centering prayer
#1
One of my friends says he does "centering prayer."
Now as I understand it, hasn't this been condemned by the Church?  But where and how?
I'd like to be able to present some document to him, as he's a neocon and won't listen to reason (or any document before Vatican II).
He's kind of obsessed with Buddhist crap, I don't get why.
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#2
Wikipedia Wrote:Centering prayer is a popular method of contemplative prayer or Christian meditation, placing a strong emphasis on interior silence.

Though most authors trace its roots to the contemplative prayer of the Desert Fathers of early Christian monasticism, to the Lectio Divina tradition of Benedictine monasticism, and to works like The Cloud of Unknowing and the writings of St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross, its origins as part of the "Centering Prayer" movement in modern Catholicism and Christianity can be traced to several books published by three Trappist monks of St. Joseph's Abbey in Spencer, Massachusetts in the 1970s: Fr. William Meninger, Fr. M. Basil Pennington and Abbot Thomas Keating.[1]


Seeds of what would become known as contemplation were sown early in the Christian era. The first appearance of something approximating contemplative prayer arises in the 4th century writings of the monk St. John Cassian, who wrote of a practice he learned from the Desert Fathers (specifically from Isaac). Cassian's writings remained influential until the medieval era, when monastic practice shifted from a mystical orientation to Scholasticism. Thus it can be plausibly argued that contemplation was (one of) the earliest meditational and/or devotional practice of Christian monasticism, being later supplanted in dominance by the scholastic theologians, with only a minimal interest in contemplation.

The Trappist monk and influential writer Thomas Merton was strongly influenced by Buddhist meditation, particularly as found in Zen — he was a lifetime friend of Buddhist meditation master and Vietnamese monk and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh, and was also an acquaintance of the current Dalai Lama. His theology attempted to unify existentialism with the tenets of the Roman Catholic faith, a unique undertaking at that time — Christian Existentialism began as a feature of modern Protestant theology[2]. As such he was also an advocate of the non-rational meditation of contemplative prayer, which he saw as a direct confrontation of finite and irrational man with his ground of being.

Cistercian monk Father Thomas Keating, a founder of Centering Prayer, was abbot all through the 60s and 70s at St. Joseph’s Abbey in Spencer, Massachusetts. This area is thick with religious retreat centers, including the well-known Theravadan Buddhist center, Insight Meditation Society. Fr. Keating tells of meeting many young people, some who stumbled on St. Joseph’s by accident, many of them born Catholic, who had turned to Eastern practices for contemplative work. He found many of them had no knowledge of the contemplative traditions within Christianity and set out to present those practices in a more accessible way. The result was the practice now called Centering Prayer.[3]

However, centering prayer has not been without criticism from sources. In Some Aspects of Christian Meditation by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith led by then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the Vatican warns against certain practices that are common in centering prayer without using the actual term "centering prayer".
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#3
Louis_Martin Wrote:as he's a neocon and won't listen to reason (or any document before Vatican II).

How does the doctrine of American social and political imperialism have to do with prayer methods?
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#4
(10-11-2009, 05:27 PM)Credo Wrote: How does the doctrine of American social and political imperialism have to do with prayer methods?

http://www.latinmassmagazine.com/conservative.asp
You'll find that under the "For Catholics" section of Fisheaters.com

Now, if you'll excuse me, before you hijacked this thread we were talking about something important to me, regarding how to help a friend.
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#5
Louis_Martin Wrote:Now, if you'll excuse me, before you hijacked this thread we were talking about something important to me, regarding how to help a friend.

Hijacked? You are the one who used a confusing term.
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#6
Again, you're turning the thread in a different direction.  Please, keep to the discussion rather than nitpicking about words.
The question was about centering prayer, not the definition of a neocon.  There is a different thread on that every week.  For the purposes of discussion, if it's so important to you, I am using the understanding of the word based on that article. 

Have a nice day, please contribute something useful.  If you're upset over that word start your own thread about it.
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#7
(10-11-2009, 04:42 PM)Louis_Martin Wrote: One of my friends says he does "centering prayer."
Now as I understand it, hasn't this been condemned by the Church?  But where and how?
I'd like to be able to present some document to him, as he's a neocon and won't listen to reason (or any document before Vatican II).
He's kind of obsessed with Buddhist crap, I don't get why.

Does he do other forms of prayer?

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#8
Yes, he does.  I think he prays the rosary.  I hope he does.
But he's got these weird cymbal things he clinks together.  It's really kind of weird.

Now as I understand it, centering prayer is spiritually dangerous due to its interior silence being a great opportunity for the devil to influence a soul.  In addition there is something dangerous about idolizing other religion's forms of prayer: eg the Syncretism talked about in that document, "Some Aspects of Christian Meditation" (thank you Jovan)
I'm not exactly sure what centering prayer is though, so if anyone has knowledge of it, perhaps they could explain it?
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#9
I went through this in college before I knew better. It was taught at our Newman center. Basically what you do is you sit quietly for a few moments and pay attention to your breathing. then you introduce your "prayer" word I used Jesus you say this word over and over again kinda like a mantra then you slowly let go of it until you have this interior silence, then whenever you think of something you start saying your sacred word again. I found it rather tedious I don't see how it could be dangerous I mean you are saying Jesus over and over but the problem comes from the interior silence aspect. I had an assignment for a religious class once to study different types of meditation and all traditions say that meditating to a point where you have no thoughts and are in a state of "nothingness" can be dangerous especially the Jewish and Christian authors I read. I still don't know it seemed harmless enough to me but there was something not quite right about it so I quit. There is another type where you use a Christian Mantra sort of like Transcendental Meditation but Christian there is some proof that this may have been actually practiced at one point in Christian history. And of course theres the Jesus prayer of the Orthodox I would try to get your friend to do that that one I still use. You say Lord Jesus Christ Son of god have mercy on me a sinner while breathing in and out sort of like a Mantra but the east has used this since the 300's and they still do as do eastern rite Catholics. I don't know whats with the cymbals that's just weird. Anyway that's my experience with it.
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#10
(10-11-2009, 05:59 PM)Louis_Martin Wrote: Again, you're turning the thread in a different direction.  Please, keep to the discussion rather than nitpicking about words.
The question was about centering prayer, not the definition of a neocon.  There is a different thread on that every week.  For the purposes of discussion, if it's so important to you, I am using the understanding of the word based on that article. 

Have a nice day, please contribute something useful.  If you're upset over that word start your own thread about it.

Chill out, man. I asked clarification based on your poorly worded question. How on earth do you expect any help if you lash out like this towards people like myself just trying to properly understand your question before answering?
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