March 2012 enews bulletin

Snowmass cross by Carol Leach
courtesy of Carol Leach

“As the Way, Jesus invites us to follow his example step-by-step into the bosom of the Father.  As the Truth, he shares with us, through participation in his death on the cross, the experience of the transpersonal aspect of the Father.  As the Life, he leads us to unity with the Godhead beyond personal and impersonal relationships.  On the Christian path, God is known first as the personal God, then as the transpersonal God, and finally as the Ultimate Reality beyond all personal and impersonal categories.”

Thomas Keating, The Mystery of Christ

Reminder:  United in Prayer Day – this Saturday, March 17

To find out if a United in Prayer Day gathering is happening near you, visit our Community section to find your local contacts.


Tent Rocks, New Mexico
Voices of the Community

Called to the Desert
by Sharon Graham
“Ordinary time is over and now we are presented with a different, sacred time: one of fasting, reflection and penance. This period of Lent mirrors the forty days Christ spent in the desert connecting deeply with the Father. We can do the same, in our own location." Read more.
Please email reflections about your spiritual journey, contemplative life, or daily practice to Pamela Begeman for consideration.  700 words or less.  See the archive of previous articles

New Retreats

Visit our new, easy-to-use online calendar for listings of retreats, workshops and special events.  New events are added each week.  

- The easiest view is to scroll month by month for a quick scan of the retreats and locations. 
- You can search by state, province or region of the world. 
- You can also see events in a list and scroll through a list instead of calendar months.   


Fr. Carl AricoQ&A with Fr. Carl Arico

Q: When I practice contemplative prayer, I fall asleep. How can I remedy this? 

A: Your question prompted me to go to the New Oxford American Dictionary:  Sleep: “A condition of the body and mind such as that which typically recurs for several hours every night in which the nervous system is relatively inactive, the eyes closed, the postural muscles relax and consciousness practically suspended.”  Rest:  “Ceasing work or movement in order to relax, refresh oneself or recover strength.”
The usual suggestions for avoiding sleep during prayer are finding a time when you are more awake; be comfortable but not so comfortable that you are prone to fall asleep; and surrender to God's redeeming work as you rest in the Lord, and not be concerned about how you are doing.
I would also suggest that you begin your prayer time with a definite and clear intention of restating the purpose of Centering Prayer - to consent to God's presence and action within and outside of you. If you fall asleep, then when you awaken, just renew your intention and continue with whatever time remains for that particular prayer period.
Concerning sleep and rest - allow the Lord to choose what you are blessed with at that time. Your gift to the Lord is consenting and noticing the fruits of the prayer outside the prayer time. – Fr. Carl.

Q:  I am very introverted and heard Fr Keating on a tape say that contemplative prayer may not be a good fit for introverts. I would like to know what other forms of Centering Prayer might be a better fit? His point was that introverts already are inward looking and may need to look more outward.
A:  I am an extravert and was told in the 1970's that Centering Prayer was not a good fit for me. So ... we make the categories and then God does what God needs to do - as long as we consent.
What I believe that Fr. Thomas meant is that introverts *may* become more detached and withdrawn.  To guard against this temptation, I always encourage practitioners to couple the practice of Lectio Divina with Centering Prayer.  Lectio Divina keeps one grounded in the Lord and challenged by the words of Scripture to faithfully live out the Gospel.  One of the fruits of prayer is that one becomes more aware of what is going on around them so that it is not always all about them.  Two of the theological principles of Contemplative Outreach say this in a different way:
#7 The contemplative dimension of the Gospel manifests as an ever-deepening union with Christ and the practical caring for others that flows from this relationship. It reveals the deeper meaning of Christ's life and teaching.
#8 Our relationship with the living Christ is the bond uniting us together in mutual love.
(Go here for a full list of the principles)
Be faithful in your practice of Centering Prayer.  Allow the gift of Lectio Divina to enter into your prayer time and see with new eyes what the Lord has in store for you.  - Fr. Carl

** Please submit your questions about contemplative practices, the spiritual journey and the contemplative life to Fr. Carl by emailing Pamela Begeman. **


Easter Reading

  • The Mystery of Christ:  The Liturgy as Spiritual Experience, Thomas Keating“… There is a prolonged period of preparation (Lent) for the principal feast which is Easter.  The Sundays after Easter develop the significance and fruits of Christ’s resurrection, culminating in the crowning feast of the season which is the Ascension.”  A full 53 pages of this book focus on Easter and the Ascension.  $19.95 USD.
  • Journey to the Heart:  Centering Prayer for Children, Frank X. Jelenek.  Ideal for ages 3-10 years.  The first guide to a contemplative prayer practice for children, Journey to the Heart both instructs and inspires. Many parents and teachers will learn from this colorful treasure of a book as well.  An alternative Easter basket treat.  $15.99 USD.  

Support a Practice of the Welcoming Prayer

Learn the method of the Welcoming Prayer, or renew an existing practice, through our online course with Spirituality & Practice.  Read more and register here
The Welcoming Prayer praxis booklet, part of The Contemplative Life Program.  A 51-page booklet containing the Welcoming Prayer practice, as well as reflections from practitioners, teachings and related wisdom. $20.00 USD.

Welcoming Prayer retreats are also available.  Check the online calendar for various options.

Contemplative Life Program
On Sale

Year One – “Practice” series of The Contemplative Life Program, now $90 USD for seven booklets, was $140.  Read more.  E-version available for $70 USD.
Year Two – “Dispositions” series of The Contemplative Life Program, now $90 USD for seven booklets, was $140.  Read more.  E-version available for $70 USD.

For more information on events, retreats, local Centering Prayer contacts, an online store and teachings from Contemplative Outreach, go to our website.

Copyright © 2012 Contemplative Outreach. All rights reserved.