“As we confront the crisis of civilization culminating in the specter of humanicide, is there an alternative to the present plunge of humanity toward the abyss of utmost violence?
“There is an alternative. It is the commitment to the practice of charity. . . . Charity, as a way of life, has never been tried on a national, let alone worldwide scale. . . . The only fully adequate alternative to utmost violence is utmost charity. This is the practice of mutual love in personal relationships and among nations, even to the point of dying for the sake of the survival, enhancement, and transformation of the whole human family, past, present, and to come.”
— Thomas Keating, Contemplative Outreach News, December 2008
Special leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and others have long been calling for nonviolence, compassion, and equality on a worldwide scale. Thomas Keating was unique in his appeal for “utmost charity” in his teachings, urging us to move beyond our normal ideas of charity into a deeper and more radical expression of God’s love in our relationships and circumstances, especially as the crises of the world multiply exponentially. He also frequently referred to the fruit of a dedicated Centering Prayer practice as the capacity to “live ordinary life with extraordinary love.”
This e-course will explore how we live out the movement of the indwelling Spirit in everyday life, living an an inside-out life rooted and grounded in Love and for Love. Drawing heavily on the teachings of Thomas Keating, we will also include contemplative wisdom from Bernadette Roberts, David Hawkins, Howard Thurman, and others, weaving together themes that explore:
- Utmost charity as the fruit and gift of the Spirit
- Utmost charity flowing from the state of transforming union as selfless service
- The practice of utmost charity
- Utmost charity as a way of being and as a relational social contract
This e-course will encourage a deeper engagement with contemplative practices such as Centering Prayer (or your silent prayer practice), Lectio Divina, Visio Divina, the Welcoming Prayer, and the Active Prayer. This program consists of 12 emails sent on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday each week. You will be invited to discuss the teachings and your experiences with the practices in the online Practice Circle.
There will also be two live, one-hour prayer chapels each week to practice together and go deeper with the material. The Zoom prayer groups are Monday 3-4 pm Pacific Time / 5-6 pm Central Time, and Thursday 6-7 am Pacific Time / 8-9 am Central Time. These will be recorded for those who cannot attend live.
Join our global community to offer the transforming energy of utmost charity to our struggling and suffering world.
Scholarships available through Contemplative Outreach; please apply here.
Monday, September 25 - Friday, October 20