Meetings: 7:00 pm, every Monday in the Church. Open to All.
Activities: Centering Prayer Workshops, Contemplative Outreach Seminars, Retreats
Description: Centering Prayer As a Small Faith Community — Are you curious about Most Holy Redeemer’s meditative Centering Prayer community, what it is, who practices this prayer, and how it is different from liturgical prayers, rote prayers of childhood, petitionary and thanksgiving prayers on which we rely so frequently?
Centering Prayer is a modern meditative prayer practice that renews the ancient Christian contemplative tradition of Silent Prayer. This tradition is rooted in Jesus’ teaching — recall the Scriptural reference: “when you pray, go into your secret room and close the door. And your Father, who sees in secret, will hear you”. This ancient contemplative prayer was refined by early Church Fathers, and practiced widely by the early Mothers & Fathers of the Desert. It predates all schisms within Christianity and transcends doctrinal differences among Christian traditions.
The most practical explanation is that Centering Prayer is a simple method to quiet our minds and bring us into the great Interior Silence, where our intent is to be present to God. This is a simple method, because there are no elaborate props, no credentials required, only a willingness and desire to sit down comfortably in a quiet environment, close our eyes and consent to the presence of God within.
And because we are human, and the human condition is one of nearly constant thoughts and emotions, we are instructed to employ a self-selected Sacred Word as part of the process to gently meet the rising thoughts, bodily sensations or sounds that inevitably pursue us – and by using that Sacred Word, we ever so gently let the thoughts go — once again returning to the Great Interior Silence. For some practitioners, this process of quieting thoughts by using a Sacred Word is difficult at first, but establishes itself as habitual when practiced.
While the method appears so simple in reading the explanations above, Contemplative Outreach, the organization which teaches Centering Prayer and supports its small faith communities, has learned by experience that the biggest single indicator of successful adaptation to Centering Prayer is by practicing in a small faith community. Therefore, we encourage those of you who are interested to come to Most Holy Redeemer on a Monday evening at 7:00pm and sit in practice with us.
You can receive individual coaching in Centering Prayer, and we can help you further learn the background and method through watching videos of Father Thomas Keating, Cistercian monk who has helped bring this ancient contemplative tradition out of the monasteries and into the lives of laypeople internationally.
Centering Prayer is ecumenically inclusive — of the 65 Centering Prayer groups in northern California, half are held in Catholic Churches, and the rest spread among a half dozen other denominations. Centering Prayer is truly compatible with all lifestyles, all ages, all religions. It does not diminish or limit regular spiritual practices and expression, but leads its practitioners to reclaim their Christian contemplative heritage.
The following resources can assist you in learning and participating in the practice of Centering Prayer: