November 17, 2006

Letters to the Editor

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Bringing centering prayer to light

In response to the Perspectives column by John F. Fink in the Nov. 3 issue titled “Prayer: Contemplative prayer is a gift,” I would like to expound on the term centering prayer.

If he uses it to mean you are centering or focusing on Jesus—and your mind is consumed in love with a listening heart and mind for what Jesus might say to you—then the prayer can become the gift of contemplation, and it becomes an authentic centering or opening to God’s voice to come to the heart.

There is a counterfeit [version] of centering prayer afoot drawn from the Eastern world view of transcendental meditation, which asks the prayer to empty the mind and let everything pass by.

If you seek to void your mind, then how can you welcome God’s gentle inspirations in contemplation? This altered state of consciousness can mimic an authentic experience, releasing endorphins somewhat like the experience one gets after brisk exercise, and leaving one detached from other persons in an unhealthy way.

This format for emptying the mind can place the mind at risk, becoming comparable to hypnosis and making those who try it truly open to diabolical deceptions.

The missing link is found in the depth of love and conversion in the heart a person has toward God. It is deep sacrificial love that connects one’s soul to the divine mystical love of God, not techniques.

“Catholic Answers Live” ( recently ran a show on Nov. 6 titled “What’s wrong with centering prayer?” Through an interview and callers, it truly brought out the problems in applying this form of prayer into light. Access to this show is available on their Web site.

-Eva Roll, Bright


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