Centering Prayer’s Misunderstanding of ContemplationOctober 24, 2015 by Connie Rossini Filed under Books, Centering Prayer, Connie Rossini, FEATURED, New Age, Prayer 18 3 1 3 Centering Prayer’s Misunderstanding of ContemplationThe following is an excerpt from Connie’s new bookIs Centering Prayer Catholic? Fr. Thomas Keating Meets Teresa of Ávila and the CDF.This excerpt comprises Chapter Five: The Nature of Contemplation. DetailThomasKeatingDiscussionWithTheDalaiLamaBoston2012Fr. Keating writes, “Contemplation is a fundamental constituent of human nature and hence available to every human being.” This is a serious error. It makes contemplation into a merely human action, like thinking or loving. Fr. Keating says that Christian contemplation and Buddhist meditation “are basically the same thing,” and both employ many methods. He also says, “Contemplation… is not so much a gift as a given.” Contrast this with the Catechism: “Contemplative prayer is the simplest expression of the mystery of prayer. It is a gift, a grace; it can be accepted only in humility and poverty.”What does this mean more concretely? If contemplation is a gift, as the Catechism says, then God gives it as he wills and to whom he wills. Contemplation is really a deeper entering into the life of God through intimacy with Christ. It is not an altered state of consciousness. It cannot be achieved by human endeavor. Although God wills to draw every person into this intimacy, that does not mean that everyone, wherever he may be in the spiritual life, has immediate access to it. Human nature is not enough to make one a contemplative. Even the sacramental grace given at Baptism is insufficient to make one a contemplative. Contemplation requires a special act of God. When the soul has done all it can with ordinary grace to draw near to God, God draws near to the soul. This is the orthodox view. Letter to the Bishops indicates that Fr. Keating’s mistake is a Gnostic one: In combating the errors of pseudognosticism the Fathers [of the early Church] affirmed that matter is created by God and as such is not evil. Moreover, they maintained that grace, which always has the Holy Spirit as its source is not a good proper to the soul, but must be sought from God as a gift.
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