We are coming up to the first anniversary of the Centering Prayer groups formation at St. Eulalia’s. During the past three weeks I have introduced Centering Prayer to over 200 retreatants, most of which were experiencing Centering Prayer for the first time. Even to some experienced “traditional” prayer warriors, the results have been unexpectedly good.
The basis for Centering Prayer appears to have been borne in the desert Fathers such as John Cassian in the 3rd century. Cassian headed to the desert with the intention of separating himself from the world, and with the intention of being alone with God in silence. Scripture also forms a powerful basis, the suffering and prayer of Jesus Christ in the garden of Gethsemane where Jesus prays let it be done according to your will, not mine. Jesus offers up Himself fully to His father, surrendering his will and offering his intention to the desire to comply and rest in the will of God. This is a prayer of consent, the basis of Centering Prayer.
Philippians 2:5 talks also of putting on the mind of Christ as a key means of us bringing ourselves close to the Lord. Centering prayer is steeped in this model, as the prayer requires us to consent to the action of the Divine in our lives. A prayer without agendas, supplications or engagement of the intellect. We offer ourselves simply to be in God’s presence and consent, openly to His presence.
The anonymous author of The Cloud of Unknowing provides a blueprint from the 13th Century on the specifics of this prayer form, and how beneficial it can be to all other prayer forms. Centering prayer does not replace any other prayer form, but can help deepen the prayers you are currently engaged in.
If you are interested in learning more about Centering prayer please contact Louise Cucuzzo or those leading the prayers groups listed in the bulletin and on the web site.
Some books which may be useful to read are Open Mind, Open Heart, by Thomas Keating and The Loving Search for God by William Meninger, two of the three major founders of the modern Centering prayer movement.
There is a large supermarket of prayer forms and spiritual guides (the saints) in the Catholic Church, perhaps as you head into winter you might want to try some of these out for Advent. There are many ways to meet God and Centering prayer is just another one we have available to us.
Perhaps you should try it.
Waiting is not a dead time.
A waste of time.
An extended moment of impatience.
As if life only starts after it has passed.
Rather waiting is an opportunity for reflection.
Take it today.