To the Editor:
In response to the article, “A taste of silence” (The Catholic Messenger, Sept. 27) and in particular the paragraph on concerns regarding Centering Prayer and Catholics who mistakenly think it is tied to New Age spirituality:
A thoughtful Catholic should ask, “Why is there a question?” Catholics need to have a minimal awareness of the Vatican document “Jesus Christ, the Bearer of the Water of Life: A Christian Reflection on the New Age.”
The document doesn’t address Centering Prayer nor does the Catechism. It is ironic that Father Carl Arico recommended the fourth part of the Catechism, the section on Christian prayer where mind-emptying is mentioned as erroneous prayer, No. 2726.
Father Alessandro Panifi of Rome recently stated that when there is no specific answer in the document, we go to the origin of the practice in question.
From the “Homiletic and Pastoral Review” (October 2004), A Closer Look at Centering Prayer:
“In Open Mind, Open Heart, p. 37, Fr. Keating who is noted as founder of the Centering Prayer movement recommends yoga and jogging for relaxation.” Fr. Keating studied the eastern religions and wanted to “devise an approach to Christian spirituality that would be comparable to the methods of the East.”
Fr. Keating’s definition: “The Eucharist is the celebration of life: the coming together of all the material elements of the cosmos, their emergence to consciousness in human persons and the transformation of human consciousness into Divine consciousness. It is the manifestation of the Divine ….”
The Catechism clearly states what the Eucharist is. Nowhere is there a reference to “Divine consciousness,” which is a New Age term along with terms such as “elements of the cosmos.”
These brief quotes barely touch the surface of what deeper examination will reveal. Is it any wonder then, that there is, rightly so, skepticism surrounding Centering Prayer?
To the Editor: