist our letting go, such as “Be
compassionate as your Father is compassionate.” So in summary,
remember: shed some tears, grant forgiveness for your own sake and do
it in a generous way – don’t count the cost. Instead count the
blessings of setting yourself, the other person and the world free.
Let go of judgment!
Article inspired by the Year of Mercy and by the conclusion of Henri
Nouwen’s book Return of the Prodigal Son, “To Become the Father.”
-- From CO
Newsletter, June 2016
THE NATURE OF
It is not about becoming spiritual beings nearly as much as about
becoming human beings. The biblical revelation is saying that we are
already spiritual beings; we just don't know it yet. The Bible tries
to let you in on the secret, by revealing God in the ordinary. That's
why so much of the text seems so mundane, practical, specific and,
We have created a terrible kind of dualism between the spiritual and
the so called non-spiritual. The principle of Incarnation proclaims
that matter and spirit have never been separate. Jesus came to tell us
that these two seemingly different worlds are and always have been
one. We just couldn't see it until God put them together in his one
body (see Ephesians 2:11-20).
-- Fr. Richard Rohr from Things Hidden: Scripture as
Prayer cannot just be about coming to God with needs and demands.
There has to be a constant, deepening relationship for it to be a true
prayer. The commitment to prayer and the integrity of that
relationship evolve in silence, where there are no words, no thoughts,
no emotions. It is never about words. One prayer word is sufficient to
initiate the interaction. I whisper “Abba” and I know in my heart He
hears. There is a strong faith in my heart that God knows my needs
before I even come to pray. So I need not speak. I sit quietly and
peacefully. I am committed to this prayer. There is an integrity to
this commitment both from me as well as God.
Writing for the parish bulletin encourages us to speak of our
relationship with God. As in all relationships, one tends to be shy,
because intimacy is much too personal. Yet here, in this bulletin, and
because there are kindred spirits, there is a facility to share . It
is a witnessing that is the natural evolution of the prayer. The
spreading of the good news, so to speak.
I will not tell you that all my prayers are answered. God’s ways are
not man’s way. However, I will tell you with all truthfulness, that
there is, in the center of my being, a calmness and a peace - a gift
from the daily interaction with God. He says: “My peace I give you,
my peace I offer unto you.” It comes from being unconditionally loved
by this Father, benevolent, constant and present, in all the events of
my life. I see Him in a beautifully painted canvas. I hear Him in a
sharing from someone in our weekly support group. I smell Him in the
wavy, shampooed hair of a granddaughter. I even taste Him in the daily
meals prepared by my cook of 44 years! And most of all, I feel Him in
the loving, caring touch of concern of my husband. So precious! This
is an ever present God who speaks to me constantly in ordinary moments
of my life.
The practice of the Prayer of Silence, Centering Prayer, requires some
degree of preparation and a high level of commitment. Once the
commitment is made, the integrity flows. One cannot be false to the
pledge, as this is so valuable, so precious, so intimate, so loving,
between you and God.
A MOST BEAUTIFUL
By Vissia Hernandez
I first heard of “Centering Prayer” from a co-lector in Binondo Church
in the late 90’s. “It’s beautiful!”, Betty Lim repeatedly assured me.
Ten years later, I heard of Centering Prayer (CP) again. I was a
lector in St. John Bosco Parish in Makati in 2009 when they announced
that there would be a CP and Lectio Divina Workshop at Roozen Hall. I
attended the workshop.
A few months later the COP (Contemplative Outreach) Secretariat was
blessed in Room 211 at St. John Bosco Parish. Soon after, it became
the venue for our weekly support group (SG) meetings where we would do
centering prayer and lectio divina. Once strangers, now friends
walking our spiritual journey together, through the years we have been
sharing, praying, listening, and drawing strength from each other –
all seekers, bonded in our common goal of deepening our relationship
with God. I couldn’t have found a better support group to be “one-ing
with” (in Fr. Keating’s words,) to describe the synergy among CP
When I think of the fruits of CP, the one that I most appreciate is
the discipline of constantly letting go of “thoughts,” which
discipline has translated into letting go of “attachments” in my daily
life. The prayer has somehow trained me to accept the fact that in the
contemplative view, possessions, people and relationships are fleeting
privileges to be enjoyed while they last, and graciously surrendered,
in time. Admittedly, as with the very practice of Centering Prayer,
just how graciously I surrender is a lifelong work in progress. I know
that God blesses every intention and effort that I make, no matter how
small. There is no need to worry. All I need to do is to consent to
His presence and healing action in my life.
“Help me to truly let go and flow with Your wonderful plans for me,
Lord, as I place all my trust in You.”
Our world is moving forward at an unprecedented pace. The ability to
be so easily connected to one another has made this planet very small
indeed. Yet, it is quite possible that we have never been more
disconnected from our true selves and God.
As a mother of five children, in this age of concrete technological
and scientific breakthroughs, I wrestle with how to communicate the
abstract, mysterious and intangible relationship we are created to
share with the Divine.
For the past three years, I have been practicing contemplative prayer
as a way to connect more intimately with God. This has included
introducing my children to Lectio Divina as a way to listen to the
Spirit of God speaking uniquely to their individual hearts. They have
been very open and receptive to this practice, and consequently have
grown in their day-to-day awareness of God speaking in the moments of
But what of the apophatic (non-verbal) prayer practice Centering
Prayer? This prayer has been transformative in my life. I’ve found
abundant grace in the silence, stillness and solitude of this
practice. It has helped me to disconnect from the noise and activity
of life and find myself in God’s embrace. And more profoundly,
Centering Prayer has created a deeper awareness of who I truly am in
God. In the practice, I’ve come home to myself and God.
I decided to experiment with my children and see if they would have a
similarly positive experience with Centering Prayer. At first, the
struggle was to find language to communicate the practice to children
ranging in ages from five to sixteen. It quickly became clear that
while my five-year old could understand what Centering Prayer was, she
was not ready to sit in silence and stillness for any amount of time!
My other four children ages nine, twelve, thirteen and sixteen quickly
grasped the concept of the practice, so we began trying it out. We
started with three-minute sits. Gradually, we lengthened the time to
five minutes, then eight, ten and so on until we reached twenty
minutes. Our intent has been to practice every day after breakfast
before we begin the rest of the day.
It has not been perfect. In fact, some days it feels like a complete
waste of time. Wiggling limbs, wrestling in chairs, bodily noises,
rough starts to the day, the irritation of relational conflict — you
name it, we have experienced it.
Yet, I keep reminding myself that this is a practice. A perfect
experience should never be the goal. For no such experience truly
exists. The fruit of the practice is seen in the rest of life. My hope
is that we are becoming more aware of God in everything. So, we
continue to practice, to open our hearts together to the presence and
action of God within us. We enter with the invitation of Psalm 46:10,
“Be still, and know that I am God.”
Little changes have been
made along the way to accommodate the needs and development of each
child. Most days my husband, two older children and I sit for twenty
minutes together. Then, the two younger children and I sit for ten
minutes together. Our five-year old talks about joining us when she is
bigger. She is learning Breath Prayer and the beauty of God being as
near to her as every breath. It is perfect for where she is at right
Addendum … a year later:
In the last three months, my six-year old’s attention span has
expanded and she is more patient. She has been able to join in
Centering Prayer for about ten minutes several times a week before the
wiggles take over. I continue to see the fruit of contemplation in the
lives of my children, especially in their attentiveness to God. It's
my belief that spending time in silence is much easier for children
than it is for adults. Even though they cannot sit still as long,
their hearts and minds are more naturally open to the whisper of the
Divine. I believe the practice of Centering Prayer helps them return
to their center more quickly in day to day situations. As a mother, I
am learning more and more to trust the action and presence of God
within them, just as I’m practicing myself.
In Centering Prayer we are
all learning to come just as we are, and to find our true home in God
who continues to affirm that we all belong. In this place of
belonging, it is my hope that each of us will choose to embrace one
another in love and help bring healing to this world in search for
peace with God and humankind.
LET IT BE, SO BE
By David Frenette
If you asked me for one piece of advice about contemplation, I would
say to take to heart the meaning of one word: amen. If you asked me
how you should relate to God, how you might pray, I would whisper,
“Amen.” If I practice only one simple thing at the end of my own life,
I hope it will be amen.
“Amen” is used in the Western religions to express profound faith,
assent to Mystery, surrender to God. In the Christian tradition,
“amen” is the one word that ends every prayer in words, including the
Lord’s Prayer. Amen means, literally, “so be it” or “let it be.” After
any petition or prayer, “amen” is the “so be it” or the “let it be”
which releases that prayer or petition into God with a radical trust
that nothing more needs to be said, nothing else needs to be done.
