Live and Self-Guided Online Courses for Individuals or Groups

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

The Gift of Life: An online retreat for Lent 2016

with Fr. Thomas Keating, Mary Anne Best and Susan Rush
in partnership with Spirituality & Practice

Join a worldwide contemplative community of practice and devotion for a Lenten online retreat, The Gift of Life. Based on the DVD series with Fr. Thomas Keating, The Gift of Life: Death & Dying, Life & Living, this online retreat will explore the following topics through email, audio and video teachings:

- Stages of Dying
- Death
- Suffering
- Judgment and Mercy
- Surrender
- Coming Home
- Fr. Thomas’ nine meditations on the meaning of the Cross for Holy Week

Cost: $65
Partial scholarships available from Contemplative Outreach
6 CEU's for chaplains available

Susan Rush Susan Rush has been serving in health care all of her adult life.  Her background in Clinical Pastoral Education, Formation for Contemplative Leadership and Spiritual Direction certification has assisted her in her many years of serving on hospice and palliative care teams.  Susan is quick to report that it is her decades of daily contemplative practice that is her key to remaining resilient in the wobbly world of health care.  Compassionate presence with a contemplative heart is her personal service intention.

Mary Anne Best

Mary Anne Best was one of the original editors and producers of The Gift of Life DVD series.  A long-time Centering Prayer practitioner and a frequent Centering Prayer retreat leader, Mary Anne has led 10 Gift of Life Centering Prayer retreats.  She is also a principal writer of the online course offerings through Contemplative Outreach. Mary Anne is a graduate of the Seminary of the Southwest with a special emphasis in pastoral ministry and spirituality.
You may also sign-up for the yearlong online program, The Path of Life, which includes this Lenten retreat, an Advent retreat and two other courses for Ordinary Time. Beautiful weekly reflections are sent in-between the courses. The yearlong program is a powerful way to stay connected to your daily practice intention and to a heart-full online community.  The year-long subscription is available until February 19.


The Path of Life

You will show me the path of life,
the fullness of joy in your presence,
at your right hand happiness forever.
- Psalm 16
"...[T]he real meaning of our life is to develop people who really love God and who radiate love,
not in a sense that they feel a great deal of love, but that they simply are people full of love
who keep the fires of love burning in the world.
For that they have to be ... fully themselves -- real people."
-- Thomas Merton in Thomas Merton in Alaska

Contemplative Outreach is again partnering with our long-term friends at Spirituality & Practice to offer a year-long program to celebrate "The Path of Life," life as an ongoing practice in the evolution and unification of our hearts, minds and bodies -- a contemplative life lived in and through Christ, as Christ, dedicated to loving God and radiating that love to others.  This is an embodied life rooted in silence, deep listening and daily practice while all the while attending to the daily round of responsibilities and relationships.  

The year-long subscription series for $215 includes the following retreats and community opportunities and begins on the feast of Epiphany, Wednesday, January 6:

- Two online retreats during the liturgical cycles of Lent and Advent;
- Two online retreats during Ordinary Time – one on The Welcoming Prayer as consent-on-the-go in daily life and one on the Parables of Jesus as a model of wisdom for living; 
- Between the e-courses, subscribers will receive a weekly meditation, Word of the Week, for reflection and sharing in an online Practice Group;
- Partial scholarships are available through Contemplative Outreach.  Please inquire at

Click on each title to read more about each part of this program.
- The Gift of Life with Thomas Keating, Mary Anne Best and Susan Rush.  Lent:  February 10 – March 25
- Wisdom for Living:  The Parables of Jesus with Thomas Keating and Contemplative Outreach.  May 16 – June 10  
- Embracing Living:  The Welcoming Prayer - with new teaching videos.  October 3 – 28.
- Lumen Divina:  A Retreat for Advent. November 25 – December 23.
- Word of the Week begins January 6 and is sent each subsequent Sunday in-between the online courses. Each email reflection includes an image, Scripture, contemplative wisdom quotes and commentary.  Individuals are invited to practice Lectio Divina with each message. The yearlong Word of the Week Practice Group is available only to those who subscribe to the annual series.  

The Path of Life Yearlong Online Program
subscription begins January 6
in partnership with Spirituality & Practice
Partial scholarships are available through Contemplative Outreach.  
CEU's for chaplains available
To subscribe, click on the link here.


Silence and Centering Prayer: A Self-Guided Online Course

with retreat leaders Fr. Carl J. Arico and Gail Fitzpatrick-Hopler

This online retreat assists participants in learning, renewing, and establishing a daily Centering Prayer practice as the foundation for the contemplative life. It consists of a combination of email, video and audio teachings.  It is self-guided and can be taken anytime, anywhere there is internet access.

This retreat also brings together two founding principals of Contemplative Outreach to offer the conceptual background, the method, and insights into Centering Prayer as a way of life. Gail and Fr. Carl draw upon their over 30 years of practiccing the prayer, as well as teaching it to thousands worldwide. They provide practical instruction of value to both new practitioners and even experienced practitioners about this transformative method of prayer.

More Information & Register for Course

An Online Retreat for the Welcoming Prayer

The Welcoming Prayer is a method of consenting to God’s presence and action in our physical and emotional reactions to events and situations in daily life. If Centering Prayer is practiced for one hour of the day, the Welcoming Prayer is for the other 23 hours. It is a "letting go" in the present moment, in the midst of the activity of ordinary life. It helps to dismantle the emotional programs of the false-self system and to heal the wounds of a lifetime by addressing them where they are stored - in the body. The online retreat will consist of 12 emails of the course content, as well as video & audio teachings and daily practices.

To find more information, or to register, visit the Welcoming Prayer e-course page.


