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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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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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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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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
How to Create a Weekly Intensive Retreat Experience: “The Mini Midweek Retreat”
Becky Weinberg
Voices of Community

During one of the retreats while I was in the silence of my room, I began to think about several individuals in my Centering Prayer Group who, because of medical problems, caregiving responsibilities, or lack of funds, would never be able to attend an eight-day silent retreat.

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Centering Prayer, Lectio Divina, Contemplative Spirituality
Reflections on the September Conference
John Kelsey
Voices of Community

There is a new and powerful movement of the Spirit in our community.  We are evolving toward a new level of consciousness – not only as individual practitioners, but as a contemplative community.  Our challenge is to let go of a business model of governance and allow a new framework of attitudes and practices to blossom in its place.

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Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality
What Texts to Use With Lectio Divina
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  I've been listening to The Spiritual Journey on CD's and watching DVD's to become thoroughly familiar with Centering Prayer.  I am praying Lectio Divina, per Fr. Keating's guidelines of the 4 R's (Read, Reflect, Respond, and Rest).  Is Lectio [used with] only the four Gospels, or does it include all of Sacred Scripture?  Sometimes I am greatly attracted to an Old Testament reading or one of the writings of St. Paul and wondered if those texts are part of Lectio.

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Centering Prayer, Lectio Divina
Lectio Divina and Attuning to the Spirit
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q: Recently I attended a poetry gathering … The young man who teaches poetry used Lectio Divina as a method to find interpretation of the poetry and called it that. If he had called it repetition and discernment, perhaps I would not have had difficulty with it. However, he did not use Scripture but secular poetry. I did some research on Lectio Divina and found that it is misused in many contexts and by different faith structures. Would you please comment on the use of Lectio Divina?

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Centering Prayer, Lectio Divina, Contemplative Spirituality
Your Table
Dian Gillmar
Voices of Community

I miss Your words in the stained glass

above the altar, “My peace I give you.”

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Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality
Seed of God
Juliana Howard
Voices of Community

The Holy Spirit works in mysterious ways to build up the Body of Christ, using us in spite of ourselves.
 
Beginning in the mid-eighties, after the death of my mother, I was inspired to write children’s songs based on the Bible. For many years, I directed the Crayons, a group of school children who performed and recorded them. The first song given to me was “Seed of God”.

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Thomas Keating & The Three Biological Needs
Fr. Carl J. Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q: Thomas Keating identifies three essential biological needs for human beings: (1) Security & Survival, (2) Power & Control, and (3) Affection & Esteem.  Can you please tell me if these biological needs are Fr. Keating's own creation or did he borrow them from another source?

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Centering Prayer, Spiritual Journey, Father Thomas Keating
Introduction to Conscious Work
Alan Krema, a member of Contemplative Outreach of Chicago
Voices of Community

Is prayer a retreat for you into a separate place where you find rest and peace? If so, why do you not find peace, wholeness and harmony in your daily working life? Do you think it is impossible?

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Centering Prayer, Welcoming Prayer
About Contemplative Outreach Dublin
Rev'd Robert Lawson
Voices of Community

Contemplative Outreach Dublin has been in existence for 10 years and currently has 11 active volunteers on the team. As autumn approaches it signals the time for preparing for the year ahead. We are currently planning our Second Saturday Programme.

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Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality, Father Thomas Keating
Distinguishing Awareness and Presence
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q: I would like to understand more clearly what Fr. Keating means when he says that the ever present awareness is: "Not really awareness at all, it's just presence".

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Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality
Praying to the Old Man on the Throne?
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  Recently, when I concluded my session of Centering Prayer and recited the Lord's Prayer, as is my custom, I was struck by the disparity between the Trinity in Whom and with Whom I had just been abiding, and the "God in heaven" who seemed to resume his cloak of an old white man on a throne far, far away.  Am I taking the opening of the Lord's Prayer too literally? 

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Centering Prayer, Lectio Divina
Welcoming & Security Issues
Pamela Begeman
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  I need help. Every day I pray the Welcoming Prayer. I trip up at "I let go my desire for security and survival." I'm a mother. How can I "let go" of something so imbued in my mothering DNA?

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Welcoming Prayer
Proof of God’s Existence? Or the Experience of God’s Presence?
The Rev. Hampton Deck
Voices of Community

When I was a junior in high school I took a class on world literature... One day {a classmate} asked me, “Why are you always bring Jesus and the Bible into our discussions?”  A little stunned, I replied, “Because I’m a Christian. Aren’t you?” “No,” he answered.  “Well what are you then? Jewish, or some other religion?” I asked. “No, my parents never took me to church. I guess I’m an atheist or an agnostic. I never really thought about it,” Chris replied. Then he asked me a question that stopped me cold: “Why do you believe all that crap anyway?”

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Reflections on San Antonio Board Meeting
Pat Johnson
Voices of Community

When I lean into the first impressions I had of the meeting with the Board and the Transition Advisory Team in San Antonio this past May 2017, the words that come to me are CLICKING CLOSENESS.  This was my first time at a face-to-face meeting with everyone.  What has been built among the group is total openness, honesty, respect, loads of humor, and a huge amount of love.  It was palpable and contagious.

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Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality
I Am the Clay in the Potter's Hand
John
Voices of Community

“God loves me!” Father Tom began our eight-day silent retreat with Pope Francis’ request to Christians to reflect on this, and so we entered into silence at Mount St. Anne’s.

John is my name and I am an Alcoholic and a recovering Catholic...

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Centering Prayer, Twelve Step
In The Silence
Tom Agness
Voices of Community

A nippy spring morning in May,
Harsh winds and arc-like rains
Finally subsided,
Overdue cleanups, lengthy lawns,
Untilled gardens and untold repairs await....

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Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality, Liturgy
Placing Your Attention IN
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q: I have been doing Centering Prayer for 6+months now, and have hit a bit of a road block. In reading Cynthia Bourgeault's book, The Heart of  Centering Prayer, and after a few days of intense Centering Prayer, I am now unsure about a particular aspect of Centering Prayer...I am having a difficult time in my Centering Prayer practice with this lack of clarity in the focus and aim of the practice.

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Centering Prayer
Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament & Centering Prayer
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q: I am fairly new to the practice of Centering Prayer.  In my Catholic faith I participate weekly in the Adoration of our Lord through the Eucharist.   I feel at times the urge to practice my Centering Prayer during this quiet hour of adoration.   Is the practice of Centering Prayer during adoration contrary to the intentions of either adoration and/or Centering Prayer?

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Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality
Explanation of the Contemplative Outreach Symbol Other Read More. Contemplative Spirituality
Another Easter . . .
Marge Rafftery
Voices of Community

As I read the latest "Voices of the Community" articles from the current Contemplative Outreach e-bulletin, I noticed something I had not seen before . . . one could go back to previous articles.  So I did just that . . . going back to one I had written two years ago just after Easter that year (see the article "A Very Different Holy Week.").

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Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality
Sacred Feeling as a Sacred Symbol
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

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?

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Centering Prayer

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