web analytics
Centering Prayer

Christian Contemplative Practice

Centering Prayer

At a recent conference I participated in, there was an introduction to Centering Prayer and to the increasingly-popular practice of mindfulness.

I have a passion for the contemplative tradition within Christianity and a concern when it seems to me that the ball of that tradition – which today should be accessible to all – is being dropped. This website has a plethora of resources to scaffold contemplative practice (and to help in integrating contemplative living), but, unless you are a regular here, I’m conscious that it might not be easy to find by many. So this post brings together some places to start in poking around these resources available here.

Here are some starting places:
Silent Prayer (cf. Centering Prayer; Christian Mediation)
Lectio Divina
The Examen of St Ignatius
Daily Prayer

A fairly obvious spectrum of personal relationship would have:
stranger – acquaintance – friendship – lovers.
From these, we can make analogies with our life of prayer – and also the place of silence, of just being together, in our growing relationship.

I am convinced that within Christianity we need to focus on forming contemplative leadership.

A contemplative foundation, understanding oneself to be held solidly by God (ie. not just my thoughts and words about God), is (IMO) a prerequisite for retaining (and growing) Christian faith in the context of contemporary academic biblical studies. [Other alternatives are the outright threatened rejection, battling against, or brushing off such contemporary scholarship]. The alternative result, so often, is having a dismembered, now-analysed collection of parts but no longer having a living whole.

Also, as I was again reminded at the conference, the appearance of the church seems to be to say so much about what God says so little – and so little about what God says so much.

The church cannot mostly be a pressure group for social, environmental, or other change – other institutions do this at least as well as the church – if not better. Nor can we become the last vestige of classical or choral music. Nor can we merely be the last gasp of those who enjoy medieval pageantry and recitation of poetic paragraphs. Nor the weekly second-class free concert of the creativity club.

But, enlivened by a contemplative relationship with God, all these dimensions – bones, sinews, muscles, organs, if you like – take on their proper place, and energy for change, wonderful music, drama, and creativity can also become means to deepening and expressing this relationship with God.

There is more on spirituality here. And on the discipline of the Daily Office.

Also there are posts on the Camino – pilgrimage as expressing metaphorically the contemplative journey (and as a means of deepening contemplative living).

There is a LOT more on this website. And I encourage you to explore more by putting words such as the following into the search box of this website (top right): Merton; Carthusian; Ignatian; Cistercian; Camaldolese; Apophatic;…

As well as following “Similar Posts” below, and elsewhere on this website.

And, beyond this website, there are the two great movements encouraging Christian contemplative practice: Centering Prayer and Christian Meditation.

Do you have any other good resources of Christian Contemplative Practice to point to? Or any comments or questions on what is written above?

If you appreciated this post, consider liking the liturgy facebook page, and/or signing up for a not-very-often email, …

This is clearly not the first time I have written about this. And so this post is in the spirit of Throwback Thursday.

Similar Posts:

4 thoughts on “Christian Contemplative Practice”

  1. This is so timely for me, Bosco. I have just been discovering a distinctly Christian practice of meditation and did a short seminar on it at church.

    Have you any experience with the Anglican rosary? I got one as a gift in my Education for Ministry class 8 years ago. Until then I had no exposure to this somewhat newfangled reinterpretation of the rosary. I used it for a while but set it aside and am now rummaging through boxes hoping to unearth it.

    1. Thanks, Jonathan. What was the practice you just discovered? Yes – I know of, and have helped people with, the “Anglican Rosary”. It is mentioned on this site – if you put it into the search box. Blessings.

  2. Greetings from Finland and thanks for your website. It constantly gives me something fresh to think about and many times ideas I can contextualize into the Finnish Lutheran setting.

    Your article on contemplation reminded me of a task I have set for myself about a year ago: to discover what factors make worship contemplative. What would you suggest?

    1. Thanks, Terhi. Especially for your encouragement. In the next couple of days I’m planning to put up a couple of more posts that connect with contemplative practice. I think we can clutter our services with words (and actions) – so simplifying our services is one side of the contemplative coin IMO. But I don’t for a minute think there’s a magic formula: simplify services and you end up with a community of contemplatives. Blessings.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.