With amen, your words and actions yield to God’s presence. Amen
doesn’t mean being passive; it doesn’t mean that discipline, practice
and compassionate actions aren’t necessary in the spiritual life. Amen
doesn’t mean that you do not act in the face of injustice. Amen means
that your prayer is a relationship with God rather than with yourself;
it means that rather than trying to succeed through effort, you let
the Spirit pray in you. Amen means trusting that you can’t confront
injustice on your own, that at some point you need to let go of your
own, self-initiated efforts and agenda and just be, in trust, in God.
Centering Prayer; Consent to Amen
We need help to let the spirit of amen fully come forth in our prayer
and in our life. The 2000-year-old Christian contemplative tradition
recognizes that in order to radically trust in a reality that you
cannot see, you need to prepare yourself through actions, disciplines,
and practices whose purpose, quite simply, is to bring you more easily
Centering Prayer is one such practice, a profound way of consenting to
God’s presence and action within, beyond your own self-initiated
efforts. Centering Prayer helps you consent to the gift of
contemplation. In Centering Prayer, every time you return
ever-so-gently to your sacred symbol when you are engaged with
thoughts, you refine your own actions from self-effort into trust in
God. Gentleness, trust, and lack of striving can inform more of your
spiritual life. Willing to let every thought go, willing to let go of
effort and strategies, your trust in God unfolds more easily within.
Easily and lightly treat every thought as an invitation to rest in
God. Learn to let these thoughts be, without fighting them. Let
everything be, just as it is, in God. Say yes to practicing
A Deeper Amen
As you continue on the path of Centering Prayer it is possible to
learn how to be penetrated more deeply by amen. There are specific
contemplative attitudes that, like the different facets of a brilliant
diamond, comprise the “skillful means” of deepening contemplation.
Practicing contemplation involves dispositions more than techniques,
perspectives more than black-and-white directions. These contemplative
attitudes evoke your own experience of God and invite you further on
the path of transformation in Christ. Practicing these contemplative
attitudes allows God — the reality in whom prayer and life is found—to
become the source of what you do in Centering Prayer. As your prayer
deepens these same attitudes will arise in your active life.
When I provide spiritual direction or contemplative counseling, I find
that my most effective “intervention” is not my words but my presence.
Listening fully to someone means not trying to change them. You listen
deeply and let their concerns, their “story,” be, in God. The mirror
of your unconditional presence allows another person to settle into
God. Transformative growth begins with acceptance. Unconditional love
is rooted in unconditional presence. My presence to the Divine
Presence, through which I am united in presence with another, is the
best thing I can offer another person.
When I was with my mother as she was in hospice care, I found that I
couldn’t protect her from the transition that was before her. All I
could do was be present to God, and to her, in her passage, in her own
dying process. I practiced Centering Prayer next to her while she
slept at night. During the day I allowed my breath to simply align
with her breathing.
Unconditional love does not mean that you are not concerned about the
pain your loved one may be in. Unconditional love means that you
trust, radically, that God is present to them, and to you. Being
unconditionally present to another means accepting them for who they
are, trusting that God is present to them. Love is a practice of amen.
From the radical stance of amen, inspired action comes. Letting
everything be, just as it is, in God, in the face of death, and life,
is the gateway to experiencing the divine in ordinary as well as
Consider your own life. Recall a time when you were blessed by the
attitude of amen, a deep acceptance of what is. What happened? How
might you be invited, now, to let go of your own isolated self-effort
in favor of greater trust? In your prayer or in your daily activities,
in your relationship with your loved ones, in your service, how might
you practice amen, or unconditional presence, in order to experience
that you are not alone, that God is with you in your being and in your
With the deep surrender of amen we are aligned with God — the source
of freer and more sustained action — more than anything we could
accomplish on our own. As we say “amen,” as we practice “so be it,”
God takes over. As we practice amen, God is with us in more and more
of what we do, including our care of others and our actions to
confront injustice. Amen —“so be it,” “let it be”— expresses the true
spirit of contemplation.
CRUCIFIXION IS RESURRECTION AND HEALING
By Dedette Gamboa
Following Christ and living a life of total self-surrender and
obedience to the Father is a life-long journey especially if one is a
controlling and take-charge person. It took a crisis to show me that I
was not in charge of my life and that God was. When I was 60, I
decided to take my optional retirement to be able to spend more time
with my ageing mother. But before retiring, I decided to go on a
two-week retreat in the States to discern what I should do with my
life after retirement. In those two
weeks in a convent in Indiana, I experienced God’s abiding presence
and great love for me. It was a beautiful spiritual experience. I did
not know that God was preparing me for a big surprise!
