Lectio Divina Online Workshop with Lesley O’Connor and Nancy Stimac

Lectio Divina Online Workshop

Saturday, August 14, 2021
10:00 AM to 2:00 PM EDT

Follow up sessions (Optional)
Following the Aug 14 workshop we will meet online once a month to deepen our Lectio Divina practice:
September 11@10:00 AM to 11:15 AM EDT
October 9@10:00 AM to 11:15 AM EDT
November 13@10:00 AM to 11:15 AM EDT
Use this to determine your correct local start time.timezone converter

Presented by: The Contemplative Outreach Lectio Divina Service Team
This online workshop offered on the Zoom platform provides an opportunity to “listen with the ear of your heart” to explore and deepen your practice of monastic Lectio Divina as a way of praying the scriptures. The traditional four moments of the prayer (reading, reflecting, responding and rest) are explored as expressions of the four senses of scripture: the literal, allegorical, behavioral/moral, and unitive senses. The fruits and gifts of Becoming a Word of God will be discussed and celebrated. Small group faith sharing will be included.

The Workshop Presenters
Lesley O’Connor lives in Ireland. A commissioned presenter of Centering Prayer and Lectio Divina she leads workshops and retreats. Prior to joining the Lectio Divina Service Team she served as a member of the advisory circle of Contemplative Outreach Dublin and as lead on the Contemplative Outreach global team for English speaking practitioners of Centering Prayer outside the U.S.
Nancy Stimac, a longtime contemplative prayer practitioner, is a commissioned presenter of Centering Prayer and Lectio Divina for Contemplative Outreach. She is a graduate of the Archdiocese of Hartford’s 4-year Catholic Bible School and 2-year Lay Ministry program. She uses her gifts to serve the Catholic community of Windsor Locks, CT as a prayer group facilitator, Bible study leader, RCIA teacher, and lector.
 We hope you will be able to join us on August 14th.
The program is free, however, registration is needed for planning purposes. 

Please consider making a donation to Contemplative Outreach


May e-bulletin

“In oneness, there is not more or less; there is only oneness. … One-ing … is always happening. God is not an object or noun as we understand those terms. God just is, is, is. One-ing is to be, to live, and to act. … That God’s will may ‘be done, on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10) is Jesus’ personal prayer for the full development of human consciousness. Hence, he has taught us to ask and prepare for the actualization of this grace and for the awakening of contemplation, which is the normal means to experience it.”
 —Thomas Keating, 
Reflections on the Unknowable

The Unitive Way: Seeing Creation from God’s Perspective

by George R. Gerardi

… I have learned that true knowledge seems to come to me through a combination of learning in the classical sense, personal experience, in addition to a practice of prayer that opens me up to hear the knowledge that is imparted at ever deepening levels. Recently, while continuing a daily practice of Centering Prayer, I have been simultaneously drawn to the very concrete problem of climate change. In late fall of 2021, Hurricane Sandy, which killed 233 people across eight counties, hit us hard with devastating results in Long Beach, New York. …  Read more>


Read the complete bulletin at    https://mailchi.mp/coutreach/may2021_ebulletin?e=9aa0837e74

April E-bulletin.


“To be totally open and willing to receive the fullness of the Spirit is the proper disposition for transformation. What is important at this point is not our self-initiated activity, but our humility based on our having tasted to the depths the lack of integrity and the possibility of all evil that is inherent in the freedom of choice of our human nature as well as its capacity to receive God. We receive the Spirit in the degree that we have been divested of the false self and have allowed it to die with Christ. Now we are ready to rise with Christ with all the attributes that are present in the divine human being and through the Holy Spirit to live ordinary life in a divine way, thus manifesting [God] in all our actions and relationships.”

 —Thomas Keating, 
The Gift of Life: Death & Dying, Life & Living
A Conversation with Thomas Keating and Carl J. Arico




Odilon Redon, Silence, 1900
A Meditation on Centering Prayer and Poverty of Spirit
by Sydney Orr
“Fr. Keating recommends studying the beatitudes.  The beatitudes, especially poverty of spirit, seem to stand out in the heart of his writing.  It seems to me I can take satisfaction in my gifts, even the gift of Centering Prayer, and it needs a poverty of spirit.  This poverty is like learning to be without regards to myself or with self-reflection. This poverty is like having an identity that is not concerned about my self-worth. ..”  Read more>


 you can read the complete e-bulletin at              https://mailchi.mp/coutreach/april2021_ebulletin?e=9aa0837e74

March E-bulletin




“Prayer and activity are not enemies. We ascend the ladder of consciousness beyond rational consciousness to intuitive and unitive levels, and then, when they become stabilized, action and contemplation become the same thing because God is present in everything. You see God in everything, and you see God intentionally working with circumstances outside of you and inside of you to teach you something new.”


