United in Prayer Day “Centering Prayer: A Way of Life

Fifty three people enjoyed our United in Prayer Day on March 19, 2016. So many people were touched by this scripture and also by the readings, many people asked for direct quotes, and that’s why it was decided to do a synopsis of our meeting and share it with everyone. To recall the blessings received surely gives glory to God! And, perhaps this will draw you to our Day of Prayer next year.

As we began we were asked to close our eyes, breath in, breath out, and consider the title, “Centering Prayer: A way of Life” and whether a scripture came to mind. We were asked to recall also the journey of where we have been in our prayer life, where and when we began, where we had been led. We joined our voices together in asking the Holy Spirit to fall afresh on us.

From Open Mind, Open Heart: Contemplative prayer is a process of interior transformation, a conversation initiated by God & leading, if we consent, to divine union.

We had seven members new to CONEO and new to CP, and explanations were given throughout the day for their ease and comfort. After the introduction we had our 20-minute period of Centering Prayer with the following quote …

God wants to share with us even in this life the maximum amount of divine life that we can possibly contain. The call of the gospel, “Follow me,” is addressed to every baptized person. We have within us in virtue of our baptism all the grace-given powers we need to follow Christ into the bosom of the Father. The attempt to do this – to reach more deeply toward the love of Christ within us and to manifest it more fully in the world – constitutes the heart of the spiritual journey – it is a way of life. (From Invitation to Love: The Emotional Programs for Happiness) We ended CP with: Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” Jn 14:6.

Due to technical difficulties, but with good timing we had a break and switched up the program a bit. We went around the room and Ivi asked each person to share something about themselves, either how CP is affecting their lives, some healing they experienced, something they had noticed … or nothing, not to feel put on the spot … no cookie cutter question was given … but we only had about 30 seconds each! It was truly a beautiful and intimate and enriching sharing for the entire group.

With technical difficulties behind us, we viewed the video from Fr. Carl Arico entitled “Words”. Father spoke on our guidelines of Centering Prayer in a retreat setting just as we were. He covered a lot of ground, and everyone enjoyed and learned much or related well to his talk. He ended with asking “What is the Spirit saying to you about words and consenting?”

We followed with a break out session and discussion and sharing in small groups and then we moved back into our circle for Lectio Divina. A part of Psalm 119 was used from the book, “Psalms for praying: An Invitation to Wholeness” by Nan C. Merrill. If you would like the entire Psalm emailed to you, please email Ivi Latronica … ivi3@juno.com

Blessed are those who honor the Inner Being,

Who follow You with their whole heart,

Who enfold the world with love & walk on beautiful paths!

 You have shown us the way of Truth, the way that leads to freedom.

O, that I might ever reflect the Light!

 Help me to understand the way of your precepts,

& give me strength to follow through.

 So many people were touched by this scripture and also by the readings, many people asked for direct quotes, and that’s why it was decided to do a synopsis of our meeting. To recall the blessings received surely gives glory to God!

Lunch followed and grace was prefaced with a quote from Fr. Keating: “The best way to receive divine love is to give it away, and the more we pass on, the more we increase our capacity to receive. “

Lunch was a beautiful spread of food served buffet style, and everyone appreciated the delicious varieties of foods and salads and the fine service of tablecloths and cloth napkins and being served coffee. What a delight, how blessed we are!

Following lunch we viewed our second video presentation entitled “Embodiment” with Fr. Arico. We were asked to consider what the Holy Spirit is saying to you about the second guideline, sitting comfortably & with eyes closed … and consenting … CONSENTING … on every inconceivable level. Again, we broke into small groups and shared.

The day went by so quickly and 2:30 was upon us. We were asked if we wanted to share any comments or observations and quite a number of people shared their experience and their thanks and gratitude for the wonderful day. We ended the day with a quote from Fr. Menninger.

We have, each one of us, a place & a unique contribution
to make to this evolution.
In our world, as St. Teresa of Avila tells us,
Christ has no hands but ours, no feet but ours,
no heart, no love but ours.
We are the evolutionary way
in which the Holy Spirit of God now inspires,
directs, and accomplishes the fullness of God’s plan.

We were wished safe travels, and to SAVE THE DATE for next year

Third Saturday in March, MARCH 18, 2017.

Written by Ivi Latronica

Emptiness and Non-Attachment, by Carl McColman

“Last week I wrote about the difference between how Catholics understand meditation and contemplation, based on material found in the

Catholic Catechism. A reader left the following comment on that post:

We rest in God. But we do not empty our minds. We are always in communication with God. Prayer is focusing on God and we praise him for who He is, we intercede for others, and we put our requests to Him. We align our wills with His in prayer. Never do we make our minds a ‘spiritual vacuum’ for something else other than the Holy Spirit to fill it.”  Read more.

Catholic Meditation and Contemplative Prayer: What’s the Difference? by Carl McColman.

A reader of my blog wrote to me and asked this question:

What do you see is the difference between Catholic meditation and contemplative prayer?

