Easter flowers and the church

Contemplative Prayer Ministry

The Mission of Contemplative Prayer Ministry: In accord with the teachings of the Catholic Church through the local ordinary, the Archbishop of Seattle, is to promote Christian Contemplative Spirituality by offering comprehensive, formational, and integrative "spiritual program" involving various forms of Christian prayer practices, with Centering Prayer as the "centerpiece" among lay Catholics, clergy, lay professional ministers, and other people of faith.  

Contact Person: John Eisen, M'Div, jeisen@stfoa-parish.org

Retreat Team: John Eisen, MDiv, Paul Peterhans, MDiv, and Kay Kukowski

Resources: "Open Mind, Open Heart" Fr. Thomas Keating, 1996 St. Benedict's Monastery

Additional Reseources: Contemplative Outreach, Ltd. http://www.contemplativeoutreach.org/

Christian Contemplative Spirituality:  Contemplative prayer is a process of interior transformation, a conversion initiated by God and leading, if we consent, to divine union. One way of seeing reality changes in this process. A restructuring of consciousness takes place which empowers one to perceive, relate, and respond to everyday life with increasing sensitivity to the divine presence in, through, and beyond everything that happens.

According to Christian tradition, contemplation is a pure gift of God. To refer to it as pure gift, however, (we) need to be nuanced lest we give the impression that it is out of reach and unattainable except for exceptional people like those in cloisters, hermits, or those who lead very austere lives. On the contrary, contemplation is a fundamental constituent of human nature and hence available to every human being. It is accessed by letting go of our own idea of ourselves, turning our will over to God, and resting in the Divine Indwelling that is already present within us and waiting to reveal itself to us.

Centering Prayer is a movement of Divine Love designed to renew the Christian contemplative tradition. It consists of consenting to the call of the Holy Spirit to consent to God’s presence and action within. It is based on the format for the profound form of prayer that Jesus suggests in Matthew 6:6“If you pray, enter your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will cause your life to blossom.”

Notice the cascading movements in this text into ever deeper states of silence. Leaving behind external tumult, the environment we may be in, and the concerns of the moment by entering our inner room, and spiritual level of our being, the level of intuition and the spiritual will.

  1. Closing the door, that is, shutting out and turning off the interior conversation we normally have with ourselves all day long as we judge, evaluate, and react to people and events entering and leaving our lives.
  2. Praying in secret to the Father, who speaks to us beyond the sound of words.

The centering prayer method responds to this invitation:

By consenting to God’s presence and action within

By surrendering our will completely to God.

  1. By relating to God who dwells in secret, which is the silence of self.

As God brings the “new creation” to life in interior silence, that is to say, the new you, with the world view that Christ shares in deep silence. God’s view of things becomes more important than our own. Then God asks us to live that new life in the circumstances of everyday life.  Fr. Thomas Keating, Open Mind, Open Heart, pp 2-3)

Centering Prayer Group meets on the 1st and 4th Wednesdays of the month, 7:00 pm, in the Conference Room. The group has two 20-minute Centering Prayer periods, walking meditation in between the two prayer periods.  The group watches/listens to teachers of the contemplative tradition, especially Fr. Thomas Keating, the founder of Contemplative Outreach Ltd., an international organization that educates and supports people in their centering prayer practice.

Note: Last December Archbishop Sartain of Seattle offered his formal support of Centering Prayer Ministry. Andrew Casad, Archdiocesan Director of the Office of Liturgy, is the C.P.M. liaison with the Archbishop.

Centering Prayer retreats have been offered at the Palisades Retreat Center (Federal Way) for the past eight years. The contemplative prayer ministry is expanding upon the Palisades centering prayer retreats to focus on interested Catholics in parishes. (There are 11 Centering Prayer groups in parishes throughout the Archdiocese of Seattle.)

 

 

Resources

Books:

Open Mind, Open Heart by Fr. Thomas Keating, 2006

The Human Condition: Contemplation and Transformation by Fr. Thomas Keating, 1999, St. Benedict's Monastery, Snowmass, CO

Web sites:

www.contemplativeoutreach.org

Centering Prayer group

Centering Prayer Group meets every 1st and 4th Wednesdays of the month. Because of Thanksgiving the group meets on the 5th Wednesday, 7-8:30pm, Conference Room. First hour is devoted to Centering Prayer, followed by personal sharing and/or teaching about C.P.

 

 

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