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December 13, 2018 @ 10:05 am - 11:05 am
Contemplative prayer has been practiced since the earliest centuries of church history. Jesus himself attended synagogue but also prayed alone and in silence, sometimes for long interval. He lived an active life of healing and teaching as well, and encouraged others to follow this pattern. For contemplatives, action and contemplation are closely integrated and mutually stimulating. Benedictine monks from the 4th century on incorporated contemplation in their practice of lectio divina, as a fourth and final step in the process. The Desert Fathers and Mothers, starting about the same time, also practiced contemplation and Eastern and Western Christians have continued contemplative traditions with changing emphases since the 11th century.
Beginning in 1964, Thomas Merton, a Trappist monk in the U.S., began to write about, teach, and emphasize the importance of rejuvenating and updating contemplative practice. In the 1970s, Thomas Keating, a Benedictine monk, and others began to simplify, popularize and tach a form of contemplation called Centering Prayer for lay and ordained Christians. The popularity of Center Prayer has now increased at many levels and in many faith traditions. Contemplative centers have develop in the U.S. and many parts of the world.
Just what is Centering Prayer? Very briefly, “resting in God”, as it is sometimes called, is a brief (20 minutes or so) opening up to the Presence of God through gently letting go of the thoughts and feelings that dominate our egos. Kenosis, or self-emptying of the ego, is part of many religious traditions. Christians associate kenosis with the Incarnation, life and death of Jesus, and with Christianity in general. Trust and submission are part of Centering Prayer as a transformative process, even for a short time. Centering Prayer can serve as a basis for both internal and interpersonal growth, according to many.
Centering Prayer is being led by Rev. Ron Gladen at Calvary Lutheran in Bemidji during Advent and Lent. During Advent, the sessions are being held on Mondays at 4pm (beginning on November 26 and repeating through December 16 [4 times]) at Calvary.
Rev. Ron has agreed to present a special session on Centering Prayer on Thursday, December 13 at 10.05 a.m. at St. Bartholomew’s right after the Theology for Breakfast meeting led by Bea Knodel. Pleased join us for this special (and free!) Advent event. It should take a worthwhile hour or so. All are also welcome to attend the Calvary sessions.