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.
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Father Carl J. Arico has compiled a document of excerpts from the catechism which relate to the four conferences on Centering Prayer taught in the introductory workshop, as well as other passages relating to Lectio Divina.
Download document here.
One way to help support Contemplative Outreach’s vision “...to foster the process of transformation in Christ in one another.” is to become trained to facilitate workshops and prayer groups.
Visit the Training page for more information.
The following two articles by Ernest E. Larkin root Centering Prayer and Christian Meditation in the Carmelite tradition and show the contribution of John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila to a contemplative renewal which in ongoing even today.
In response to then Cardinal Ratzinger’s 1989 “Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on Some Aspects of Christian Meditation.” This was written by Thomas Keating in response to questions about that letter and Centering Prayer.
Not Directed to Centering Prayer
Centering prayer is designed to deepen the theological virtues of faith, hope and charity and to develop the most ancient of all Christian methods, the practice of Lectio Divina leading to contemplation.
Centering Prayer does not "empty the mind" or exclude other forms of prayer. It is not a "technique" that automatically creates "mysticism" or a means "to reach an altered state of consciousness."
Centering Prayer is a traditional form of Christian prayer rooted in Scripture and based on the monastic heritage of Lectio Divina. It is not to be confused with Transcendental Meditation or Hindu or Buddhist methods of meditation. It is not a New Age technique.
Centering Prayer is rooted in the word of God, both in Scripture and in the person of Jesus Christ. It is an effort to renew the Christian contemplative tradition handed down to us in an uninterrupted manner from St. Paul, who writes of the intimate knowledge of Christ that comes through love.
The contemplative dimension of the Gospel is the penetration into the spiritual meaning of Scripture, leading to an experience of the living Christ and to the love of others in everyday life. It is receiving the Gospel in the wisdom-way of knowing, which is about spending time "pondering it in your heart," allowing the word of God to transform you into the living word of God, which is Christ. When Mary listened to Jesus speak, she pondered what she heard in her heart and then she acted. The inner experience of one’s relationship with God then becomes manifest in living out
If you are not affiliated with a local Contemplative Outreach chapter, first seek permission from your church pastor or minister to host a Centering Prayer Introductory Program (this program consists of the introductory workshop to Centering prayer and six follow-up sessions). Then, contact the nearest chapter coordinator in your area and collaborate with the coordinator to present the introductory program. If there is not a chapter in your area, contact the regional representative listed for your region to assist in planning the program.