 —Thomas Keating, 
God is All in All: The Evolution of the Christian Spiritual Journey



Let It All Go and Just BE
with Fr. Carl Arico

Q: Occasionally, I feel when I am in Centering Prayer that God is setting up a barrier, and that beyond that barrier is fire and that I would be burned if God allowed me to go beyond the barrier. The fire is God’s holiness, into which we cannot enter. It’s holy ground and taking off one’s shoes is not an option. Do other people have this kind of experience?

A: Read Fr. Carl’s response here




Be sure you have the free Contemplative Outreach app for Centering Prayer to support your daily prayer practice.  A Spanish-language version is also available.

You can find the app in the the iTunes App Store or the Google Play Store for the Android platform; search for Centering Prayer, select the one by Contemplative Outreach.



You can read the complete bulletin at  https://mailchi.mp/coutreach/march2021_ebulletin?e=9aa0837e74

Contemplative Outreach Dublin are meeting via Zoom. All are welcome


During the restrictions due to Covid-19, Contemplative Outreach Dublin are meeting via Zoom.  We meet on Thursdays at 4.00pm for a simple 20 min gathering and also on the Second Saturday of every month from 10.00am until 12.00 noon. 



All are welcome.  Please email fmquinn48@gmail.com if you would like the Zoom link for these meetings.  

An introduction to Centering Prayer. March 2021

February 2021

“Surrender to the unknown marks the great transitions of the spiritual journey.
On the brink of each new breakthrough there is a crisis of trust and love.”

 —Thomas Keating,The Better Part


In Memoriam


Fr William Meninger OCSO died Sunday morning, February 14th at age 88 in his infirmary room at St. Joseph’s Abbey in Spencer, Massachusetts. The day before his

death he led an international Zoom talk on the gospel of Mark.

Fr. Meninger was born in 1932 in Malden, Massachusetts, USA. He entered St. Joseph’s Abbey in 1963, made his solemn profession in 1970, changed stability to Snowmass in 1982 and changed his stability back to Spencer in 2020. He had been ordained a priest of the Diocese of Yakima, Washington in 1958. He had been in monastic vows for 55 years and 63 years a priest when the Lord called him.

Fr. William Meninger, Fr. Thomas Keating & Fr. Basil Pennington were the three principal architects of the Centering Prayer method and movement. 

Some of his books include St. John of the Cross for BeginnersJulian of Norwich: A Mystic for Today and The Loving Search for God: Contemplative Prayer and the Cloud of Unknowing.


“Everything is a Grace.
Everything … Everything … Everything.”

– Fr. William

Read the complete bulletin here   https://mailchi.mp/coutreach/february2021ebulletin?e=9aa0837e74


January e-bulletin

“‘The wind blows where it will, and you do not know where it is going.
So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.’ …
[T]o be moved by the Spirit
is an entirely new way of being in the world.”

 – Thomas Keating, Open Mind, Open Heart


 Is Centering Prayer Time for Everybody?
 with Joy Andrews Hayter

 Q: When I tried Centering Prayer, my mind was filled with thoughts ALL the time. So I found that all I could do was use the [sacred] word throughout the entire   time – 20 to 30 minutes. … Tried again and once again my brain was never still.  Are there people for whom God is saying “no” to meditation? …  Are there people for whom contemplative prayer will not work?

Read Joy’s response here

Save the Date


Contemplative Outreach United in Prayer Day 
Saturday, March 6, 2021

The United in Prayer Day will be a worldwide Zoom event
on the Saturday before Fr. Thomas Keating’s birthday, Saturday
March 6, 2021.

Anyone is free to join this global virtual offering. Chapters may also join-in or organize their own events. More details to come.

The complete e-bulletin is available at        https://mailchi.mp/coutreach/january2021ebulletin?e=9aa0837e74

December e- bulletin

December 2020

”[T]he best description of God is ‘is-ness’ without any limit … God is everything.”

 – Thomas Keating,



Q: “How do I choose my sacred word for Centering Prayer”

Dear Friend,

Thank you for asking for clarification on the first Centering Payer method guideline: “Choose a sacred word as the symbol of your intention to consent to God’s presence and action within.”

The sacred word is a symbol that expresses our intention to consent to God’s presence and action within. It is sacred not because of its inherent meaning but because of the meaning we give it as the expression of our intention to consent. In other words, the sacred word is sacred not because of its content but because of its intent. Our intention during the Centering Prayer is to be with and surrender to God whatever that looks like.

The sacred word is chosen during a brief prayer to the Holy Spirit, a word of one or two syllables as recommended in The Cloud of Unknowing written in the fourteenth century. Examples of the sacred word are: God, Jesus, Abba, Father, Mother, Mary, Amen, Mercy, Yes, Love, Listen, Peace, Let Go, Silence, Stillness, Faith, Trust. You can even choose a word from another language or  a  lyrical one such as Kyrie. Please notice if the word you receive causes an emotional reaction within you– whether negative or positive. If it does, you might want to pray for another word, as an emotional reaction during Centering Prayer is considered a thought and will take you out of the prayer.

