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We embrace the process of transformation in Christ, both in ourselves and in others, through the practice of Centering Prayer.

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The Song in Our Hearts
Rae England
Voices of Community

In the spring of 2002, we brought a young man from Kosovo to Dallas to be fitted with a prosthetic.  He had been living in England where he was expecting to receive immigrant status when the war broke out in his country.  “I couldn’t stand by and see my family in danger without doing something to help”, he told me and so he returned to Kosovo. 

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Praying with the Eyes of the Heart
Carol Quest
Voices of Community

Minnesota Contemplative Outreach sponsored an event called “Praying with the Eyes of the Heart.”  We gathered at the Minneapolis Institute of Art and began with Centering Prayer and then went in groups of four into the museum, each group guided by a “museum sage.” ... 

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Centering Prayer, Lectio Divina, Contemplative Spirituality
Struggling with Thoughts During the Night
Fr. Carl J. Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

I just read Fr. Keating's Open Mind, Open Heart book. What should I do during the night, while lying in bed, and I find myself with a bunch of general thoughts going on, as well as "engaged" thoughts? I tried using a sacred word when I found myself with an engaged thought, but then the action(s) made me more awake, and I was up for an hour or more trying to fall back to sleep. 

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Centering Prayer, Father Thomas Keating, The Active Prayer Practice
The Maturation of the Sacred Word
Fr. Carl J. Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

During my Centering Prayer practice, I notice that my sacred word can change, become vague, become softer, a bit different, or more subtle, like there is no word, but only the energy. If I TRY for the word to become CLEAR, then I lose my practice and depth, and the word becomes a mantra -- something for attention, but not intention or surrender. Is that ok?

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Centering Prayer
The Art of Divine Therapy
Bob Mischke, M.D.
Voices of Community

Fr. Thomas Keating states that two things happen in the inner room:  We get in touch with our basic core of goodness, and the process of divine therapy is initiated and unfolds.  What is divine therapy and how does that happen?

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Centering Prayer, Father Thomas Keating
Why Meditation/Contemplation?
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q: I've been practicing meditation/contemplation for more than twenty years. As of late, I am periodically troubled by the question "why am I doing this, i.e., contemplation?" The question is in the context of why God wants us to perform what appears to be an act outside of what would be a normal life, i.e., an artificial act. Why is it needed and for what purpose or ultimate value? 

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Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality, Spiritual Journey
Extending Time in Centering Prayer
Mary Dwyer
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

What insight does CO have in regards to increasing one's practice to two to three hours per day? Our only insight into this is that it is more like an intensive retreat setting ... 

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Centering Prayer, Spiritual Journey
Centering Prayer and Embodied Contemplative Practices – My Experience
Josefina Fernandez
Voices of Community

The article in the January 2018 e-bulletin, "Contemplative Movement" by Robin Gates, affirmed so many experiences that I observed during the first few years of my Centering Prayer practice. I noticed that my body began asking for movement as never before during reading, working on the computer, attending conferences, etc.

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Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality
Service Teams Can Assist You with Practice, Programs and Training
Various
Other

A summary of the offerings of the various service teams and the services offered by the volunteer coordinator.

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Centering Prayer: Practicing The Peace That Passes All Understanding
Josh Gilmore
Voices of Community

On the western wall of Greystone chapel within Folsom state prison hangs a mural painting. A reconstruction of Leonardo Da Vinci’s "Last Supper," painted by a Folsom inmate nearly a century ago. The faces, those of other convicts the inmate artist was serving time with, adorn the bodies of the twelve disciples who surround the central Jesus figure as they react to the news of his imminent betrayal.

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The Welcoming Prayer and Taking Action
Welcoming Prayer Service Team
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  I understand the Welcoming Prayer is about acceptance.  But what about change and action? If your boss treats you bad, your doctor ignores your health, if someone threatens your loved ones? Doesn't the Welcoming Prayer make us passive in situations?

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Table Discussion, Overall Summary from the Contemplative Outreach Conference in Denver, September 21-24, 2017
John Kelsey
Voices of Community

The following is an edited collection of comments generated during several hours of small group discussions at the Contemplative Outreach Conference in Denver September 21-24, 2017. 

Comments were gathered from 15 posters prepared during the course of the conference.  These are the prayerful thoughts and hopes of our contemplative community. 

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The Good News of Accompaniment
Chandra Hanson
Voices of Community

... An encounter with Divine Love captivates.  It changes us.  Sue’s “yes” brought something to life in me and in the group; it called me on and encouraged me to stretch in new ways, giving me new eyes with which to see the Spirit’s movement among us.   It prompted conversations in the circle about the miraculous paradox of God’s transcendence and immanence; more than many in the “free world,” those who are incarcerated often both better understand the Reality that transcends time and space and better appreciate the gift of in-the-flesh visitors whose simple presence communicates God’s love and care.  There is a reason God took on flesh.  I am humbled and filled with gratitude every time I travel to join the inmates for our circle, knowing that simply by showing up I participate in God’s ongoing Incarnation. ... 

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The Good News of Accompaniment
Chandra Hanson
Voices of Community

... An encounter with Divine Love captivates.  It changes us.  Sue’s “yes” brought something to life in me and in the group; it called me on and encouraged me to stretch in new ways, giving me new eyes with which to see the Spirit’s movement among us.   It prompted conversations in the circle about the miraculous paradox of God’s transcendence and immanence; more than many in the “free world,” those who are incarcerated often both better understand the Reality that transcends time and space and better appreciate the gift of in-the-flesh visitors whose simple presence communicates God’s love and care.  There is a reason God took on flesh.  I am humbled and filled with gratitude every time I travel to join the inmates for our circle, knowing that simply by showing up I participate in God’s ongoing Incarnation. ... 

