Centering Prayer at Mater Dolorosa. All are Welcome!
Our centering prayer group meets on Sunday evening from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm at Mater Dolorosa.
There has been a tradition of contemplative prayer at Mater Dolorosa since those first retreats in the 1920s. In 2019 this practice continues with a new program to bring Centering Prayer to retreatants and those interested in pursuing this ancient prayer form. Centering prayer traces its roots back to the desert fathers, where John Cassian and others headed to the desert to try and unclutter their minds of worldly thoughts and focus their attention on God alone. The search for silence and solitude to be alone with God was a common thread in their austere lifestyles, and prayer forms which sought to release our worldly distractions from worship were practiced. In the thirteenth century, a spiritual classic was written taking these principles to a new level in a book called The Cloud of Unknowing.
The anonymous author of the book further defined what we have come to know as Centering Prayer; it is a detachment of the mind and our desires in prayer towards God. The book encouraged the reader to detach ourselves by purely consenting to God’s will in a movement of our heart; a desire and disposition of surrender. “Not My Will, But Yours Be Done” (Mark 14:36 and Luke 22:42) presents us to God with a prayer of the heart, not just of the mind. Centering prayer is often called the Prayer of Consent, as it represents our willingness to be open to God. A willingness which is without agenda or needs, just a desire to rest in God’s presence.
The catechism has much to say on the topic of contemplative prayer forms, particularly as they can move a person from a “friendly disposition” in our prayer life to one of “intimacy with God,” illuminating other prayers forms we might be practicing in a new light. Mater Dolorosa hosted an evening of Introduction to Centering prayer on the 11th November, 2019 and twenty-nine souls learned the method, practiced it, and prayed together. It was a wonderful experience and has resulted in setting up a permanent Centering Prayer group at Mater Dolorosa, which will meet weekly.
The sessions will be led by Dr. Michael Cunningham. Dr. Cunningham is a certified Centering Prayer instructor from Contemplative Outreach and will provide background, method and practice.
To register please sign up on the form below or email Michael Cunningham at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at 626 355 7188 x 106.