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Re: Contemplative practices for laypeople? - Graham - 05-26-2011

(05-26-2011, 03:24 PM)JayneK Wrote:
(05-26-2011, 02:57 PM)Graham Wrote: I don't know what centering prayer is, apart from what I read just now on wikipedia. The article said it has its roots in the Desert Fathers, the cloud of unknowing, St. John of the Cross, and St. Teresa of Avila; if we have to leave these sources aside because "centering prayer is invalid", well, good luck finding a contemplative who's valid.

I don't think there is a problem with these historical sources of centering prayer but rather with its modern day practitioners.

I don't think I know any practitioners. What's the problem?


Re: Contemplative practices for laypeople? - 3Sanctus - 05-26-2011

(05-26-2011, 03:38 PM)Graham Wrote:
(05-26-2011, 03:24 PM)JayneK Wrote:
(05-26-2011, 02:57 PM)Graham Wrote: I don't know what centering prayer is, apart from what I read just now on wikipedia. The article said it has its roots in the Desert Fathers, the cloud of unknowing, St. John of the Cross, and St. Teresa of Avila; if we have to leave these sources aside because "centering prayer is invalid", well, good luck finding a contemplative who's valid.

I don't think there is a problem with these historical sources of centering prayer but rather with its modern day practitioners.

I don't think I know any practitioners. What's the problem?

Centering prayer is popular with some very liberal (heterodox?) Trappists who prefer to practice something closer to Buddhist meditation than Christian contemplative prayer.


Re: Contemplative practices for laypeople? - JayneK - 05-26-2011

A non-harbor member sent me this link in PM http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19891015_meditazione-cristiana_en.html This addresses some of the questions that have been coming up in this thread.


Re: Contemplative practices for laypeople? - 3Sanctus - 05-26-2011

(05-26-2011, 03:53 PM)JayneK Wrote: A non-harbor member sent me this link in PM http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19891015_meditazione-cristiana_en.html This addresses some of the questions that have been coming up in this thread.

I took a quick look at that - looks promising.  Hopefully I'll actually come back and read it in its entirety later.  :)


Re: Contemplative practices for laypeople? - SEPBrown - 05-30-2011

I would second _The Imitation of Christ_.

Also, _Divine Intimicy_ I hear is good.

Shawn


Re: Contemplative practices for laypeople? - Azurestone - 05-30-2011

(05-26-2011, 03:38 PM)Graham Wrote:
(05-26-2011, 03:24 PM)JayneK Wrote:
(05-26-2011, 02:57 PM)Graham Wrote: I don't know what centering prayer is, apart from what I read just now on wikipedia. The article said it has its roots in the Desert Fathers, the cloud of unknowing, St. John of the Cross, and St. Teresa of Avila; if we have to leave these sources aside because "centering prayer is invalid", well, good luck finding a contemplative who's valid.

I don't think there is a problem with these historical sources of centering prayer but rather with its modern day practitioners.

I don't think I know any practitioners. What's the problem?

Centering prayer is a heretical practice developed in the 20th century through example and instruction by Buddhist monks.

Christian prayer (such as hesychasm) is not centering prayer. Centering prayer is the focus of the person onto himself, to find feeling, harmony, and strength from one's own being. Christianity is about the relationship and strength that is necessary from God. In our prayers, we seek a relationship with the Divine to strengthen our humanity to become the fullness that we were originally created. In contrast, centering prayer is self-centered meditation determined to produce delusion of one's own abilities.


Re: Contemplative practices for laypeople? - Graham - 05-31-2011

But from what little I've read about so-called centering prayer, the centering in oneself is only a preperatory stage to proper Christian contemplation, meant to render it more effective, more concentrated, if you will. In the same way, the anonymous author of the Cloud of Unknowing advises us first to concentrate on our naked being, then to orient that towards God. Or I might cite the Philokalia: "it is impossible for us to become reconciled and united with God, if we do not first return to ourselves, as far as it lies in our power, or if we do not enter within ourselves, tearing ourselves—what a wonder it is!—from the whirl of the world with its multitudinous vain cares and striving constantly to keep attention on the kingdom of heaven which is within us." Here is a pamphlet I found on Br. Keating's website: http://www.contemplativeoutreach.org/site/DocServer/MethodCP2008.pdf?docID=121 . Give that a read. What is so heretical about it? It seems to be nothing but a condensation and popularization of traditional contemplative practices.




Re: Contemplative practices for laypeople? - Azurestone - 05-31-2011

(05-31-2011, 11:39 AM)Graham Wrote: But from what little I've read about so-called centering prayer, the centering in oneself is only a preperatory stage to proper Christian contemplation, meant to render it more effective, more concentrated, if you will. In the same way, the anonymous author of the Cloud of Unknowing advises us first to concentrate on our naked being, then to orient that towards God. Or I might cite the Philokalia: "it is impossible for us to become reconciled and united with God, if we do not first return to ourselves, as far as it lies in our power, or if we do not enter within ourselves, tearing ourselves—what a wonder it is!—from the whirl of the world with its multitudinous vain cares and striving constantly to keep attention on the kingdom of heaven which is within us." Here is a pamphlet I found on Br. Keating's website: http://www.contemplativeoutreach.org/site/DocServer/MethodCP2008.pdf?docID=121 . Give that a read. What is so heretical about it? It seems to be nothing but a condensation and popularization of traditional contemplative practices.

Here are some articles. I think the first one covers most of the bases in general.
Catholic Education Article:  http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/apologetics/ap0005.html
Response by Catholic Bishops:  http://rcspiritualdirection.com/blog/2009/04/27/the-vatican-on-christian-meditation-and-centering-prayer

Also:
http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/1997/9711fea1.asp
More links to articles:    http://rcspiritualdirection.com/blog/2009/06/05/centering-prayer-ie-keating-menninger-herington




Re: Contemplative practices for laypeople? - Graham - 06-03-2011

I've never seen 'centering prayer' explicitly practiced, so I don't know if and how the reality differs from what's described in the pamphlet I linked to upthread. What I can tell the OP, is that if he does the exercise in the pamphlet, he will be practicing a normal form of Christian contemplation, identical to the basic exercise outlined in the Cloud of Unknowing. Now, if he's still unsure, he can always turn to the source itself, which I posted on the first page. Until people begin denying that true contemplation depends on God's grace, I think we should give them the benefit of the doubt and not get too paranoid about supposed Buddhist nihilism, self-hypnosis, and 'psychic energies'. This'll be my last contribution to this particular discussion.


Re: Contemplative practices for laypeople? - Azurestone - 06-03-2011

(06-03-2011, 11:08 AM)Graham Wrote: I've never seen 'centering prayer' explicitly practiced, so I don't know if and how the reality differs from what's described in the pamphlet I linked to upthread. What I can tell the OP, is that if he does the exercise in the pamphlet, he will be practicing a normal form of Christian contemplation, identical to the basic exercise outlined in the Cloud of Unknowing. Now, if he's still unsure, he can always turn to the source itself, which I posted on the first page. Until people begin denying that true contemplation depends on God's grace, I think we should give them the benefit of the doubt and not get too paranoid about supposed Buddhist nihilism, self-hypnosis, and 'psychic energies'. This'll be my last contribution to this particular discussion.

My counter would be: Why bother trying to see how much can be salvaged of a practice that's not Christian. You can just as easily pray in an authentic Christian manner as the Saints have taught us.