Interior silence is one of the most strengthening and affirming of human experiences. There is nothing more affirming in fact, than the experience of God’s presence.
Fr. Thomas Keating
Topic: Prayer, Meditation, & Contemplation
Interior silence is one of the most strengthening and affirming of human experiences. There is nothing more affirming in fact, than the experience of God’s presence. That revelation says, as nothing else can, “You are a good person, I created you and I love you.” Divine love brings us into being in the fullest sense of the word. It heals the negative feelings we have about ourselves.
In the heart of the Christian contemplative prayer movement, a vision was breathed into existence by a man named Thomas Keating, a spiritual guide and founding member of Contemplative Outreach. Born in New York City in 1923, he heard the divine whisper and surrendered to the call, entering the Cistercian Order in Valley Falls, Rhode Island in 1944. The depth of his devotion and the breadth of his understanding of the divine soon became evident. Father Keating became Superior of St. Benedict's Monastery of Snowmass, Colorado in 1958, and later, Abbot of St. Joseph's Abbey in Spencer, Massachusetts in 1961. His life echoed the rhythm of the monastic hours, filled with the sweet labor of prayer, reflection, and service.
The heart of Father Keating's calling was a desire to restore the contemplative dimension of Christianity - the deep, abiding intimacy with God that transcends words and touches the soul. This desire was the seed that grew into Contemplative Outreach, an international network that seeks to weave contemplative practice into the fabric of everyday life. Father Keating became a beacon, guiding countless souls into a deeper understanding of their faith and a closer relationship with God. Through his work, he not only helped to shape the Christian contemplative prayer movement, but he also became one of its principal architects and teachers.
In 1981, Father Keating returned to the simplicity and solitude of Snowmass, Colorado, a mountain community of just over a dozen monks. Here, in the silence of the mountains, he continued his life's work. Father Keating's journey in this world ended gently. On October 25, 2018, at 10:07pm, at St. Joseph’s Abbey in Spencer, Massachusetts, he offered his final letting go of the body. Yet, his influence continues to echo in the silent prayers of those who have learned from him, and through the continued work of Contemplative Outreach. In this way, Father Keating's voice remains a resonant, guiding force in the Christian Centering Prayer movement.
Centering Prayer, Centering Heart
Keating, Thomas. Foundations for Centering Prayer: Open Mind, Open Heart ; Invitation to Love ; The Mystery of Christ. Continuum, 2002, p. 66.
Fr. Thomas Keating
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