July e-bulletin

July 2020

“God’s activity is the work of the Holy Spirit in your particular embodiment in this world … 
We are pleading for the supreme gift of the Spirit simply
by consenting to God’s will and action.”

Thomas Keating,  Fruits and Gifts of the Spirit


Highlighted Online Retreats and Events

Welcoming Prayer Sessions on Zoom:
The last Welcoming Prayer Session on Zoom will be held August 13th. Whenever you need a Welcoming Prayer session you can view all the recordings on our YouTube channel here. Scroll through the list until you see the practice sessions.


Lectio Divina Immersion and Presenter Training Zoom Retreat
August 7, 8 2020 
This online retreat will  provide an opportunity to explore and deepen one’s individual practice of Lectio Divina as a way of praying the scriptures in an online community. Register here


The Great Reality Deep Within 
12-Step Zoom Weekend Retreat
Friday, August 14 to Sunday, August 16

This retreat is for those in 12-Step recovery who have a desire to learn a method of meditation and companion practices, as well as for experienced meditators who wish to deepen their established practices. Registration due by August 7th.
Read more and register here.


Thomas Keating’s The Secret Embrace 
with Cynthia Bourgeault
Offered by Spirituality & Practice
Monday, August 31 – Friday, September 25

This course will allow you to glimpse, through the shimmering facets of Fr. Thomas Keating’s poetry and Cynthia’s insightful exegesis, key aspects of his final journey of transfiguration – a path open to us all. The whole course will be set on the foundation of the question “How do we live in this world of pain and uncertainty with the courage and unity that come from turning toward the stillness, the transfiguration?” 
Read more and register here

You can see the full bulletin here      https://mailchi.mp/coutreach/july2020-e-bulletin?e=9aa0837e74

June E-bulletin


“… Through contemplative prayer we come under the influence of the Spirit
both in prayer and action. Then action is truly prayer.”

Thomas Keating, Mystery of Christ


Voices of the Community


Centering Prayer as a Path of Return
By Colleen Thomas

… I came to my Centering Prayer practice in my mid-20’s around the same time that I joined a 12-step program for compulsive overeating. In the years between childhood and adulthood, what began as a retreat to my imaginary creative worlds, became an escape route from all of the angst and pain of childhood wounds. And so I entered into the practice of Centering Prayer a self-professed full-fledged escape artist. Over time, I found a new shelter in my contemplative spiritual practice: It provided me the same space for stillness, silence and solitude than writing, but with a more life giving practice of “letting go” which  challenged my  habitual coping mechanism of escape. Read More>


You can read the complete e-bulletin at https://mailchi.mp/coutreach/june2020-e-bulletin?e=9aa0837e74

Our Voices United : To the global community of Contemplative Outreach:   


To the global community of Contemplative Outreach:                                                 

To be in the kingdom is to participate in God’s solidarity with the poor by sharing with them the good things that have been given to us.  In the New Testament the great sin is to be deaf to the cry of the poor whether that cry springs from emotional, material, or spiritual need.  Although we cannot help but partake in some degree in social injustice because we live in this world, we must constantly reach out in concrete and practical ways to those in need.  Divine love is not a feeling, but a choice.”
– Thomas Keating, Meditations on the Parables of Jesus

In the spirit that exclaims, “we are all created equal,” Contemplative Outreach unites its voice with those who have been oppressed, violated, discriminated against, abused, exploited, and who now are asking to be considered normal human beings! At the same time we reject the use of violence in the struggle to achieve equality. We acknowledge that those who discriminate are also human beings and in need of healing as well.

Contemplative Outreach recognizes that discrimination, being part of our cultural conditioning, can be healed by contemplative practices like Centering Prayer. We invite all of us who consciously or unconsciously recognize that we participate or have participated in acts of discrimination to open our hearts to the healing power of God, so that united with those who have been the victims of discriminatory acts, we can all be healed together.
With the hope of love and peace for our world,
Your Governing Board


Lectio Divina and Centering Prayer Retreat via Zoom

Ennismore Retreat Centre, Montenotte, Cork

5 day retreat Lectio Divina and Centering Prayer

Monday June 29 – Friday July 3, 2020

15 participants using the Zoom platform


This retreat offers an in depth introduction to the Monastic form of Lectio Divina as a contemplative process of transformation and its relationship with Centering Prayer.

