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Centering Prayer

  • is a contemporary form of prayer of the heart or pure prayer in the desert tradition
  • has been called the prayer of simplicity or of simple regard
  • is an effort to recover and renew the teaching of the Christian tradition on contemplative prayer
  • does not replace other forms of prayer and needs to find a place among them 
  • reduces obstacles to the development of contemplative prayer
  • puts us in touch with our True Self
  • puts us in touch with repressed emotional material from early childhood 
  • facilitates the development of habits which are conducive to receiving and responding to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit 

  • *OMOH: 18-31, 37,65,72
  • BP: 86-100, 110
  • DI: 11-24
  • IG: 11-21, 32-37, 55-65,72-91, 92-103
  • MG: 33, 55, 72, 78, 81, 82, 96, 107, 109, 131-139
  • AM: 19-26
  • FG: 31, 33, 75, 78
  • HC: 20, 34, 35
  • DT& A: 163, 165, 216-217
  • TS: 33
  • STL: 12

Centering Prayer is not just a method; it is true prayer. The essence of it is consent to God’s presence and action within. Centering Prayer is at the same time a relationship with God and a discipline to foster that relationship. It is an easily accessible practice that furthers our spiritual journey towards Divine Union, once we realize that such a state exists.

Centering Prayer is a movement beyond conversation with Christ, which involves thinking and acts of the will, to communion with Christ in silence and love. It rests in God beyond thoughts, words and emotions.

Its primary scriptural basis is Jesus’ wisdom saying in Matthew 6:6: “If you want to pray, enter your room, shut the door, and pray to your Father who is in secret and your Father who sees in secret, will reward you.”

Related Concepts


Reflection

 

Description

Centering Prayer is based on the first two steps suggested in the wisdom saying of Jesus in Matthew 6:6. The first is to let go of external circumstances and their turmoil. The second is to let go of the interior noise of our thoughts and feelings. This opens our awareness to the deep level of our being and to the inner stream of consciousness, which is our participation in God’s being.

We need to refresh ourselves at this deep level every day, preferably twice a day for twenty minutes, preferably in the morning and evening. Later and with more experience, we can gradually lengthen the time.

The Centering Prayer method comes out of the Christian tradition, principally The Cloud of Unknowing, by an anonymous fourteenth-century author, as well as the teachings of St. John of the Cross. It brings us into the presence of God and fosters the contemplative attitudes of listening and total receptivity.

Centering Prayer is the Trinity living the divine life within us. It is eminently a Trinitarian prayer and presupposes the Incarnation, the Divine Indwelling, the Mystical Body of Christ, the Seven Gifts of the Spirit the great dogmatic teachings that are generally regarded by theologians and the mystics as the most important principles relating to the spiritual journey.

Centering Prayer involves consenting and surrendering to God. The key is patience. If we wait, God will manifest Himself. We may also find the awareness of God’s presence arising at times of ordinary undertakings. One important purpose of Centering Prayer is the integration of periods of formal prayer and silence with the activities of everyday life.

Centering Prayer provides us with profound healing. Its deep rest loosens up the emotional weeds of a lifetime. Primitive emotions may pass through our awareness during prayer and these we must accept without resisting or hanging onto them, and without judging them ourselves harshly.


 

 Reflection: Listening

Is God calling you to do Centering Prayer? Is God calling you to increase the time you give to Centering Prayer?

Reflection: Reflecting

Are you faithful to two periods of Centering Prayer every day? Do you need to change the time, length or location of your prayer? During the prayer period, do you sometimes lose track of your sacred symbol while remaining in the presence of God? How do you experience the “unloading of unconsciousness”?

Reflection: Responding

After prayer, let your heart respond to God. What would you like to say? Allow yourself to be emotionally involved. Allow your developing relationship with God to move the level of pure faith.

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