- About Us
Frequently Asked Questions - Contemplative Outreach
Organized in 1984, Contemplative Outreach (CO) is a worldwide spiritual community of individuals and small faith groups committed to renewing the contemplative dimension of the Gospel in everyday life. The intent of Contemplative Outreach is to foster the process of transformation in Christ in one another through the practice of Centering Prayer. We present the method of Centering Prayer and its immediate conceptual background (the psychological context) and we encourage and support one another in living out the fruits of Centering Prayer in our daily lives. We also present Lectio Divina, particularly its movement into contemplative prayer, which is facilitated by a regular and established practice of Centering Prayer. A commitment to a regular practice of Centering Prayer is the primary expression of belonging to the CO interdenominational community.
We also support the renewal of the contemplative Christian tradition, especially through the teachings and works of Fr. Thomas Keating. Read more about our vision, theological and administrative principles here. Read more about the history of CO here.
The symbol representing Contemplative Outreach is called "Job's Redeemer – Patient Waiting." The heart and soul of Centering Prayer is consenting to God's presence and action in our lives. Like Job, our patient waiting and consenting is our gift of gratitude.
The elements of the symbol include:
- The Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, which acknowledge that our God is at the center of our consent and being.
- The cross, symbol of our salvation, stands for our dying to our thoughts and commentaries.
- The flowers symbolize the abundance of life and the resurrection. These flowers represent our letting go, in which our false self gives way to the flowering of the new self.
- The circle is a sign of an ongoing process bringing us deeper into Divine Intimacy.
This symbol has been seen in three different locations: on an ancient church in the land of Uz, which is referred to in Scripture as the residence of Job; on a Byzantine stone from excavations in Jerusalem; and in a church named "Multiplication of the Loaves" in the Galilee area.
The contemplative dimension of the Gospel is the penetration into the spiritual meaning of Scripture, leading to an experience of the living Christ and to the love of others in everyday life. It is receiving the Gospel in the wisdom-way of knowing, which is about spending time "pondering it in your heart," allowing the word of God to transform you into the living word of God, which is Christ. When Mary listened to Jesus speak, she pondered what she heard in her heart and then she acted. The inner experience of one’s relationship with God then becomes manifest in living out the values and teachings of the Gospel as a natural way of following Christ, as an inner prompting inspired by the love of God, and trusting God is love.