Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Centering Prayer Retreat Experience

Greetings Spiritual Friends! I wanted to share some of my experiences from a Centering Prayer retreat I led this past weekend. This was my first attempt at overseeing a workshop on CP, and I am happy to report that we had an excellent day. We started off with a review of the CP process and some discussion about the dynamics of performing CP in a group setting. We were in consensus that a group experience was much different from an individual one. Most described sensing a more "powerful" experience when praying together. However, we had a hard time explaining why, but I guess that's to be expected!

After lunch, I introduced the group to individual lectio divina journaling. This was a big hit with my group. I gave them two passages and 45 minutes to spend with one or both of the passages. I thought this would be the weakest link in the program, but a very healthy discussion evolved afterwards in which the group commented on their preference for this mode of lectio over the group model with which they were familiar. They enjoyed the process of writing their responses to the first 3 stages of the practice.

I found this article just a few days before the retreat which is entitled "Collaboration as a Quality of Contemplative Leadership"

I used it as a springboard into a deeper discussion about contemplation as a work of the church.

Tilden's remarks on Rublev's icon of the Holy Trinity caught my attention. I made a connection between his train of thought and Merton's ideas on contemplation and social action. If our practice of kenosis is not coupled with a process of theosis which leads us toward collaboration with God in the transformation of the world, then is our practice really worth much? (Hearing Rev. Harold Middlebrook speak on Martin Luther King, Jr. this past week was also beneficial!)

I appreciate you all and look forward to hearing your reactions!

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