“When we persevere with the help of a gentle discipline, we slowly come to hear the still small voice and to feel the delicate breeze, and so to come to know the presence of Love.” Henri Nouwen
The gift of Centering Prayer has been a part of the prayer life of Sts. Simon & Jude parish for many years. We are currently blessed to have two Centering Prayer groups. Our Tuesday afternoon group meets in the Franciscan Rooms from 4:00-5:00 p.m. and our evening group meets from 7:00-8:00 p.m. on the 2nd and 4th Monday of each month in the Church. There is no experience needed. Our gatherings often include:
• 1-2 periods of Centering Prayer (prayer in silence)
• Meditative Walk
• Prayer Requests
• Lectio Divina (reflection on scripture passage or other spiritual reading)
The contemplative life is an ancient Christian concept based on the spirituality of the scriptures. We are all seekers, trying to find God in our lives and striving to make our life's journey one that is in close relationship with the Being who creates us, sustains us, and loves us into redemption. In its simplest expression, a contemplative life is living ordinary life with extraordinary love. Centering prayer is one tool for creating a contemplative life. It helps us deepen our awareness of God, even in the midst of our active lives.
- Contemplative Outreach - Contemplative Outreach is an international community of individuals and Centering Prayer groups committed to living the contemplative dimension of the Gospel in everyday life. Our prayer group facilitators are trained and certified by this organization.
- Thomas Keating Centering Prayer Guidelines Video - Father Thomas Keating, a Trappist monk, is one of the founders of Contemplative Outreach and is the author of many books. He has done much to encourage contemplative prayer in the worldwide Christian community. His most famous work is Open Mind, Open Heart and is a good “primer on Centering Prayer. His teachings can be also viewed on YouTube.
This is a partial list of books our group has read over the years.
- Open Mind, Open Heart by Thomas Keating
- The Furious Longing of God by Brennan Manning
- The Loving Search for God by William Meninger
- Stillness Speaks by Eckhart Tolle
- The Naked Now by Richard Rohr
- The Contemplative Heart by James Finley
- The Reed of God – Caryll Houselander
- Encounters With Merton – Henri Nouwen
- David Steindl-Rast: Essential Writings - Clare Hallwood
- The Holy Longing - Ronald Rohlheiser
- Invitation to Love - Thomas Keating
- Intimacy with God - Thomas Keating
Thoughts from Fr. Thomas Keating, founding member and the spiritual guide of Contemplative Outreach, LTD:
“Centering Prayer is a method of silent prayer that prepares us to receive the gift of contemplative prayer, prayer in which we experience God's presence within us, closer than breathing, closer than thinking, closer than consciousness itself. This method of prayer is both a relationship with God and a discipline to foster that relationship.
Centering Prayer is not meant to replace other kinds of prayer. Rather, it adds depth of meaning to all prayer and facilitates the movement from more active modes of prayer — verbal, mental or affective prayer — into a receptive prayer of resting in God. Centering Prayer emphasizes prayer as a personal relationship with God and as a movement beyond conversation with Christ to communion with Him.
The source of Centering Prayer, as in all methods leading to contemplative prayer, is the Indwelling Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The focus of Centering Prayer is the deepening of our relationship with the living Christ. The effects of Centering Prayer are ecclesial, as the prayer tends to build communities of faith and bond the members together in mutual friendship and love.”