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We embrace the process of transformation in Christ, both in ourselves and in others, through the practice of Centering Prayer.

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The Practice of Forgiveness
Fr. Carl J. Arico
David Frenette

Q:  Forgiveness is one of the highest expressions of love and love without forgiveness is no love at all. Jesus' emphasis on the absolute necessity to forgive repeatedly and from the heart is so very clear. But what is not clear is this: whether forgiveness comes unilaterally from the injured party or not. Jesus on the cross asked the Father to forgive those who were killing him and yet the perpetrators certainly did not ask for forgiveness. Were they forgiven?

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Contemplative Spirituality, Spiritual Journey
The Purification of the Nights
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  I am currently undergoing the dark night of the soul for the 2nd /3rd time. I have read a lot about John of the Cross and other authors. I am wondering who at CO has gone through the experience's. I know Fr Thomas must have had at some stage...

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Centering Prayer, Spiritual Journey
The Relevance of a Contemplative Practice Today
Sr. Emmie Vas SSpS
Voices of Community

What is the relevance of a contemplative practice today? What fruits have you noticed in your life and what do you understand by the purification process?

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Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality, Spiritual Journey
The Role of Purgatory
Fr. Carl J. Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

I have a question on Purgatory......my hope has always been that to suffer here and experience death is enough ... however our Church teaches differently. I would like to know Fr. Carl's views on this subject.

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Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality, Spiritual Journey
The Rosary and Contemplation
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  Is it possible to pray contemplatively while saying the rosary at the same time?

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Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality
The Sacred Word
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q: I know my sacred word is not a mantra. It is for me to use to express my intention of attending during my prayer time and I am to return to it when I find myself caught by some distraction.

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Centering Prayer, Father Thomas Keating
The Sacred Word in Centering Prayer
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  I have found it difficult to use just one word as I meditate. A simple 3-word phrase - that resonates strongly with me - is most comfortable for me. Is it appropriate to use a phrase and not a single word?

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Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality
The Silent Call
J. Leiba
Voices of Community

Step inside and bolt the door.
The inner room is now secure.
Distractions quelled from busy mind,
The Lord of Hosts is here to dine...

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Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality
The Soul and the True Self
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  I am currently wrestling with various concepts and definitions and how they fit together. When it comes to the false self and the true self I find the glossary at the back of the Intimacy with God book helpful. However does the soul equate with the true self or not?

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Contemplative Spirituality, Father Thomas Keating
The Story of My Surrender
Grace Sutherland
Voices of Community

 

In his book, Invitation To Love, Thomas Keating writes:

"On the spiritual Journey there is usually someone in our family, our business or in our community whom we cannot endure, someone who has a genius for bringing out the worst in us. No matter what we do we cannot seem to improve the relationship.

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Centering Prayer, Spiritual Journey
The Story of the Cloak: A legend Attributed to St. Bridget, Patroness of Ireland, circa 452 – 525
Fionnuala Quinn, OP
Voices of Community

As the story is told, Brigid went to the King of Leinster to tell him she needed land upon which to build a monastery.

"You do, you do," replied the king. "How much do you need?"

"We need only the land my cloak will cover – no more," she answered.

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Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality, Father Thomas Keating
The Time of Lent
Kathleen Stevenson
Voices of Community

Lent a time to start over
      a time to take stock
         a time to see the truth
            a time to lay it all down 

Kathleen Stevenson,  Murrells Inlet, SC

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The Two-Armed Embrace of God
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  I daily say the Rosary and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.  However there are times that I cannot complete these prayers and I wonder [uneasily], is this how God wants me to pray? Or am I intent on ritual versus Presence, a Presence in which I sense I am in union with every moment, in and through all that I see and do not see?

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Contemplative Spirituality
The Welcoming Prayer and "letting go of the desire for security, affection, and control."
Fr. Carl J. Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

I have a question about the Welcoming Prayer, related to "letting go of the desire for security, affection, and control." I say the prayer often during my daily encounters and frustrations and it brings great comfort and reminds me to "truly let go."

My question has to do with the conflict of letting go of these desires and yet setting future goals that include financial planning (security) and relationships (affection) that one would like to achieve in life. I truly believe God wants us to be happy and security and affection do include happiness. Can you please shed some like on this potential conflict?

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Welcoming Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality
The Welcoming Prayer: Deepening Our Practice of Letting Go and Letting
Michael Erwin
Voices of Community

My name is Michael Erwin. I have been doing Centering Prayer on a daily basis for several years during my incarceration at San Quentin State Prison. I have found that Centering Prayer goes beyond all other forms of meditation that I have done in my life.

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Welcoming Prayer, Prison Ministry
The Wind
Laurie Basile
Voices of Community

fierce wind blowing
widely splitting
high white blue sky
ever opening

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Centering Prayer
The Witness to “Is”
Sydney S. Orr
Voices of Community

There is

just this witness to

observe

both inside and outside

the body-mind.

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Contemplative Spirituality, Spiritual Journey
There is No Other
Fr. Carl J. Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q. ... Many years ago I listened to a tape by Fr. Keating, and in the end of one of the talks, Thomas says something about the journey resulting in "There is no other, because you have become the other.”

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Contemplative Spirituality, Spiritual Journey, Father Thomas Keating
These Annoying Humans!
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:   What the heck is one supposed to do if one just doesn't like people and humanity? Seemingly making some progress in my practice, desire closer relationship with God, but can't get past the stupidity, smallness, greed, ignorance of most people, or the self-destructiveness of the race? How can anyone love this sorry lot?

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Contemplative Spirituality, Spiritual Journey
Thomas Keating & The Three Biological Needs
Fr. Carl J. Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q: Thomas Keating identifies three essential biological needs for human beings: (1) Security & Survival, (2) Power & Control, and (3) Affection & Esteem.  Can you please tell me if these biological needs are Fr. Keating's own creation or did he borrow them from another source?

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Centering Prayer, Spiritual Journey, Father Thomas Keating
Thomas Keating Archive to be Housed at Emory University Other

On September 22, 2010, Contemplative Outreach, Ltd. and Emory University signed an agreement to house the works of Fr. Thomas Keating at the Pitts Theological Library of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.

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Father Thomas Keating
Union
Chris Plunkett
Voices of Community

I sometimes wonder
as I see the early morning frost.
Could it be that the blanket of white that covers everything Is compassion?
And the sky's soft glow after sunset is empathy?

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Contemplative Spirituality
Unloading and Evacuation of Emotions
Fr. Carl J. Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

There is a female inmate in a weekly Centering Prayer group I facilitate who is afraid of doing Centering Prayer on a daily basis because she believes she would be stuffing all her feelings again. She has been there for almost two years and is present every week! I promised her I would clarify this with you. It will mean so much for her - and for me!

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Centering Prayer, Spiritual Journey
Unsure of the Outcomes of Prayer
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  I always try contemplative prayer, and it seems to be working. How can one be sure that the outcome (even though negative at times) is working for the right? And what is the possible outcome?
 

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Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality
Using a Vision in Centering Prayer Instead of a Sacred Word
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  In the last couple of weeks I find that a certain vision of a person with her/his back to me and arms stretched out toward a representation of me is an effective way to stay focused or to refocus [during Centering Prayer]. ...The sacred word was not doing what it was supposed to do...   I wonder two things: what is your response to this and do you know of anyone else with the same experience?

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Centering Prayer

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