After imploring light from the Holy Spirit, immediately I remembered (the above) sentence from the holy gospel which now head the plan of the DHM (Fr. de Cloriviere)
In an interview of Jean Vanier in the August 5, 2015 America magazine, Sean Salai, S.J. asked the question “How do you pray?” Vanier responded by saying that the question’s actual meaning is, “What is your relationship with Jesus?” because prayer is a relationship, in which we sit hand in hand with Jesus and like John at the last supper, it is a resting with Him.”
Vanier continues by saying that there are times when it is important that we are alone with Jesus and to take the time to listen to Him. Vanier continues by saying that “to pray is to be a friend of Jesus”, therefore, I cannot help but think of just how important it is that we develop some form of prayer habit in which we spend time resting with Jesus, so that we are better able to hear what Jesus is telling us. I love the image of John resting his head on Jesus chest and can’t help but think that action, he heard Jesus heart beat and that is something Jesus is calling all of us to do.
One form of prayer that I believe enables me to “rest in Jesus” is Centering Prayer. Centering Prayer is a method of silent prayer which helps to foster the relationship with God because it moves us from active verbal prayer to a receptive prayer of resting in God .” The whole emphasis of Centering Prayer is the development of a personal relationship with God in which one moves beyond conversation with Christ to communion with Christ.” Centering Prayer is not meant to replace other forms of prayer, but to deepen the meaning to all forms of prayer and make it easier to move from active forms of prayer into a receptive prayer of resting in God. One of the scriptures that Fr. Thomas Keating, O.C.S.O uses when explaining Centering Prayer, is that it follows the recommendation of Jesus regarding prayer in Matthew 6-8. “When you pray, go to your inner room, close the door and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you. In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”
The method is relatively simple in that a person first chooses a one or two syllable word to recite repeatedly during the prayer period, especially when one get distracted by the various thoughts that inevitably come when one is sitting quietly. The word is called a “sacred word” not so much because it is holy, but because it bring the focus back to God. The individual sits quietly for a period of 20 to 30 minutes, repeating the sacred word as needed until the end of the period. It is recommended that the individual have two periods of centering prayer during the day—one in the morning and the second sometime in the afternoon or early evening. The more one practices Centering Prayer, the more one will find being more calm both physically and mentally.
I invite you reflect on how you pray and ask yourself, “Is the way I pray helping or hindering the growth of my personal relationship with God?” If not, ask yourself, “Could Centering Prayer, help me to grow in that relationship?” If you are interested in learning more about Centering Prayer, you can get more information on the Contemplative Outreach website, or better yet, attend an introductory workshop on Centering Prayer. Linda DHM