There isn’t such thing as a right word, a wrong word, a better word or a more sacred word. The sacred word is only a symbol that expresses your intention to consent. Any one or two syllable word of love will do. Many people choose their name for God as theirs.

Having chosen a sacred word, do not change it during the period of Centering Prayer because that would be engaging in thoughts. I invite you to commit to the sacred word that you were gifted from the Holy Spirit for at least 30 days. You don’t have to shop around for a better word. For instance, one day thinking before praying, “I really need peace so I’m going to use the word Peace for my sacred word today.” Since Centering Payer is based on your  relationship with God, this would be trying to manipulate God. God as our Divine Physician heals and gifts us as He sees  fit, it is up to us to let go and let God during this prayer. Spending time with God in this way, is accepting his anointing and love. Jesus says in Matthew 10:30 that even all the hairs on our head are counted. If God knows each one of our hairs, He  must know us more than we know ourselves and what we need.

The longer you have the same sacred word the more you don’t have to think about using it , it will say itself. Long time Centering Prayer-ers will tell you they have had their scared word for years, perhaps never changing it.

That all being said, there are two other means of returning our attention to God during Centering Prayer the sacred breath and the inward sacred glance. In terms of the breath, this is a noticing not an effort to follow the breath. More artistic or visual folks may be drawn to the inward glance, a noticing of God within.

I hope this helps clarify  any questions you have about choosing a sacred word. Let the Spirit guide your choice. If not, please let me know. Here is a little more on the sacred word from Fr. Thomas’s book Open Mind, Open Heart,. You may want to read this book in its totality  to learn more about the Centering Prayer.

“The sacred word is a way of renewing your intention to open yourself to God and to accept Him as He is. While this does not prevent anyone from praying in other forms at other times, the period of Centering Prayer is not the time to pray specifically for others. By consenting to God, you are implicitly praying for everyone past, present and future. You are embracing the whole of creation. You are accepting all reality, beginning with God and with that part of your own reality of which you may not be generally aware, namely, the spiritual level of your being.”

All of Fr. Thomas’s Spiritual Journey videos are available on the Contemplative Outreach YouTube channel. Part 1 of his teaching on the Method of Centering Prayer is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5FWvxwfN_CE

Enjoy and celebrate the journey to Love. Peace be with you.




You can view the complete e-bulletin at   https://mailchi.mp/coutreach/december2020ebulletin?e=9aa0837e74

November e-bulletin

“The promise is that we are developing our capacity as human beings to do the things that God does with the greatest of ease: to forgive, to show compassion, to respect everyone, and to experience oneness with everyone.”

 Thomas Keating, Reflections on the Unknowable





Q&A Corner

Zoom Prayer and Video


Q: Zoom has surely opened up new possible ways to practice together in these rather isolating times; for this I am grateful! At the same time, I must admit the transition hasn’t been easy. Learning to work with the technical challenges and the hum of a computer in my sacred space has been another arena in which to employ my contemplative practices. As I pray my way through resistance to this new reality, there is one thing that keeps tripping me up; I hope you can help… I’m troubled by the practice in some virtual Centering Prayer groups of people turning off their cameras during the sit. I’ve heard it explained and even encouraged thus: some people feel more comfortable with the camera off, due to the intimate nature of the prayer; stopping the video may allay a sense of discomfort that some people experience from the fear of being watched during prayer. It’s not my intention to judge others’ needs or experiences, but this line of thinking concerns me. Am I alone in this?


Marys Answer.



 Thank you for your email. Many folks can relate to your sharing. Yet what kept coming to me as I read your words was Matthew 6:6, “But when you pray, go to your inner room, shut the door, and pray to your Father in secret.”(NAB).

It is an individual discernment what “shutting the door” looks like. For some it is just closing their eyes. For others it maybe eyes semi-open. For some a quick glance around the prayer circle, for others solitary space as indicated by turning their camera off.  What is important for me to remember is that this is about my relationship with the Divine Indwelling. As Matthew goes on to say, “And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.”   It is much like sitting next to someone who is snoring or restless in prayer. I can either focus on them and be annoyed, or I can ‘return ever so gently’ to my sacred symbol.

The true beauty of any gathering (zoom or in person) is the lived experience of, “whenever two or three are gathered in my name I am there”(Matthew 18:20). That is what I am experiencing in this extraordinary time of Zoom/Covid 19.




You can view the complete e-bulletin at        https://mailchi.mp/coutreach/nov2020-e-bulletin?e=9aa0837e74