Meeting Christ Within Us
The goal of Christian spirituality is to recognize and respond to the continual interior movements of the Spirit, for the Spirit will always lead us toward greater union with Christ and greater love and service of God and others. —Richard Hauser (Sunday)
So many mystics seem to equate the discovery of their own souls with the very discovery of God. This will feel like a calm and humble ability to quietly trust yourself and trust God at the same time. Isn’t that what we all want? (Monday)
If you can trust and listen to your inner divine image, your whole-making instinct, or your True Self, you will act from your best, largest, kindest, most inclusive self. (Tuesday)
Many Westerners today are now reacquiring and accessing more of the skills we need to go into the depths of things—and to find God’s Spirit there. (Wednesday)
Christ’s soul and our soul are like an everlasting knot. The deeper we move in our own being, the closer we come to Christ. And the closer we come to Christ’s soul, the nearer we move to the heart of one another. —John Philip Newell, explaining the teachings of Julian of Norwich (Thursday)
While God is transcendent, God is also immanent, and chooses to dwell within us. Contemplative spirituality helps us realize God’s presence within us. —Phileena Heuertz (Friday)
Practice: Centering Prayer
Centering prayer is a simple form of Christian meditation developed in the 1970s by three Trappist monks: Thomas Keating, William Meninger, and Basil Pennington. Read Phileena Heuertz’s introduction to this practice and then take some time to walk through the steps:
Centering prayer roots us in divine love. It is a modernized prayer method based on the intuitive prayer rooted in lectio divina and The Cloud of Unknowing. It is a method of silent prayer that prepares us to receive the gift of contemplative prayer—prayer in which we experience the divine’s immanent presence within us. Centering prayer is grounded in relationship with God, through Christ, and is a practice to nurture that relationship. . . .
Centering prayer complements and supports other modes of prayer—verbal, mental, or affective prayer. It facilitates resting in the divine presence. Centering prayer offers a way to grow in intimacy with God, moving beyond conversation to communion.
As Father Thomas [Keating] emphasizes, the source of centering payer, as in all methods leading to contemplative prayer, is the indwelling Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The focus of centering prayer is the deepening of our relationship with the living Christ. The effects of centering prayer are ecclesial, as the prayer tends to build communities of faith and bond the members together in mutual friendship and love. To practice centering prayer, follow these steps.
- Sit in an upright, attentive posture in a way that allows for a straight spine and open heart. Place your hands in your lap.
- Gently close your eyes and bring to mind your sacred word, image, or breath as your symbol to consent to the presence and action of God within you. Your sacred symbol is intended to be the same every time you pray. It helps to ground you in the present moment. It allows you to give your undivided, loving, yielded attention to God. Choose a name for God or an attribute of God like love, peace, and so on. You may prefer a sacred image instead or simply a mindful breath.
- Silently, with eyes closed, recall your sacred symbol to begin your prayer. As you notice your thoughts, gently return to your sacred symbol. Do this however many times you notice thoughts, feelings, or sensations.
- When your prayer period is over, transition slowly from your practice to your active life.
It is recommended to pray in this fashion for a minimum of twenty minutes, two times a day. Start out slowly with initial prayer periods of five to ten minutes, then work up to the desired length of time.
Phileena Heurtz, Mindful Silence: The Heart of Christian Contemplation (InterVarsity Press: 2018), 158-159.
For more information on Centering Prayer visit gravitycenter.com/practice/centering-prayer.
For Further Study:
John Philip Newell, Christ of the Celts: The Healing of Creation (Jossey-Bass: 2008)
Richard Rohr, Dancing Standing Still: Healing the World from a Place of Prayer (Paulist Press: 2014)
Richard Rohr, The Universal Christ: How a Forgotten Reality Can Change Everything We See, Hope For, and Believe (Convergent: 2019)