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Contemplative Practices

Contemplative Prayer

We may think of prayer as thoughts or feelings expressed in words. But this is only one expression. In the Christian tradition contemplative prayer is considered to be the pure gift of God. It is the opening of mind and heart - our whole being - to God, the Ultimate Mystery, beyond thoughts, words, and emotions. Through grace we open our awareness to God whom we know by faith is within us, closer than breathing, closer than thinking, closer than choosing, closer than consciousness itself.

Centering Prayer is a method designed to facilitate the development of contemplative prayer by preparing our faculties to receive this gift. It presents ancient Christian wisdom teachings in an updated form. Centering Prayer is not meant to replace other kinds of prayer; rather it casts a new light and depth of meaning on them. It is at the same time a relationship with God and a discipline to foster that relationship. This method of prayer is a movement beyond conversation with Christ to communion with him.

1.  Reading (Lectio): Read a Scripture passage listening with the “ear of your heart.” What word of phrase captures your attention? Repeat it gently.

2.  Reflecting (Meditatio): Reflect on and relish the words. Be attentive to what speaks to your heart.

3.  Responding (Oratio): As listening deepens, allow responses to arise spontaneously — praise, thanksgiving, questions, petitions.

4.  Resting in (Contemplatio): Simply “be with” God’s presence as you open to deeper meanings of the Word of God for you.

Practice Lectio Divina after Centering Prayer once a day. You may start with a few minutes of prayer and then expand the time you spend listening to the Word of God as you feel prompted.

Click the button below to learn more about the practice of Lectio Divina.

1.  Reading (Lectio): Read a Scripture passage listening with the “ear of your heart.” What word of phrase captures your attention? Repeat it gently.

2.  Reflecting (Meditatio): Reflect on and relish the words. Be attentive to what speaks to your heart.

3.  Responding (Oratio): As listening deepens, allow responses to arise spontaneously — praise, thanksgiving, questions, petitions.

4.  Resting in (Contemplatio): Simply “be with” God’s presence as you open to deeper meanings of the Word of God for you.

Practice Lectio Divina after Centering Prayer once a day. You may start with a few minutes of prayer and then expand the time you spend listening to the Word of God as you feel prompted.

Click the button below to learn more about the practice of Lectio Divina.

1.  Reading (Lectio): Read a Scripture passage listening with the “ear of your heart.” What word of phrase captures your attention? Repeat it gently.

2.  Reflecting (Meditatio): Reflect on and relish the words. Be attentive to what speaks to your heart.

3.  Responding (Oratio): As listening deepens, allow responses to arise spontaneously — praise, thanksgiving, questions, petitions.

4.  Resting in (Contemplatio): Simply “be with” God’s presence as you open to deeper meanings of the Word of God for you.

Practice Lectio Divina after Centering Prayer once a day. You may start with a few minutes of prayer and then expand the time you spend listening to the Word of God as you feel prompted.

Click the button below to learn more about the practice of Lectio Divina.

Centering Prayer

Centering Prayer is a receptive method of silent prayer in which we experience God's presence within us…

This method of prayer is both a relationship with God and a discipline to deepen that relationship.

Guidelines

1.  Choose a sacred word as the symbol of your intention to consent to God’s presence and action within.

2.  Sitting comfortably and with eyes closed, settle briefly and silently introduce the sacred word as the symbol of your consent to God’s presence and action within.

3.  When engaged with your thoughts, return ever-so-gently to the sacred word.

4.  At the end of the prayer period, remain in silence with eyes closed for a couple of minutes.

Practice Centering Prayer for a minimum of 20 minutes, twice each day, with the intention of deepening your relationship with God.

Click the button below to learn more about the practice of Centering Prayer.

Lectio
Divina

Lectio Divina, literally meaning "divine reading," is an ancient practice of praying the Scriptures.

Like Centering Prayer, Lectio Divina cultivates contemplative prayer. Unlike Centering Prayer, Lectio Divina is a participatory, active practice that uses thoughts, images and insights to enter into a conversation with God.

Guidelines

1.  Reading (Lectio): Read a Scripture passage listening with the “ear of your heart.” What word of phrase captures your attention? Repeat it gently.

