Q: People practicing Centering Prayer speak of experiencing a sense of peace. Can you please comment?
A: The word peace can have different meanings, but what does it mean in the context of Centering Prayer? During this Holy Week I am pondering this quote from the April edition of the Magnificat missal:
Our peace of soul comes from the fact that Christ loves us because of who he is, not because of what we do—we do not earn Christ’s love by proving our own independent goodness, nor do we lessen it with our failures. We keep our eyes on the Savior at every moment and in every circumstance of our life, especially in our temptations, fears, and weakness: “My God is now my strength!”
God loves us first and we respond to his love when we consent to his presence and action within, all the while knowing that “we do not EARN CHRIST’S love by proving our independent goodness, nor do we lessen it by our failures”. What a profound active prayer phrase to live our lives by! And what profound peace that should give us as it replaces our ordinary way of thinking about goodness, failure and love.
Keep in mind though, that experiencing a sense of peace in Centering Prayer isn't the same as expecting it, since experiencing peace comes freely and unexpectedly within the flow of our consent and is not the intent of the prayer. Consenting to God’s presence and action is the heart and soul of Centering Prayer.
Keeping the eye of our soul on our Savior through our intention and attention, we realize that our life is not just about us, allowing his resurrection to claim us and inviting Christ to journey with us through ALL of the Palm Sundays, Holy Thursdays, Good Fridays and Easters of our lives.
When it is all said and done, it is all about responding to a relationship and a love that have always been there, and finding deep peace knowing that it cannot be taken away.
Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again.
Blessings, Fr Carl