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Full Version: So whats the deal with centering prayer? With apologies to Seinfeld
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So I bought a book at a used bookstore today on "centering prayer" what exactly is this stuff?  As a former Buddhist it seems like Buddhism wrapped up in Christianity. Is there actually a tradition of this in the Church as the Book asserts?
It seems to me it would be more appropriately called self-centering prayer.  I tend to be distrustful of it on the whole, as the goal seems ultimately to be the emptying out of the mind of any thought whatsoever, a goal which, as you note, is rather Buddhist at its heart.  From what I know of it (and it's way big in Anglicanism), there isn't much to commend it from the perspective of traditional contemplative Christianity.

Here's a brief little response to the practice that I've run across before.  (It's from Catholic Answers, but it seems a pretty succinct repudiation of centering prayer.)

http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/1997/9711fea1.asp

I've read that the emptying of the mind done in eastern meditation is a gateway to things that you don't want to get involved with.  I know that Fr. Malachi Martin spoke of this.  I wouldn't mess around with it, Bask.
(02-24-2011, 12:44 AM)Walty Wrote: [ -> ]I've read that the emptying of the mind done in eastern meditation is a gateway to things that you don't want to get involved with.  I know that Fr. Malachi Martin spoke of this.  I wouldn't mess around with it, Bask.

Yeah thanks guys. Dont worry Walty. I was just reading up on it I dont plan on doing it too weird for me.
The liberal priest at my old NO parish encouraged me to get involved with a centering prayer group after I converted. I wasn't very impressed. It seemed VERY Buddhist to me despite their claims that it was an "ancient form of Christian prayer." The Buddhist meditation gongs didn't ease my suspicions. I went a handful of times. But it was lead by two Anglican women "priests" and despite being located in a Catholic parish the Anglicans ran it. I was uncomfortable with the setup and left. Then I left the parish soon after. Not worth getting involved with in my opinion.

pax
(02-24-2011, 12:54 AM)Bearded Man Wrote: [ -> ]But it was lead by two Anglican women "priests" and despite being located in a Catholic parish the Anglicans ran it.

No surprise there.  Given that most of Anglicanism has practically no concept of traditional contemplative meditation, it only makes sense that some Anglicans would latch onto this sort of thing.  And given how its practitioners generally present it, centering prayer seems innocuous enough.  I think it's only when one begins to think about its methods and goals in relationship to the broader tradition of Christian contemplative practice that the rather dangerous flaws become apparent.
(02-24-2011, 12:54 AM)Bearded Man Wrote: [ -> ]The liberal priest at my old NO parish encouraged me to get involved with a centering prayer group after I converted. I wasn't very impressed. It seemed VERY Buddhist to me despite their claims that it was an "ancient form of Christian prayer." The Buddhist meditation gongs didn't ease my suspicions. I went a handful of times. But it was lead by two Anglican women "priests" and despite being located in a Catholic parish the Anglicans ran it. I was uncomfortable with the setup and left. Then I left the parish soon after. Not worth getting involved with in my opinion.

pax

"Buddhist meditation gongs" Wow.
Every novelty and reform of the modern Church was done in the spirit of "returning to the early Church".  Bull.
B16 condemned this stuff when he was at the CDF, if I remember correctly.  I think JP2 actually had something negative to say about it as well.

Someone can probably cough up the text; if not, I'll try to google for it when I have more time.
^^Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on Some Aspects of Christian Meditation
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
http://www.ewtn.com/library/curia/cdfmed.htm
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