The programme will support newcomers to Lectio Divina as well as those who wish to revisit this ancient practise. Input will be given for two hours each morning and participants are invited to progress through these days in silence and solitude as their own sacred space permits.

In exploring the monastic form of Lectio Divina we will relate to the four Senses of Scripture, incorporate periods of practise and make the connection of Lectio Divina to our daily lives.

This retreat will be presented by Fionnuala Quinn O.P. and Lesley O’ Connor Contemplative Outreach Dublin.

Please register by sending an email to fmquinn48@gmail.com

The zoom link will be forwarded to participants

May E-Bulletin

May 2020

“Silence is not just silence or emptiness or nothingness but … the best preparation there is because then there’s no obstacle. And God’s love – since it’s so pervasive – just comes in, like the weather, and like it fills any empty space.”

Thomas Keating, God is Love,The Heart of All Creation


  A Borderless Practice:
  The Interspiritual Invitation of Centering Prayer

  By Keith Kristich




 In the weekly Centering group I have led for the last seven years, it has been my joy to find conservatives and progressives,   Evangelicals,  Catholics, Episcopalians, and fundamentalists gathered in union to open to the mystery of God. It has also been my joy to    welcome practitioners of Buddhism, spiritual seekers, and in particular, two close friends of the Jewish faith.
But how does such a diverse group of people come together in union when there are so many distinctions and differences of thought and mind? Because Centering Prayer is “non-conceptual”, during our twenty minute silent sit, we don’t cling to our cherished concepts and beliefs about God, but rather sink into the naked and immediate heart of God as the Ultimate Mystery, always just outside the reach of the mind’s grasp. Read more>



Lectio Divina in Moments of Crisis
with Leslee Terpay

Q: How can Lectio Divina help us during this time of Covid-19?

Read Leslee’s response here.


More resources:


Have questions? Submit your questions about your Centering Prayer practice, the spiritual journey and the contemplative life to any of our contributors by emailing isabelle@coutreach.org.

An archive of all Q&A’s may be found here.


See the complete e-bulletin here  https://mailchi.mp/coutreach/may2020-e-bulletin?e=9aa0837e74


E-bulletin from Contemplative Outreach April 2020

April 2020
“God is totally committed to the transformation of each of us into Godself.”

Thomas Keating, From the Mind to the Heart

“Oneness: The Secret Embrace”
Zoom Video Conference with
Cynthia Bourgeault

April 30 – May 2, 2020 
Free and open to all
(suggested donation of $35 USD)Offered in partnership with Contemplative Outreach of South Africa, this Zoom-video conference will be held from April 30th to May 2nd from about 12:30pm GMT/2:30pm South Africa Time/ 8:30am Eastern  (New York) Time each day and will include Centering Prayer, Lectio Divina, teachings from Cynthia, and the opportunity to submit questions via the Zoom chat feature. Each day will be about two hours long and participants are free to come and go as need be. The conference will be recorded and made available to all at a later date. 

Cynthia will unpack Thomas Keating’s emerging final vision of Oneness: a state of consciousness/selfhood, oneness among the religions and oneness in our fragile and embattled world. Paul calls this becoming a “New Creation”.

“For Christians, it is to be a kind of fifth Gospel:
to become the word of God and to manifest God … empty of self and full of God”
– Thomas Keating, The Human Condition


Register here

The Welcoming Prayer in Moments of Crisis
With Mary DwyerQ: How can the Welcoming Prayer help us during this time of Covid-19?

  • Read Mary’s response here.
  • Watch a live Welcoming Prayer experiential session with Mary in the Meditation Chapel here.

More resources:

  • 30-minute experiential Welcoming Prayer practice twice a week in the Meditation Chapel. Find more information in the “New in the Meditation Chapel” section below.
  • Contemplative Life Program (CLP) booklet on the Welcoming Prayer available through the Contemplative Outreach Bookstore.
  • Welcoming Prayer Playlist on our YouTube channel.
  • Live Welcoming Prayer online course will be offered this Fall through Spirituality and Practice.     

