May e-bulletin

There will be times when contemplatives feel they cannot pray anymore. All that is left to them is the desire to pray, sometimes buried under enormous difficulties in daily life along with interior purification. They need to be reminded again and again that the desire to pray is itself a prayer. St. John of the Cross wrote with great insight “Love consists not in feeling great things, but in having great detachment and in suffering for the Beloved.” The love of God is not a question of feeling but of choice … Thus someone who wants to pray is praying, and someone who feels no love is loving as long as he or she continues to remain available both in prayer and in daily life to the Divine Therapist.

Thomas Keating, Intimacy with God




“The way we would begin in prayer is that we belong to God …
all prayer starts and unfolds out of that knowing…”


Wise words from Thomas Merton to his novice monks. We would do well to listen for this inner certainty changes everything. But I can’t seem to hold on to this precious knowing. How do I swim in this golden river of love for longer than ten seconds, this fierce, ineffable, bottomless love of the Creator for creation?

image courtesy of elpopophoto
The truth is little by little. By myself, I can’t hold on to anything. But I am faithful to my Centering Prayer practice, as Jim Finley would say, “my daily rendezvous with God.”
Often, I find myself sighing deeply over my failings, sometimes laughing and other times tearful at my thoughts and actions. Thankfully, with less hateful judgment and criticism. I am living more and more of my life from a calm inner, compassionate awareness, and acceptance of my own preciousness in the face of my imperfections.
Perhaps I am swimming in the golden river of love and belonging more than I realize, especially when I look at myself with the eyes of God. This is good news.

Deborah Marqui
Healing Gardens, Illinois, USA


The full archive of community articles may be found here.

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April e-bulletin


The practice of meditation is indeed an authentic experience of dying to self … it is like a “mini-death,” at least from the perspective of the ego … We let go of our self-talk, our interior dialogue, our fears, wants, needs, preferences, daydreams, and fantasies. These all become just “thoughts,” and we learn to let them go. … In this sense, meditation is a mini-rehearsal for the hour of our own death, in which the same thing will happen. There is a moment when the ego is not longer able to hold us together, and our identity is cast to the mercy of Being itself. This is the existential experience of “losing one’s life.” …

Just as in meditation we participate in the death of Christ, we also participate in [Christ’s] resurrection. At the end of those twenty minutes or so of sitting, when the bell has rung, we are still here! For twenty minutes we have not been holding ourselves in life, and yet life remains. Something has held us and carried us. And this same something, we gradually come to trust, will hold and carry us at the hour of our death. To … really know this is the beginning of resurrection life. 

Cynthia Bourgeault, Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening







Ohara Koson, Lily and Butterflies, 1912



Q: What’s the difference between Centering Prayer and contemplation, and why does this matter?

A: Read the full question and David’s response.


You can read the complete bulletin at


3 Day Mid-Summer Welcoming Prayer Retreat on Zoom

3 Day Mid-Summer Welcoming Prayer Retreat on Zoom

Dates: Monday 4th – 6th July 2022

Time: 11.00 am – 6.00pm each day (Irish Standard Time)

Theme: Introduction to the Welcoming Prayer – Consent on the go.

Presenters: Denis Gleeson and Fionnuala Quinn





Day 1

Session 1 The Welcoming Prayer and the Human Condition

Morning: Presentation, Reflection and Silent practice

Lunch Break

Early Afternoon: Opportunity for Spiritual Companioning

Session 2: The Welcoming Prayer and the False Self

Late Afternoon: Presentation, Sharing in small groups (via breakout rooms)

Large group: Questions /Sharing /Clarifications

Silent Practice in group



Day 2

Session 3 – The Welcoming Prayer as a Method

Session 4 – The Fruits of the Welcoming Prayer






Day 3

Session 5 – Continuity and Development of the Welcoming Prayer

Session 6 – Taking good care of oneself in spiritual practice




Limited to 18 participants. Final date for registration is Friday 17th June

Suggested Offering – €75.00


To register your interest contact Ann O’Reilly email:


March E-bulletin

“Forgiveness is central to the Christian religion. It was Jesus’ chief concern on the night of his resurrection when he revealed himself to the apostles … breathed on them, and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them. Whose sins you retain are retained’ (John 20:22-23). …

“God is nothing but forgiveness. We too must practice forgiveness to be God’s children. There may be events and people in our conscious and unconscious memories that we have not forgiven. This leaves them in deep, even if repressed, psychological pain. It is in our power to heal them or to leave them in their pain. … In actual fact, not to forgive others is not to forgive ourselves. At the deepest level, we are everyone else. We can only enjoy the world of unconditional love with hearts that are completely open to everyone.”

Thomas Keating, Manifesting God


Q: How does God work in me in Centering Prayer? … 

How Does God Work in Centering Prayer?


Q: My problem is in understanding in what way and how God works in me in Centering Prayer. I know that to enter in Centering Prayer is to let go of all thoughts and words and verbal or silent “actual/conventional” prayer and to just be in God’s presence and let God work in me, but how do I know what and that God has worked in me??


A: Read the full question and Fr. Carl’s response here.


You can find the complete E-bulletin at

February E-bulletin

There is something very simple about God. Simple like a child’s laughter that breaks forth, spontaneously, without guile. Simple like when you act, immediately and directly, to help someone who falls in front of you. … God is simple like the way every moment of time, in its ordinariness, holds the gift of your life — like this moment now.

Entering into a simple contemplative practice and remaining with its simplicity awakens you to God’s simplicity. When you simplify your mind’s actions in Centering Prayer, you reduce them from many to one. In contemplation, your many thoughts and strategies of finding truth, of seeking God, of discovering what your own life is about, are simplified into truth itself, into God, into life itself. In the clear, immediate, unadorned moment of life, God just is. 