As soon as my plane landed at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport,
I opened my cellphone and received a message from my sister to rush
directly from the airport to the ICU at Makati Med. When I arrived at
the ICU, I saw the doctors pumping my mother trying to revive her.
They just waited for me to say my goodbye before pronouncing her dead!
I was in a shock!!! I left my mother hale and hearty and now, just
after two weeks, she was dead! At that moment , I felt I had gone
through my passion and crucifixion. I surrendered to God, someone whom
I loved dearly for whom I had given up my job. The Lord asked from me
two of the most precious things around which my life revolved, my
mother and my work. It was truly a dying to self. God took away two
loves that competed with my loving Him fully and completely. I felt
miserable and lost but God never abandoned me. He accompanied me
through my grief and pain.
God does not leave a vacuum. What He takes away, He fills in. The loss
of my mother drew me much closer to my siblings and their family and
my spiritual family grew. Through them I experience God’s great love
and care for me. My work is now my service to God and my community.
Having retired and living alone, I have more time for my Centering
Prayer and Lectio Divina. In Centering Prayer, I sit in silence
accepting God’s presence and HEALING ACTION In my life while in Lectio
Divina I try to discern God’s will and OBEY. These two prayers have
deepened my relationship with the Lord. Therefore, just like Mary
Magdalene and the disciples of Jesus, I can truly say I HAVE MET THE
LORD! HE IS RISEN !
Metanoia, conversion, is an ancient concept that is deeply embedded in
the monastic worldview. Early seekers went to the desert to escape the
spiritual aridity of the cities, to concentrate on things of God.
“Flight from the world”—separation from the systems and vitiated
values that drove the world around them—became the mark of the true
contemplative. To be a contemplative in a world bent on materialism
and suffocated with itself, conversion was fundamental. But conversion
The answer never changes. In every great religious tradition the
concept is clear: To be a contemplative we must be converted to the
consciousness that makes us one with the universe, in tune with the
cosmic voice of God. We must become aware of the sacred in every
single element of life. We must bring beauty to birth in a poor and
plastic world. We must restore the human community. We must grow in
concert with the God who is within. We must be healers in a harsh
society. We must become all those things that are the ground of
contemplation, the fruits of contemplation, the end of contemplation.
The contemplative life is about being in the world differently. What
needs to be changed in us? Anything that makes us the sole center of
ourselves. Anything that deludes us into thinking that we are not
simply a work in progress, all of whose degrees, status, achievements,
and power are no substitute for the wisdom that a world full of God
everywhere, in everyone has to teach us. Anything that drowns out the
voice of the Ultimate within must be damped.
From Illuminated Life by Joan Chittister (Orbis)
MARY THE MOTHER
By Conchitina S.
In the silence of Centering Prayer, one ponders the topic of Our Lady
and creation and suddenly one is reminded of St. Francis' Cancticle of
the Sun, that says:
"Praised be my Lord for our mother the Earth, which sustains us and
keeps us, and yields diverse fruits, and flowers of many colors, and
All that speak of creation, always refer to Mother Earth.....female.
Probably because symbolically life springs from woman. This why in the
month of October dedicated to the rosary and Our Blessed Mother, we
contemplate on Mary and creation.
In the quiet of the room, it all comes together... Pope Francis
encapsulated it into an encyclical, “Laudato Si”
Paragraph 241 of the encyclical on “the care of our common home,”
which is entitled “Queen of All Creation,” in obvious reference to the
Blessed Virgin, reads: “Mary, the Mother who cared for Jesus, now
cares with maternal affection and pain for this wounded world. Just as
her pierced heart mourned the death of Jesus, so now she grieves for
the sufferings of the crucified poor and for the creatures of this
world laid waste by human power. Completely transfigured, she now
lives with Jesus."
The Encyclical is a worthy read. The Pope minces no words. We, the
human race, are largely responsible for the degradation in our
environment. How then does all this tie in with Mary?
Mary, mother of Creation has the transforming touch to heal this
groaning, tattered world , and bring us back to sustainability. It is
through instilling a change in values, a diminution of greed, and a
tempering of the lust for power. Helas, the human condition rears many
ugly heads. While few of us are in a position of power to actually
address the ills, there is inside everyone a formidable power source,
called prayer. This can be brought forth, through Our Lady, to God who
weaves untold miracles!