By Rashani Read

There is a brokenness
out of which comes the unbroken,
a shatteredness
out of which blooms the unshatterable.
There is a sorrow
beyond all grief which leads to joy
and a fragility
out of whose depths emerges strength.
There is a hollow space too vast for words
through which we pass with each loss,
out of whose darkness we are sanctioned into being.
There is a cry deeper than all sound
whose serrated edges cut the heart
as we break open
to the place inside which is unbreakable
and whole
while learning to sing.

Read the full e-bulletin here   https://mailchi.mp/coutreach/april2020-e-bulletin?e=9aa0837e74

Oneness: The Secret Embrace Thomas Keating’s final gift to the world.Global Zoom Conference featuring Cynthia Bourgeault

Oneness:  The Secret Embrace
Thomas Keating’s final gift to the world
April 30 – May 2, 2020

Cynthia Bourgeault will unpack Thomas Keating’s emerging final vision of Oneness. He saw it as a state of consciousness/selfhood, oneness among the religions and oneness in our fragile and embattled world. Paul calls this becoming a “New Creation”.

Just by living and growing in consciousness, we are becoming, growing in God’s Self, in God’s presence, in God-consciousness. The ultimate consciousness is total Oneness in which God is all in all.

“For Christians, it is to be a kind of fifth Gospel: to become the word of God and to manifest God … empty of self and full of God”
– Thomas Keating, The Human Condition

Offered in partnership with Contemplative Outreach of South Africa, this Zoom-video conference will be held from April 30th to May 2nd from about 12:30pm GMT/2:30pm South Africa Time and 8:30am Eastern (New York) Time each day and will include Centering Prayer, Lectio Divina, teachings from Cynthia, and the opportunity to submit questions via the Zoom chat feature.  Each day will be about two hours long and participants are free to come and go as need be. The conference will be recorded and made available to all at a later date.

The program is free and open to all.  A donation of $35 USD is suggested for the conference and all donations are gratefully accepted. Please register using the form below.

Copies of The Secret Embrace are available here in the online store.

*watercolor by Charlotte M. Frieze

Special e-bulletin March

March 2020

“The concerns, distractions, achievements, ambitions, and other human activities are often monumental, awesome, and frightening. And yet, compared to God’s plan, they are nothing at all. The contemplative vision perceives God even in the midst of disaster, turmoil, or personal failure. It never loses hope because its hope is not based on human events but on the divine goodness, which is infinitely powerful and infinitely merciful. …
“Time spent in waiting for God, or waiting upon God, or in doing nothing, is not lost time.
It is cultivating the attitude of acceptance of our whole being. Our inmost being does not have to prove itself because it is already infinitely loved. At the deepest level it is free, joyful, full of love, compassion and an awareness of the unity of all that exists.Thomas Keating, Consenting to God As God Is 




Scheduling an at-home retreat is a great alternative to attending a directed retreat.
Here are a few suggestions:

  • Even a short time apart makes a difference. Block 1/2 a day, a full day, a weekend, or longer. During this time, refrain or limit exposure to news, social media and other distractions.
  • Create a sacred environment by lighting a candle, setting up an altar with sacred objects, burning incense or other ways meaningful to you.
  • Create a daily schedule including multiple Centering Prayer sessions with a meditative walk.
  • Read a spiritual book, practice Lectio Divina, view enriching videos and journal. You can find suggestions in “Our Store” section below or more in our online store.
  • Surround yourself with beauty: Listen to sacred music, walk in nature, make art or engage your creativity in some way.
  • Rest. Take naps.  
  • Participate in online video prayer groups via The Meditation Chapel.
  • Email uswith your questions; we now have a full panel of Q&A facilitators to support you.

Let the Spirit lead you into your retreat day as it unfolds.


You can read the complete e-bulletin at    https://mailchi.mp/coutreach/mar2020-e-bulletin?e=9aa0837e74

Second Saturday postponed due to the outbreak of Covid-19.


Centering Prayer for the Second Saturday in March, is postponed due to the outbreak of Covid-19.