GRACE, THE OPEN DOOR

GRACE, THE OPEN DOOR

In the alpha
and omega
of every moment
every day
of every week,
every year
of every decade,
every century
of every cosmic millisecond…
Grace
keeps The Door open.

In the beginning and
after the ending
of every
marriage and divorce,
birth and death,
sickness and wellness,
abandonment and betrayal,
injustice and catastrophe…
keep The Door open.

Whatever happens,
grace reigns,
grace remains.

Whatever does not happen,
grace maintains,
grace remains.

Whatever comes and goes,
grace sustains,
grace remains.

So
keep The Door open.

Bundle up every hurt,
every loss,
every confused misunderstanding;
Gather every unhealed grief
and thriving grievance…
Gather all resistances
and resentments,
memories of shame
and blame…
bring them Home,
through The Door,
into perfect Love.

Everything sad,
everything bad,
everything mad…

all yearnings unfulfilled,
all desires unmet;
all dreams swallowed
into ten thousand
darkened sewers
of saddened yesterdays…

every good deed unrecognized,
every unconditional gift rejected,
every unfinished symphony
of exquisite harmony
now abandoned…
Open the door and
bring them home.

every unfinished manuscript;
every prayer unanswered;
every loving attempt thwarted,
every abandoned intention—

These deserted refugees
of humanity…
these faithful fissured features
of a moaning creation…
these are the things
angels and gods
were fashioned to embrace.

All shattered investments,
now embellished by Grace,
at once,
in the twinkling of an eye,
have become
a deep reservoir
of Sacred Joy.

“Where sin abounds,
grace abounds even more.”
Romans 5:20

-Hal Edwards
Wauconda
February 18, 2017

QUOTES FROM FR. THOMAS KEATING

Quotes from Fr. Thomas Keating

I was first introduced to the practice of Centering Prayer by Fr. Keith Hosey and Sr. Maureen Mangen.  They led me to Keating’s amazing book, OPEN MIND OPEN HEART which became my daily and only mentor for more than a year when I first became a serious daily meditator.  Nearly 25 years later I find the daily practice of Centering Prayer to be a veritable life-line to the experience of Divine presence within me and in our world.  I am delighted to share a few selected quotes from Fr. Keating, hoping they will be an open door for you as you quest your Way into a more meaningful way of life. -Hal Edwards

Visit the Contemplative Outreach website and gain much more guidance and support available to you where you live:  contemplativeoutreach.org

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What is Centering Prayer and how does one “do” it?  “Centering prayer is a contemporary name for the practice that Jesus refers to as ‘prayer in secret’ in the Sermon on the Mount.  In the course of time this prayer has been given other names such as ‘pure prayer,’ ‘prayer of faith,’ ‘prayer of the heart,’ and ‘prayer of simplicity.'”   p. 4, Open Mind Open Heart, OMOH, Thomas Keating.

What can this way of prayer do for a person?  “Contemplative prayer is the world in which God can do anything.  To move into that realm is the greatest adventure.  It is to be open to the Infinite and hence to infinite possibilities.  Our private, self-made worlds come to an end; a new world appears within and around us and the impossible becomes an everyday experience.  Yet the world that prayer reveals is barely noticeable in the ordinary course of events..”  OMOH, p. 11. 

This practice is a way to consent to our awakening in the Spirit- “Christian life and growth are founded on faith in our own basic goodness, in the being that God has given us with its transcendent potential.  This gift of being is our true Self.  Through our consent by faith, Christ is born in us and the Risen Christ and our true Self become one.  Our awakening to the presence and action of the Spirit is the unfolding of Christ’s resurrection in us.”  OMOH, p. 11.

How does this method of silent prayer relate to all our thoughts?  “The root of prayer is interior silence.  We may think of prayer as thoughts or feelings expressed in words, but this is only one of its forms.  ‘Prayer,’ according to (Church Father) Evagrius, ‘is the laying aside of thoughts.’  This definition presupposes that there are thoughts.  Centering prayer is not so much the absence of thoughts as detachment from them.  It is the opening of mind and heart, body and emotions–our whole being–to God, the Ultimate Mystery, beyond words, thoughts, and emotions–beyond, in other words, the psychological content of the present moment.  In centering prayer we do not deny or repress what is in our (conscious thinking process).  We simply accept the fact of whatever is there and go beyond it, not by effort, but by letting go of whatever is there.”  OMOH, p. 12

Going into a deeper part of ourselves– “CP is not just a method.  It is true prayer at the same time, a prayer of consenting to God’s presence and action within…In CP we withdraw our attention from the ordinary flow of thoughts.  We tend to identify ourselves with that flow.  But there is a deeper part of ourselves, the spiritual level.  CP opens our awareness to this deep level of our being…Practicing this prayer…is not doing nothing.   It is a very gentle kind of activity.”  OMOH, p. 19ff.