"God's first word is Silence."
- Thomas Keating
Be still and know
that I am God.
- Psalm 42
This retreat brings together two founding principals of Contemplative Outreach to offer the conceptual background, the method, and insights into Centering Prayer as a way of life. They draw upon their more than 30 years of experience of practice, as well as teaching this method of prayer to thousands worldwide.
We may think of prayer as thoughts or feelings expressed in words. But this is only one expression. In the Christian tradition contemplative, prayer is considered to be the pure gift of God. It is the opening of mind and heart — our whole being — to God, the Ultimate Mystery, beyond thoughts, words, and emotions. Through grace we open our awareness to God whom we know by faith is within us, closer than breathing, closer than thinking, closer than choosing — closer than consciousness itself.
Centering Prayer is a method designed to facilitate the development of contemplative prayer by preparing our faculties to receive this gift. It presents the teaching of earlier times in an updated form. Centering Prayer is not meant to replace other kinds of prayer; rather it casts a new light and depth of meaning on them. It is at the same time a relationship with God and a discipline to foster that relationship. This method of prayer is a movement beyond conversation with Christ to communion with Him.
Centering Prayer is based on the wisdom saying of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount : "...But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you” (Matthew 6:6). It is also inspired by writings of major contributors to the Christian contemplative heritage including John Cassian, the anonymous author of The Cloud of Unknowing, Francis de Sales, Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Therese of Lisieux, and Thomas Merton.
This online retreat assists you in learning, renewing, and establishing a daily Centering Prayer practice as the foundation for the contemplative life. You can expect:
- 12 emails giving guidelines for practicing Centering Prayer.
- Links to video and audio teachings to support learning and practicing Centering Prayer.
(choose your own start date and frequency)