Lectio Divina - Introduction

This online retreat focuses on learning the method of Lectio Divina and incorporating this contemplative way of praying the Scriptures into daily practice. Click here for more information or to register for the Lectio Divina on demand course.


Lean In, Lighten Up and Let Go: Practices for a Deeper Commitment to the Contemplative

This is an interactive online retreat to encourage a life of prayer and practice, both "on the chair" and in daily life. This course will support you in making a deeper commitment to your relationship with God, and strengthen your ability to live the contemplative life through dedication to prayer and practice, all within the normal routines of everyday life.

This e-course has been designed as a review of contemplative prayer practices for those who already engage in this form of prayer as well as those who would like to begin such a practice.

Led by Mary Dwyer, a long-time practitioner of Centering Prayer and student of Fr. Thomas Keating, this retreat is a four-week practicum based on a series of four questions, inspired by the teachings of Fr. Basil Pennington.

More Information...

Contemplative Discernment

A contemplative practice of discernment is not about decision-making, although this may be an eventual outcome. Rather, contemplative discernment is receptive in nature, a process of opening to receive clues about who we are in God. We focus on ever-deepening levels of relationship and trust in God's will for us. We learn how to listen deeply to our motivations and sort through and purify any mixed motivations. As this relationship deepens, we learn to allow the love of God to motivate our actions and manifest through us. We discover what it means to truly pray "not my will, but Thy will."

This online retreat consists of 12 emails, which will focus on teachings and practice; audio segments to enrich and support the practices and teachings; a recorded teleconference with Gail Fitzpatrick-Hopler and Fr. Carl Arico; and mini-practices to guide you through various aspects of the discernment process. A daily Centering Prayer practice is recommended for taking this online retreat.

For more information or to register, visit the Contemplative Discernment e-course page.


Practicing the Presence of God

This online retreat explores in depth the contemplative prayer practice of living in the present moment with attention and intention and uses the examples of three Christian contemplative mentors: Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection, St. Therese of Lisieux and Jean-Pierre De Caussade. Click here for more information or to register for the Practicing the Presence of God on demand course.

Download the Attention/Intention MP3 excerpt (right-click and save link/target as).


Centering Prayer- Introduction

Offered in partnership with Sounds True, this online self-guided course is available in an on-demand format, which means you can take it anytime, anywhere you have internet access.  For more information, click on the image.  Check the Sounds True website for any upcoming live versions of this course.

This new online course is useful for those who cannot attend an Introduction to Centering Prayer in person, or for those who would like to refresh their prayer practice.  The course includes guidance and teachings on video and audio from Fr. Thomas Keating, Gail Fitzpatrick-Hopler and Fr. Carl Arico.  

The boxed set in-home package is available in the store click here. The boxed set is recommended both for individual use to learn the prayer and for local Contemplative Outreach chapters offering the Centering Prayer Introductory Program as a group learning opportunity.


Silence and the Spiritual Journey

I will lead her into the desert and speak to her heart.
- Hosea 2: 16

The purpose of our historical lifetime is to provide us with space for the upward journey of evolution into vertical time and our assimilation of the eternal values that Christ brought into the world. This journey consists of everything from great touches of God (consolations) to the Dark Nights. It is a journey of purification into illumination and understanding, and further into contemplation and union. Becoming familiar with — and reminded of — the map or signposts of the journey is very useful and reassuring to keep making the various consents along the way.

This journey, originally designed for the season of Lent in 2015, will explore these traditional signposts of the spiritual journey, including the Dark Nights, with new teachings by Fr. Thomas Keating. It consists of a combination of email, video and audio teachings.

You can expect:

  • Teachings delivered via 20 emails.
  • Video teachings excerpted from the Spiritual Journey DVD series, previously unpublished interviews of Fr. Thomas, and new audio teachings with Fr. Thomas recorded especially for this retreat.
  • A contemplative engagement with Scripture and the liturgical themes of Lent as a way of seeing, listening, reflecting, and then living the great themes of Lent in your own life.

Register Here for the On-Demand version (choose your own start date and frequency)

The Grace of Lent

Led by Contemplative Outreach, Spirituality & Practice

I will lead her into the desert and speak to her heart.
— Hosea 2:16

Easter, with its grace of interior resurrection, is the radical healing of the human condition. Lent, which prepares us for this grace, is about what needs to be healed, [forgiven and celebrated].
— Thomas Keating, The Mystery of Christ

For many, Lent has a gloomy, heavy air of the negative — rules, observances, abstentions, do not's, have not's, can not's. What is lost is the deep listening, the atmosphere, you might say, of Lent without which the ascetic practices lose much of their meaning. But another climate — a state of heart, being, and spirit can permeate our entire life for these seven weeks — all in the preparation of softening our heart to open to the joyful reality of the Resurrection, our personal union with God.

In our time together during this online retreat, we hope to create a Lenten atmosphere of silence, stillness, and a quiet inner joy of alert receptivity.

This 40-day journey will explore the foundations of the contemplative life necessary to live the path of divine love. It will consist of a combination of emails, video and audio teachings, as well as the opportunity to share and connect with others in the online Practice Circle.

This course is available anytime, anywhere you have email and internet access.
Read more and order here.


The Grace of Advent: Consent to Contemplative Living

"Advent is the season of the God-seeker. . . . May God help us to wake up to ourselves and in doing so, to move from ourselves toward him."
             — Alfred Delp, Advent of the Heart, Seasonal Sermons and Prison Writings

This e-course for Advent will use Scripture and the teachings of Fr. Thomas Keating and other mystical writers to explore the great themes of this season as they inform and enrich the contemplative life.

For more information or to register visit The Grace of Advent e-course page