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

 

Q&A 
 

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.

Leslee

 

 

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.

Blessings,

Mary

 

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

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  https://mailchi.mp/coutreach/october2020-e-bulletin?e=9aa0837e74

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.

You can read the complete E-bulletin at   https://mailchi.mp/coutreach/september2020-e-bulletin?e=9aa0837e74