 David Frenette
The Path of Centering Prayer: Deepening Your Experience of God



Q: I have a question about charisma –  I heard it can be a gift of the Spirit but I also know it can be a serious ego trap (a certain guru with a fleet of luxury limousines comes to mind). What kind of energy is there behind charisma? Is it a gift or a curse? It seems to me that Fr. Keating had a bit of a struggle on that front at the time he was an abbot. 
A: Read Cynthia’s response here.






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A Silent Introductory Retreat to Centering Prayer. Mercy International Centre,   64A Baggot Street, Dublin 2

Monday, August 29 – Friday, September 2, 2022

Catherine’s House: Mercy International Centre,   64A Baggot Street, Dublin 2


Fionnuala Quinn O.P.

Suzanne Ryder RSM

Maire Hearty RSM


A Silent Introductory Retreat to Centering Prayer

with Readings from Catherine McAuley

Retreatants will participate in the full Introduction to Centering Prayer, suitable for newcomers and those familiar with Centering Prayer. The retreat will also include Lectio Divina, a Contemplative Tour of Catherine’s House and viewing of A Rising Tide of Silence: A Reflective Portrait of Father Thomas Keating.

There will be optional opportunity for spiritual accompaniment

with the retreat presenters.

Please register directly with Mercy Centre

01 661 8061 or

Listen to the Spirit Speaking to your Heart. ENNISMORE RETREAT CENTRE

Sunday July 10 – 15, 2022


Fionnuala Quinn O.P.

Lesley O’Connor

Listen to the Spirit Speaking to your Heart

This contemplative retreat welcomes those who are drawn to silence and yearn to learn more about the ancient Christian practices of Monastic Lectio Divina and Centering Prayer. The retreat will be underpinned by the teachings of Thomas Keating from his series God is Love, the Heart of All Creation.

There will be an optional opportunity for spiritual accompaniment with the retreat presenters.

Fionnuala and Lesley are commissioned presenters of Contemplative Outreach Ltd.

Please register directly with Ennismore Retreat Centre at

021 4502520 or


In the experience of silence, especially if it is deep, you may experience at times a certain pure awareness. Even if it is brief, you are in contact with That Which Is, and this Reality is obviously in love with you.

 Thomas Keating
God is Love: The Heart of All Creation


Thoughts about Thoughts
by Eben Carsey
Boulder, Colorado, USA

 … My capacity for ever-so-gently responding to thoughts is influenced by my attitude toward them and ways in which I understand them. … 

To bless them does not necessarily mean to approve them, and it does not require engaging with them, examining them, nor controlling them.  Blessing them involves a gentle attentiveness to them, recognizes God’s presence in them, and releasing attachment to them, letting them go to be in God. Read more >>

image: Vincent Van Gogh, Starry Night, 1889

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October e-bulletin

October 2020“Because we are members of one species, all of whom are interconnected and interdependent, our every thought, word and deed affect everyone else
in the human family instantaneously, regardless of space and time. 
Hence we are accountable to each other as well as to God.”

 Thomas Keating, Reflections on the Unknowable


In Memoriam

 We honor the second anniversary of the passing of two great Beloveds of our contemplative community. Abbot Joseph and Fr. Thomas were together in the monastery for more than 50 years and then passed on within four days of each other. We remember them this month and give thanks for the many blessings they freely gave to so many of us. You may wish to dedicate one of your Centering Prayer sessions to their memory and to their deep wish for the healing and unity of all creation.


You may wish to revisit Fr. Thomas
Memorial Videos:

You can read the complete bulletin here

September e-bulletin

“Deep prayer increases our trust in God so that we can acknowledge anything
and are not blown away by it.”

Thomas Keating, Intimacy with God



Unloading of the Unconscious


Q: I have practiced Centering Prayer for years now and I was wondering if you could explain the process of unloading of the unconscious. What happens when forgotten memories and feelings, past traumas, just erupt during the prayer session. Does it mean that by being brought to the surface they are healed? How to handle them during the prayer itself as they are much more difficult to let go than “ordinary” thoughts.

Mary: As Fr. Thomas taught, the Divine Therapist embraces every opportunity we provide (by faithfulness to our practices) to remove all the obstacles within us that preclude the free flow of Grace/Love in our lives. A regular practice of Centering Prayer almost guarantees the “cleaning out the basement” will begin! For most lay folks, the bulk of the “unloading of the unconscious” occurs in the midst of our daily lives though, not during the time of prayer. Relationships, careers/jobs, health issues provide a myriad of sources to begin to free us from our unconscious attachments and aversions. Yearly retreats also enhance the unloading process.

But what is most important to remember from my perspective is that while the psychological/physical content of the moment may be uncomfortable and down right dreadful, it is a true indication that the Divine Therapy ( healing process ) is fully underway. God is truly LOVING US INTO LIFE. A Radical, Invincible Trust begins to emerge in the One who brought us to the moment; that One will see us through the moment, because the only way out IS through. Often we are only aware of this in hindsight. For if we were fully aware of the unloading we think we are really in charge of it! The 12-step way of saying all of this is, “God is doing for us what we cannot do for ourselves.” So faithfulness to our daily practices is our way of saying yes to the invitation to be transformed and consent to Divine Union, the fourth Consent.

When really overwhelmed with emotion or pain during Centering Prayer just be. Fr. Thomas taught that in the midst of unloading the sacred word is like a buoy in a hurricane. No where to be found! But if we ride it out, so to speak, a calming begins to emerge after a while and we can “ever so gently” return to our sacred word/symbol.

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