Perhaps we, in the praying ministries, should attest more as to how we
see God in the morning dew drops reflecting the sun, hear Him in the
chirping of birds, we taste him in the salty sea mist, we see Him on
starry nights and feel Him in the breeze that caresses the face.
Unspoiled nature speaks of the Divine.
Simplistic as this may seem, it is a call to Faith. Be reminded that
Jesus said "Nothing will be impossible with God" ( Luke: 1:37 ) Prayer
is always simple .
For us at the Contemplative Outreach Philippines it means praying more
while holding on to the promise that no prayer goes unanswered.
In Silence we hear God's whisper.
Reference for this article is taken from the CBCP newsletter.
A PRAYER OF
SILENCE AND CONSENT
By Tess Castañeda
I find myself looking back with awe and wondering how God has lovingly
led me along my spiritual journey. It was 14 years ago when I joined
Contemplative Outreach Philippines (COP) and I believe that it was
with God's grace that I was privileged to know what Centering Prayer
(CP) is all about. The prayer has reinforced my awareness of God's
loving presence by silence and stillness. I declare my consent to His
Presence and healing action within me. I learned how to pause, pray,
and be silent, especially in moments when I am experiencing anxiety
and powerlessness. I always start to feel calm and peace enveloping my
whole being after that silent moment.
The deepening of my prayer life was enhanced by the daily practice of
Centering Prayer. I am a member of a support group made up of people
on the same spiritual journey. We meet once a week sharing the prayer
together. It is a silent prayer which sustains our commitment to the
journey. We then share individual experiences and provide mutual
support and encouragement. Aside from these weekly meetings, various
COP activities like Formation Classes, Retreats and Workshops that
focus on the education of a faith community and sustenance of the
spiritual journey of Centering Prayer practitioners, help enhance and
deepen my prayer life.
The practice of Centering Prayer all these years has enabled me to
connect with God in solitude, and in a very simple way - no words, no
thoughts, no feelings, no expectation….Nothing! As I sit in silence
and solitude and just consent to that special moment with Him, I allow
Him to do what He wants to do with my life in complete surrender.
God has always been straightforward with me. I encounter Him in the
scripture reading of the day. I try to find out His mission for me and
respond obediently. I know in my heart that with my simple act of
consent and trust in those silent moments, I will find refuge and not
be discouraged to face the most serious difficulties in my journey
TASTE OF SILENCE
A Contemplative Parishioner
My vision for the Santuario de San Antonio Parish is that of a
community and a place of worship that can respond to the spiritual
needs of its parishioners.
Having had to live in the United States, where for many years I was a
single parent, I was too busy to belong to a community, and had to
pray in my own way. It was my faith that guided me in growing with my
children in a different culture. It was very difficult, but by God’s
grace I was able to deal with my situation for 10 years.
Upon returning home, I was invited by my neighbour Josie Tordesillas,
who took me to a cenacle and to Centering Prayer. I joined the
Contemplative Outreach Philippines (COP). Coming home without my
children was lonely. It was my time to work on my spiritual life.
Centering Prayer and COP became my source of strength and I met new
In COP, I belong to a community of faith that offers support,
direction. and mutual concern. The prayer of silence that has brought
us together in search of transformation and union with God has made my
life a joy. Knowing friends in the journey has made me happy. While I
may be alone, I do not feel alone any more.
In the United States, I could not go on retreats. Here, the retreats
have deepened my Faith. In times of quiet and reflection, I was
communing with God, and in the silence I truly heard Him. I continue
As I grew spiritually, I felt I had a “calling.” I had to do something
to serve Him. I prayed for guidance. When I was a teenager in the
province, I used to teach in the slums and the public schools. I
taught basic catechism. He led me to the ministry of catechism. Today
I teach 8-year-olds and prepare them for their First Communion. In the
process, I too am learning more about Him. Truly I can say my Shepherd
has guided me all my life!
As I look back, God’s love has provided me with all the people and
events -- be they favorable or unfavorable -- always for my good. He
has channelled my life so that it evolved step-by-step and has brought
me to where and to what I am today. All in His time, and in His way.
In all these, I can say, that when I worked on my spiritual life, it
mirrored His presence at every moment, especially when I had difficult
In silence I feel His presence and love. God is good!