Archive for March, 2015

Comment on The Centering Prayer

Sunday, March 8th, 2015

It has come to my attention that the comment function is not working on this weblog, and apparently has not been for some time. My apologies to any and all who may have wished to respond to my observations. I am looking into fixing the problem.

The friend who alerted me to this issue had wished to comment on a post of mine from late last year on the Centering Prayer. I wanted to make sure what he wished to say had a hearing, so I am posting his comment myself below:

The Centering Prayer was in fact “invented” circa 1975 by Fr. Thomas Keating, then abbot of St. Joseph’s Abbey, a Cistercian monastery in Spencer, Massachusetts, and Fr. Basil Pennington, also of St. Joseph’s.

The “method” was lifted completely from the practice of Transcendental Meditation (which Frs. Keating and Pennington admired because of its popularity at the time) and given a “Christian” costume, and then later a “history” was invented for the practice going back to the Desert Fathers.

In reality, the Centering Prayer as a method is not at all Christian in origin and has no roots in the living tradition of Christian contemplative prayer. Hence the uncontemplative emphasis on psychological “benefits” (like T.M.) and the completely untraditional anomaly of the choosing of a “sacred word”.