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Is Centering Prayer Catholic?: Fr. Thomas Keating Meets Teresa of Avila and the CDF Paperback – September 3, 2015
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About the Author
Connie Rossini gives whole families practical help to grow in holiness. She is the author of Trusting God with St. Therese, A Spiritual Growth Plan for Your Choleric Child, and the free ebook Five Lessons from the Carmelite Saints That Will Change Your Life. She writes a spirituality column for The Prairie Catholic of the Diocese of New Ulm, Minnesota, and blogs at Contemplative Homeschool. She is also a columnist for SpiritualDirection.com. Her posts have appeared on Catholic Lane and elsewhere. She moderates the Google+ Community Indie Catholic Authors. Connie and her husband Dan have four young sons.
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This book destroys any legitimate claim centering prayer adherents have made as to its validity with being a form of contemplation within the Catholic tradition.
Having said that it (centering prayer) could save its-self by changing focus from silence to focus on God - failure to do this relegates it to "self-help".
Kudos to the author as I have long wanted to understand clearly the discrepancies between centering prayer and traditional contemplation - now finally resolved!
In Connie Rossini's newest book, the author takes a deep look at Centering Prayer and its practices and demonstrates to us why Christian prayer and Centering Prayer are diametrically opposed to one another. To substantiate these differences, the author draws from a variety of sources such as the rich text of the Catholic document, "Jesus Christ: The Bearer of the Water of Life" and the writings of the Doctor of the Church, St. Teresa of Avila. The topics covered in this book include:
~ The origin of Centering Prayer
~Teresian prayer versus Fr. Keating's Centering Prayer
~What the Catholic Church teaches about prayer
~Why Centering Prayer misses the mark when it comes to building a trusting relationship with God and its opposition to forming a Christ-centered life
There is a spiritual danger inherent in Centering Prayer: that one might be led away from Christ rather than toward Him. Many people that I know who practice Centering Prayer have deep leanings toward The New Age Movement and a number of them have left the Catholic faith. If Christ is not the center of Christian prayer then what might that center be? If you are going on a journey and while getting directions fail to realize that your base starting point is off, wouldn't that affect the entire journey? There are numerous difficulties associated with centering prayer and Connie Rossini addresses many of the problems concerning this form of "prayer" and the reason it fails as an avenue towards union with God.
Why engender such confusion when there is a better way to pray? In this book, the author speaks brilliantly of this "better way" and proves that Centering Prayer cannot be seen as something merely innocuous and harmless but that it may actually be a hindrance to the soul seeking union with God.
As the CDF states:
"All meditation techniques need to be purged of presumption and pretentiousness. Christian prayer is not an exercise in self-contemplation, stillness and self-emptying, but a dialogue of love, one which implies an attitude of conversion, a flight from 'self' to the 'You' of God."
With great clarity, the author of "Is Centering Prayer Catholic?" shows us why Centering Prayer is incompatible with Christianity. I highly recommend this book to all those seeking a closer relationship with God.
The book focuses most sharply on what the goal of true prayer is and how to approach it with a spirit of humility so that we can be open to receiving God’s grace. True prayer is an active dialog and conversation between Christ and the soul. Though, as with any good conversation, there may be a time of silence, there is never emptiness. The mind and heart should stay recollected on Christ. Connie also spends some time explaining the difference between recollection, our action, and infused contemplation, God’s action. There is room for much more depth here, and if we are fortunate, Connie may write another volume dedicated to this subject alone
Connie is quite clear throughout on her position on centering prayer, but she also leaves her readers free to raise questions and concerns. The controversy is far from over, but here we have a valuable tool for our own discernment.