my good and faithful servant.
Come, share my joy.
- Matthew 25:21
As we mourn the passing of our beloved teacher, Fr. Thomas Keating, let us reflect on all that we have been given and discern together where we go from here.
Many of us attended Fr. Thomas’ funeral at St. Joseph’s Abbey in Spencer, Massachusetts and the memorial service in Denver, Colorado. Many more of us watched the live streaming or the recording of the memorial service provided by our friends at the Center of Action and Contemplation (more than 13,000 of you to date). We may have participated in the worldwide 24-hour prayer vigil or attended an event with our chapter community or in the online meditation chapel. We come together as community and we mourn. We share our experiences and memories, express our gratitude and joy, our hearts full of love for all that this great and humble man, this good and faithful servant, has given us.
Son of God
What would you add? What has Fr. Thomas meant to you? Those of us who knew him personally would say that he was deeply interested in your life, how the grace of God is touching you, how you are called to serve others and the world. Even in the years when he was no longer able to travel to see firsthand the fruits of Centering Prayer communities, he continued to keep his finger on the pulse of our organism as much as he could. He was so generous with his time when people visited him in Snowmass. He wanted to know everything about what was going on with all of you. As his energy permitted, he continued to teach and encourage those of us who serve our organism.
In his last few years he took on the project of revising the vision statement, including the theological principles and guidelines for Contemplative Outreach service. He wrote the accompanying commentaries to further flesh out the principles and guidelines. He brought together the founders of four Christian contemplative organizations – Center for Action and Contemplation (CAC), Shalem Institute, The World Community for Christian Meditation (WCCM), and Contemplative Outreach – to offer a retreat and dialogue with younger people from each organization. He must have been thinking about his legacy when he reread his early books and felt so strongly that his teaching on the human condition needed to be more widely available and accessible. This led to the yearlong online course “The Spiritual Journey Series” offered by Contemplative Outreach. He never stopped thinking about us and giving us what he thought we needed.
We honor Fr. Thomas by carrying on his teaching and his legacy. We pray now to him rather than for him, as he has transitioned from physical form to the spiritual realm. He will continue to be our guiding light.
Contemplative Outreach has been in the process of transitioning from our founders to the next generation for several years, with the encouragement and consent of Father Thomas, and to his delight! While some of us serve in leadership roles as prayer group facilitators, coordinators, presenters, service team leaders, board members, staff, the next generation is truly all of us. Fr. Thomas taught us not to just practice Centering Prayer, but to transmit the presence of God we experience through our practice to those we serve and, indeed, to the world.
You have our commitment to serve you in whatever way you need by listening to you, praying with you and joining you in the love of God.
In the spirit of service, utmost charity and unity,
Your Governing Board