It’s a great question, made complicated by the fact that words like meditation and contemplation can be used in a variety of ways, especially in society at large. Read more

Practices for a Deeper Commitment To the Contemplative Life

Notes on “Practices for a Deeper Commitment To the Contemplative Life” 

a weekend retreat with Mary Dwyer
by
Nancy Moran
 
     What a spiritually enriching weekend it was with Mary Dwyer presenting on “Practices for a Deeper Commitment to the Contemplative Life” on October 2,3 and 4.  This retreat sponsored by CONEO at River’s Edge Retreat Center in Cleveland focused on Deepening Centering Prayer, The Welcoming Prayer, The Forgiveness Prayer and Integration and Transformation.
     I had never heard her speak before last weekend and I was delighted to discover that Mary Dwyer is a spiritual leader who embodies and transmits the wisdom of Father Thomas Keating, Mary Mrozowski, the originator of the welcoming prayer, and Mary Dwyer’s own wisdom teachings on spiritual practices.  All of us present at the retreat were invited to learn with our hearts as well as with our minds.
     There was so much to learn but I will jot down here just a few notes and quotes from Mary over the 3 days.  For more information on the Spiritual Practices themselves and how to do them please go to contemplative outreach.org.  There are books, pamphlets and listings of retreats available to learn about and experience these practices in depth.
Centering Prayer:
       – The deeper you go the more there is to learn.
       – As Father Keating says, sit in the chair every day 2 times and be quiet.  The more you show up to the chair the easier it gets to go to the chair.
       – God is waiting to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.
       – There are no rules because who is doing the prayer?  God’s spirit in us is doing the praying.
       – We have 4 simple guidelines for Centering Prayer – but we never know what God will do with us
       – Simple practice…..Profound results.
       -The present moment contains all we need to be happy, no matter what the psychological content. God is present…..All is well.
 
The Welcoming Prayer:
       – We need a second engine to lift us off throughout the ordinariness of our daily lives. The Welcoming Prayer helps us actively let go of thoughts and feelings that support the false self system.  It helps us embrace painful emotions rather than avoiding or suppressing them.
       – The Welcoming Prayer helps us while stuff is happening…..Consent on the go…..
       – Experience, not intellectual understanding is where it all begins.
       – I can only do work to the level of consciousness I am at now.
       – Some things take years.   The 1st moment is the process of seeing it.
       – A meditation practice is foundational for these other practices to take hold.
 
The Forgiveness Prayer:
       – We need the Forgiveness practice for what is still “sticky” after Welcoming.
       – St. Theresa of Avila, “A contemplative can have many faults except the inability to forgive.”
       – Forgiveness does not mean reconciliation.
       – Forgiveness practice needs a lot of safety and safe space.  The practice is done in our own time and space.
       – Sometimes the forgiveness process takes years….. and sometimes this process takes minutes.
       – Forgiveness does not mean we are allowing it to happen again.  Forgiveness changes things….. making things conscious…..so it is less likely to happen again.
       – We do the Forgiveness Practice after Centering Prayer when we are in a space of open heartedness.
 
Let me end this with gratitude for Mary for her time, teachings, presence and authenticity and for helping all of us to let our light shine a little brighter. 
       

The Centering Prayer Introductory Program Brochure

New resource available        (Original communication from CO, Ltd)

To all worldwide Contemplative Outreach coordinators, contact persons and presenters:Centering Prayer Introductory Program brochureOn behalf of the Centering Prayer Introductory Program Service Team, I’m pleased to announce a new brochure for the Introductory Program.  The Centering Prayer Introductory Program brochure was developed as a result of input from many of you. It is intended to be given to potential host organizations and participants of all faith denominations interested in the Introductory Program.   You may order it in packages of 25 from the online store (color) or it can be downloaded and printed from the website (black & white).

Traditionally, Contemplative Outreach has used our dear Father Keating’s six video presentations for the Continuing Sessions. For those of you who still have that set (which is no longer being produced), it is still a viable alternative.

The resources listed in The Centering Prayer Introductory Program brochure are new alternatives that you can fashion to fit your particular needs. For example, there is the multiple DVD set produced by Sounds True, “Centering Prayer: A Training Course in Opening to the Presence of God” as well as another option for those in 12-Step Programs.

The Resource Guide: Options for the Continuing Sessions  is geared to presenters and facilitators of the continuing sessions. It presents these resources in much fuller detail and also offers options for scheduling the sessions. This was introduced in the fall of 2014. (Note: To access this link, you must be logged in to the website and have access to the Leadership Resources page.  Please reply to this email if you experience access problems.)

We listened to your ideas and needs through the survey of coordinators in 2013. Thank you for your invaluable help which guided our work.  We want to keep listening and partnering with you in the development of future Centering Prayer Introductory Program materials.

We hope and pray that these new resources will help guide newcomers to transformation by deepening their relationship with the Holy Spirit through Centering Prayer.  One of our team members will be following up with you directly about using these new resources and any questions you may have.  Or, you can contact us directly by emailing Ruth Hofmann or calling +1.412.445.5055.

In humble service to you,

Ruth Hofmann
Team Leader, Centering Prayer Introductory Program Service Team

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