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Since college (1955-59), I was always drawn to those who wrote about contemplative thought ( Thomas Merton, Tuillard De Chardin etc.). Then in 1980 I met Marge Rafftery, Largo, Florida, who invited me to learn about Centering Pray and first introduced me to her group which was part of Contemplative Outreach. Since that time I had been practicing Centering Prayer intermittently with her group. In 2006, Mary Sweeney, a member of Marge's group, and I started at small group at our parish, St. Catherine of Siena, Largo Fl. It took me awhile to become totally committed to the prayer. However "the hound of heaven" kept pushing and calling me. Today, I am blessed by facilitating that group.
My most vivid memory of Fr Keating was my attendance at a sit he was leading at St. Anthony's Hospital in St. Petersburg Florida. His words that day were imprinted in my mind and heart. There were about 25 people attending the session. At the end of the sit, we all formed our circle and held hands. Fr. Keating was exactly positioned on the other side of the group circle from me, when he suddenly left his position and walked across the circle and took my hand and stood next to me. When he held my hand I could feel the universe opening up in my heart. This is the best way to describe the encounter. I immediately knew then, despite all my trails, hurts and what ever was to be in my simple life, I was under "the shadow of His wing." God spoke to me that day in way I had never experienced before. Still to this day, the result of Centering Prayer alerts and opens up my heart and mind to experiences that occur in various happenings in my life that cannot be expressed in words.
The life lesson I learned from Fr. Keating was just be.