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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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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
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
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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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
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
“Living Wisdom” – An Appreciation
Jack Lloyd
Voices of Community

Contemplative Outreach of Chicago recently launched a new program known as Living Wisdom, to give interested members an opportunity to explore “the wisdom tradition.”  So far, the program has offered four all-day Saturday workshops, one per month, January through April 2017.  After participating in the four workshops, I am starting to form an idea of what the wisdom tradition has to offer, and I have a strong interest in learning more.

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Welcoming Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality
Facilitating a Centering Prayer Support Group
Mary Mrozowski
Voices of Community

Facilitating is a ministry that empowers people and enables group process. As a ministry, it helps groups members to become more aware and more loving. Empowering others in this way is the heart of Christian ministry.

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Centering Prayer, Spiritual Journey
Just Be in the Silence
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q: I've been practicing Centering Prayer for about two years. It has helped me in more ways than I could ever express. My question has to do with what happens in the silence between the moments I use the sacred word. In those moments in between using the word am I simply to seek to be present/attentive to the Presence of God or would this be considered a thought too?

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Centering Prayer
HORIZON
Dian Gillmar
Voices of Community

I look our across fog.
Gray ocean meets gray sky,
and I think of my young friend,
cancer battle in full force...

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Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality
Taking a Break From Our Personality
Ruby M. Shelton
Voices of Community

Is humility to look down at others, wear not too lavish clothes, not standing up for yourself?  I think that humility is to take a break from our personality and observe a total and complete action of surrender to God.

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Spiritual Journey
Guiding New Practitioners
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q: While debriefing the 20 minute prayer practice as part of the Centering Prayer Introductory Workshop, two participants shared experiences about which I would like some advice. One mentioned going in his "space" of a blue aura, which he recounted as the place where he infrequently experienced a special nearness of God. As he recounted it, it sounded like he was working hard to get into that space....

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Centering Prayer
A Report and Reflections on the Transition Process
Julie Saad
Voices of Community

The Governing Board held an in-person meeting January 6-10, 2017 and follow-up conference call on January 24, 2017.

Tens of thousands of people are now fishing in the stream of contemplative life. We are grateful for and proud of what our founders passed on to us. The new Governing Board and the Transition Advisory Team are interested in hearing from you about how we can support and sustain you.

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Living in a Religious Vacuum
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q ... I have realised that I live in a kind of religious vacuum and I would like to reconnect with "religion" more fully. It feels like my home is in Christianity, however I am still unable to accept Christianity intellectually. ...How to proceed in this situation?

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Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality
The Story of the Cloak: A legend Attributed to St. Bridget, Patroness of Ireland, circa 452 – 525
Fionnuala Quinn, OP
Voices of Community

As the story is told, Brigid went to the King of Leinster to tell him she needed land upon which to build a monastery.

"You do, you do," replied the king. "How much do you need?"

"We need only the land my cloak will cover – no more," she answered.

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Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality, Father Thomas Keating
Union
Chris Plunkett
Voices of Community

I sometimes wonder
as I see the early morning frost.
Could it be that the blanket of white that covers everything Is compassion?
And the sky's soft glow after sunset is empathy?

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Contemplative Spirituality
What is Being “Welcomed” in the Practice of the Welcoming Prayer?
Cherry Haisten
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  What is being welcomed?  What if I don't feel "welcoming" … it seems like I can't even "feel and sink into" the sensation if I'm not able to welcome? 

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Centering Prayer, Welcoming Prayer
Falling Asleep in Prayer
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  I pray daily, at least once a day, using the Centering Prayer method. Sometimes I will fall asleep and then wake myself up abruptly from the dream state I fall into. This can happen multi-times in a single prayer session. Is this normal? Is this something to be avoided?

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Centering Prayer, Father Thomas Keating
Centering Prayer: A Closer Walk with Our God
Fr. Matthew J. Flatley
Voices of Community

... And so I began the journey in earnest.  The more I prayed this way, the more I wanted to pray.  I love a reflection attributed to The Little Flower, Thérèse of Lisieux, who observes, “Jesus teaches me in my heart without the noise of words.”  This was my experience.  As Catherine of Siena instructs, “Build yourself a cell in your heart and retire there to pray.”  I did just this, as a twice daily practice, and I soon went from believing to knowing. 

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Centering Prayer, Father Thomas Keating
God as Divine Therapist
Fr. Carl Arico
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q: Fr. Keating, in his book Intimacy with God and elsewhere, develops the idea - the image - of God as Divine Therapist. Yet Fr. Keating also argues that we must not have or hold on to an image of God. How can this contradiction be reconciled?

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Centering Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality, Father Thomas Keating
Concern About Welcoming Prayer and Passivity
Cherry Haisten
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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Welcoming Prayer

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