2.  Reflecting (Meditatio): Reflect on and relish the words. Be attentive to what speaks to your heart.

3.  Responding (Oratio): As listening deepens, allow responses to arise spontaneously — praise, thanksgiving, questions, petitions.

4.  Resting in (Contemplatio): Simply “be with” God’s presence as you open to deeper meanings of the Word of God for you.

Practice Lectio Divina after Centering Prayer once a day. You may start with a few minutes of prayer and then expand the time you spend listening to the Word of God as you feel prompted.

Click the button below to learn more about the practice of Lectio Divina.

Welcoming

Prayer

The Welcoming Prayer is a method of consenting to God’s presence and action in our physical and emotional reactions to events and situations in daily life.

The Welcoming Prayer helps to dismantle acquired emotional programs and to heal the wounds of a lifetime by addressing them where they are stored — in the body. It contributes to the process of transformation in Christ initiated in Centering Prayer.

Guidelines

1.  Feel and sink into what you are experiencing this moment in your body.

2.  “Welcome” what you are experiencing this moment in your body as an opportunity to consent to the Divine Indwelling.

3.  Let go by saying “I let go of my desire for security, affection, control and embrace this moment as it is.”

Start practicing the Welcoming Prayer with the little things in life — small, everyday frustrations like sitting in traffic or waiting in line at the grocery store. Practicing with the small things prepares us for the bigger upsets.

 

Oh God,
grant me the grace
to live in the space
between impulse and action.
Amen.

Click the button below to learn more about the practice of Welcoming Prayer.

Active Prayer Practice

The active prayer—an aspiration drawn from Scripture for us in daily life — is short, usually six to twelve syllables. The saying of the syllables is synchronized with one’s heartbeat...

The active prayer—an aspiration drawn from Scripture for us in daily life — is short, usually six to twelve syllables. The saying of the syllables is synchronized with one’s heartbeat...

Guidelines

The active prayer—an aspiration drawn from Scripture for us in daily life — is short, usually six to twelve syllables. The saying of the syllables is synchronized with one’s heartbeat. While some people like to use a variety of aspirations for this purpose, it is easier to work a single aspiration into the subconscious. The great advantage of this practice is that it eventually becomes a “tape” similar to the “tapes” that accompany one’s upsetting emotions. When this occurs, the aspiration has the remarkable effect of erasing the old tapes, thus providing a neutral zone in which common sense or the Spirit of God can suggest what should be done.

The active prayer has to be repeated again and again at free moments in order to work it into the subconscious. The old tapes were built up through repeated acts. A new tape can be established in the same way. It may take a year to establish one’s active prayer in the subconscious. It will then arise spontaneously. One may wake up saying it or it may accompany one’s dreams.

Click the button below to learn more about the practice of The Active Prayer.

Lectio/Visio Divina Prayer Excercise

Option One:

 

Choose one of the following texts from the sacred Word of God below to Read after opening yourself to being receptive to the Holy Spirit.

 

Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 37:4

 

"Oh God, our hearts are made for thee, and they shall be restless until they rest in thee!"

St. Augustine

 

"In Praise of the Heart of Jesus" by Joyce Rupp

 

the heart of Jesus

nearest to the Father's heart

a wellspring full of love

richness for my poverty

wholeness for my brokenness

home for my wandering

fullness for my emptiness

loving care for my selfishness

healing for my hurts

faith for my mediocrity

courage for my fears

 

the heart of Jesus

nearest to the Father's heart

drawing all of me to him

reaching from his heart to mine,

tender, compassionate, true,

wanting one thing only:

 

my loving response. 

Allow the Holy Spirit to move among each of the monastic moments while you pray in silence, ending with a prayer of thanksgiving.

 

READ

REFLECT

RESPOND

REST 

Option Two:

 

Follow the same pattern of prayer being open to the moments of the Holy Spirit as you simply gaze at the photo, knowing the presence of God is not an image to be worshipped but speaks through whatever means chosen by divine grace. End your prayer time with thanksgiving.

 

GAZE 

REFLECT 

RESPOND   

REST

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