Q: Given Fr. Keating’s views on Purgatory, that one continues to grow and become enlightened, how does a person with a Centering Prayer practice pray for her loved ones in Purgatory?
Contemplative spirituality can be defined as a life of faith in interior submission to God and pervading all one's motivations and behavior; a life of prayer and action prompted by the inspirations of the Holy Spirit; a disposition not limited to devotional practices, rituals, liturgy, or other particular acts of piety or service to others, but rather the catalyst that integrates, unifies and directs all one's activities. Gerald May, M.D., expresses it this way: "The Christian expression is in the two great commandments: to love God with one’s whole self and to love one’s neighbor as oneself. Theologically, spirituality is our desire for love’s fulfillment which, in turn, is our response to God’s loving us first (1 Jn 4:19). We participate in the divine love that created us "so that we might seek God" (Acts 17:27). Further, the Christian contemplative tradition views God as always active in our lives, inviting, drawing and empowering us towards deepening love. ... In a Christian context, because we "live and move and have our being" in God (Acts 17:28), being present to things as they are involves encountering the Christ who "fills the whole creation" (Eph. 1:23). In other words, Christian contemplation means finding God in all things and all things in God. Brother Lawrence, the 17th century Carmelite friar, called it "the loving gaze which finds God everywhere.""
Q: I attended a one-day Centering Prayer event for people who were experienced in Centering Prayer. We had three periods of prayer, with some teaching. At the end of the third session I felt completely empty. There was nothing, and after the session, as I thought about it, it felt boring and I wondered why I would want to do that again. What happened for me? I do continue to practice Centering Prayer and I have wondered about attending a Centering Prayer intensive retreat but feel blocked by that experience.
What is the Kingdom of God like?
And to what shall I compare it?
It is like a mustard seed that someone
took and sowed in the garden;
it grew and became a tree,
and the birds of the air made nests
in its branches.
-- Luke 13: 18-19
"When rightly understood, the parables help us to see how extraordinary a wisdom teacher Jesus really was, and how revolutionary, in the best sense of the word, was the content of what he taught and to which he bore witness by his life and death.
"When rightly understood, the parables help us to see how extraordinary a wisdom teacher Jesus really was."
Based on teaching excerpts from Thomas Keating's book,
Meditations on the Parables of Jesus.
Jesus took Peter, James, and his brother John and led them up on a high mountain by themselves. He was transfigured before their eyes. His face became as dazzling as the sun, his clothes as radiant as light. Matt. 17: 1-3
Q: When I'm sitting in a small chapel doing my Centering and the Blessed Sacrament is exposed directly in front of me, must I close my eyes? Behind the Monstrance is a beautiful crucifix. I would not keep my eyes open if there were other people in the chapel; however sometimes I'm there alone. Am I still Centering with my eyes open in this situation?
Q: I have been practicing Centering Prayer for ten years. The grace of really knowing that I am loved by God has been given to me. I am certain that at the moment of my death I will throw myself on God's mercy, and all will be well. I will be with God for eternity. However, recently a priest told me that I am guilty of the sin of presumption. I don't understand. I can merit nothing, everything comes from God's merciful love.