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Centering Prayer and the Transformation of Suffering
Fr. Carl J. Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  I've been a Centering Prayer practitioner for several years and I've just finished reading The Better Part - Stages of Contemplative Living by Fr. Keating. I think that I've been going through the Night of Sense for the past few months. My question is whether the suffering (if that's the correct word) that I've felt by not having the desires of my false self met, can be considered "suffering", and considered as "redemptive suffering"?

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Centering Prayer, Spiritual Journey, Father Thomas Keating
Contemplative Movement
Robin Gates
Voices of Community

Heaven and Earth converge in our bodies. The body is our teacher. It gives us messages and grounds us in the sacred present. It is the temple of the Holy Spirit. It longs and prays for our hospitality, to be seen, heard, integrated, and welcomed back into wholeness. One way to offer hospitality is through contemplative movement ...

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Centering Prayer, Welcoming Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality
Simple Sharing; Huge Impact
Martha Johnston, co-coordinator of Contemplative Outreach of Maryland and Washington (COMW)
Voices of Community

“How should we use our money?"  The team realized that we had been maintaining a healthy bank balance, and we wanted to do more than just tithe to Contemplative Outreach Ltd.  We wanted to focus the money on specific projects.

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Centering Prayer
The Original Blessing
Fr. Carl J. Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

... When I asked what made them want to be baptized by full immersion, I fully expected them to say “because they love God”; instead the reply was a simple childish “so we don’t have to go to the H—- place." I was shocked and didn’t know how to respond in a simple explanation, without undermining their parent's faith. How can I explain one-ness and original blessing to them?

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Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality
Back-to-Basics and the Centering Prayer Group
Leslee Terpay
Other

Fr. Thomas has asked the Centering Prayer community to take the next year and return to his basic teaching on the Christian spiritual journey. Here are three ways your Centering Prayer group may want to take-in these teachings together.

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Waking Up and Growing Up
Leslee Terpay
Voices of Community

Fr. Thomas has asked the Centering Prayer community to spend the next year going back to basics. For much of the past 12 years I have been revisiting Thomas’ teachings on Centering Prayer and the Christian spiritual journey by serving at least one long Centering Prayer intensive retreat a year in which I prepare by reading both Open Mind, Open Heart and Invitation to Love. This may seem a little over board in terms of preparation but I find each yearly reading brings me closer to absorbing the materials with my heart rather than my head.

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Centering Prayer, Lectio Divina, Contemplative Spirituality, Father Thomas Keating
The Difference Between Centering Prayer and Dom John Main's Christian Meditation
Fr. Thomas Keating
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

... In regard to the use of a prayer word or phrase by which one disposes oneself to the grace of contemplation, I note that there is a difference in these approaches as regards the actual handling of the prayer word. On the one hand there is the approach of John Main and Lawrence Freeman, which as I understand it, advocates the attentive repetition of a particular sacred word. ... In contrast to these, the method taught in "Centering Prayer" explicitly indicates that the sacred word is not a "mantra" to be repeated, but rather a symbol of one's intention, (to consent to God's presence and action) to which one returns upon noticing one's mind wandering willy nilly.... I wonder if you might be so kind as to give me your take on this difference.

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A Contemplative Prayer Gathering In the Midst of Tragedy
Alan Krema
Voices of Community

The tragedy of the Las Vegas shootings would be devastating enough on its own.  But this unfathomable trauma has happened in the midst of other tragedies—such as the recent hurricanes affecting Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, and the Caribbean, the major earthquake in Mexico, and the usual level of local and global violence.  Many of us feel shaken to the core, awakening in us a depth of sadness not just for the victims, but also for all of humanity.  

Yet what can we do?  We feel helpless, distant, isolated, and also needing to carry on with our own lives.

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Back to Basics
Fr. Carl J. Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

I heard at the CO September 2017 conference that Fr. Thomas is emphasizing a return to the basics.  What does this mean in your view?

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Contemplative Spirituality, Father Thomas Keating
My Experience of the Contemplative Gathering in Snowmass
Rafael Dickson Morales
Voices of Community

Last year, the founders of four contemporary Christian contemplative movements (Fr. Thomas Keating, of Contemplative Outreach; Fr. Laurence Freeman, of the World Community of Christian Meditation; Fr. Richard Rohr, of the Center for Action and Contemplation; and Tilden Edwards, of the Shalem Institute) gathered for a week of dialogue and meditation at St. Benedict’s Monastery in Snowmass, Colorado. As a result of that meeting, they came up with an extraordinary idea.

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A Conversion... and A Call to Serve
Richard Fudge
Voices of Community

This letter is my response to questions that were asked at our Centering Prayer circle:

  • What can we say about the experience of inmates in learning and practicing this method?
  • What do we think is important for the wider organization to understand about this perspective?

What can we say about the experience of inmates in learning and practicing this method?

I have spent a lot of time in prayer and reflection with these questions.  The following is the fruit of my labors.  I pray that through my words you will find insight and perspective, and that we may come into unity in the Holy Spirit as we sit together at the feet of the Lord Jesus.

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Centering Prayer, Father Thomas Keating, Prison Ministry

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