Friday, March 02, 2007

Contemplative prayer

Tonight, all are invited to join us in the SAA Church for:

1) Stations of the Cross, 7 pm
2) Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, 7:30-8:30 pm
Anon wrote: "I find Eucharist adoration a kind of meditation. What is the difference between centering prayer and meditation?” Wow, deep question! I remember taking a class years ago offered by Fr. Thomas Dubay who has written much on the different types of prayer. He explained that meditation is essentially putting ourselves in the presence of God, and contemplation is when God infuses his Spirit within us. As described below by, centering prayer is commonly associated with contemplation.

I recommend Father Dubay’s book, “Fire Within”, for those who wish to learn more about meditation and contemplation. He has a new book out, “Prayer Primer: Igniting a Fire Within”, which I have not read, but it looks very good. I have included a quote from “Fire Within” in which Fr. Dubay depicts St. Theresa of Avila’s down-to-earth description of contemplative prayer.

“Centering Prayer is a method of prayer, which prepares us to receive the gift of God's presence, traditionally called contemplative prayer. It consists of responding to the Spirit of Christ by consenting to God’s presence and action within. It furthers the development of contemplative prayer by quieting our faculties to cooperate with the gift of God’s presence.
Centering Prayer facilitates the movement from more active modes of prayer — verbal, mental or affective prayer — into a receptive prayer of resting in God. It emphasizes prayer as a personal relationship with God. At the same time, it is a discipline to foster and serve this relationship by a regular, daily practice of prayer. It is Trinitarian in its source, Christ-centered in its focus, and ecclesial in its effects; that is, it builds communities of faith.

Centering Prayer is drawn from ancient prayer practices of the Christian contemplative heritage, notably the Fathers and Mothers of the Desert, Lectio Divina, (praying the scriptures), The Cloud of Unknowing, St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila.. It was distilled into a simple method of prayer in the 1970’s by three Trappist monks, Fr. William Meninger, Fr. Basil Pennington and Abbot Thomas Keating at the Trappist Abbey, St. Joseph’s Abbey in Spencer, Massachusetts” (

“For her, contemplation is an experienced, mutual presence, ‘an intimate sharing between friends,’ a being alone with the God Who loves us. Hence, this prayer is a mutual presence of two in love, and in this case the Beloved dwells within. Actually, it is an interdwelling, a mutually experienced indwelling. She relates about herself how ‘a feeling of the presence of God would come upon me unexpectedly so that I could in no way doubt He was within me or I totally immersed in Him’ (Fire Within, 58).


At 10:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fr. Ya posted it twice.

At 10:28 AM, Anonymous Kat said...

He is just trying to make us more holy... you know content and frequency...

At 12:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is the stations of the cross and will it be done at all churches?

At 12:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

'If you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift.'

At 4:38 PM, Anonymous Kat said...

Anon; Come to SAA's and find out... a lot of churches have stations of the cross on fridays during lent.

At 9:39 PM, Anonymous Night Owl said...


My brother had gone to Israel on business and did the actual stations of the cross. He was so lucky!

Next Friday I am going to do the stations of the cross.

At 10:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Anon; Come to SAA's and find out"

Nah, I would never fit in.

At 10:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 11:10 PM, Anonymous Kat said...


Yea ya would, know why? we are all members of the body of Christ. Christ has no hands but ours, no eyes but ours no heart but ours... so if one part of us is missing the whole body misses out.

At 11:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


You truly are a supportive person!

What are you up this late?

At 7:56 AM, Anonymous Kat said...


At 11:52 AM, Anonymous Tom said...

Nah, I would never fit in.

There is no "in" at St. Andrew's to fit. You know the old saying, "'Catholic' means 'Here Comes Everybody.'"

The actual fourteen Stations of the Cross are places in Jerusalem at which it is said something happened on the day Jesus was crucified, from the place where He was condemned by Pilate, along the "Via Crucis" or "Way of the Cross" He followed as He carried the cross to Golgotha, to the site of His burial.

Every Catholic church has representations of these stations (look along the walls for numbered plaques on the walls), so that those Catholics who can't get to Jerusalem that day can still symbolically walk the Way of the Cross. You can actually walk from station to station, or just stay in one place and think or pray or meditate on the stations one at a time.

While the stations themselves are pretty much set in stone (or sometimes brass, ha!), there is no Official Prayer to be prayed for the Stations of the Cross to "count."

St. Andrew's uses a particular prayer book that includes readings from Scriptures, prayers, and a hymn; you pick up a copy in the back of the church, follow along, and leave it in the back of the church afterwards. The congregation stays in their pews (maybe turning to look at each station), while the altar servers carry a crucifix and candles from station to station and the priest or deacon moves along the main aisle.

If you stay toward the back of the church, then a) no one will know that you don't really know what's going on, and b) you won't have to twist awkwardly to follow along.

At 7:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, I will go to stations of the cross but at my parish. It sounds cool. Maybe one day -God willing- I will be able to do this in Jerusalem. The idea of staying in the back is a good one.

At 7:24 PM, Blogger Seminarian Matthew said...

Contemplative prayer should not be confused with "centering prayer". Centering prayer is hindu and pagan in basis. Catholics should never pratice centering prayer.


Post a Comment

<< Home