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Sacred Feeling as a Sacred Symbol
Q: I feel led towards using what I would call sacred “feeling” when doing Centering Prayer. My feeling is love for God that I feel in my heart. It seems very natural to me to return to my love for God when I'm distracted and it seems to line up with the teaching in The Cloud of Unknowing. Can this be used as a method for Centering Prayer?
A: This a very interesting question, as you are introducing a new insight. We have taught about the sacred word, breath, image and even about the sacred “nothing” (see David Frenette’s book). Now you are practicing a sacred feeling as a symbol.
Each of these are symbols of the intention to consent to God’s presence and action within. (Guideline #1 in Centering Prayer). There is no attachment to it - we let it come and go as needed.
Guideline #3 states: “When engaged with your thoughts, return ever-so-gently to the sacred word (or symbol).” We gently return to the sacred symbol to renew our intention. If you are holding on to the sacred feeling, then you have made it a “thought” and you are encouraged to let it go.
- Fr. Carl