The first session for this week, which is actually Session 9 of the retreat, is entitled Prayer as Relationship. Gail Fitzpatrick-Hopler discusses the relationship that is developed as one sits in silence with God. She says " We are called to “Be still and know that I am God.” Being still is the main clue … it’s a little secret … of how to be in relationship with God."
Fitzpatrick-Hopler notes that our lived experience is usually 'doing a lot, moving around, thinking, talking, hoping, dreaming, but always wrapped up in ourselves and our own thoughts." But with Psalm 46:10, "Be still and know that I am God" we have a better understanding of how to be in a deeper relationship, to be still, so that we can Know God.
She gives the progress of relationships that we have with others. "Each level of relationship moves with your commitment and your consent to take the next step. As we go from acquaintanceship to friendliness and then movement into friendship or that trusting relationship which is a little deeper and a little bit more of a commitment. As we move into the intimacy, a very deep commitment, one of oneness or being, being together. We think again of being still."
Fitzpatrick-Hopler discusses how we grow and mature and how our relationships change and we are changed through our relationships. This is a great paragraph that moves to the next point she makes so I'm just going to copy the whole thing here.
"So, in that inner room what are we doing? We’re being still and we’re getting to know God. And we are getting to know ourselves in relationship with God as well. We learn how to be with God. We learn how to be with ourselves. As one of the benefits of it, in a sense, we learn how to be with one another. We learn how to be with one another in love as well. There is a lot of training that goes on in this inner room. And it all happens in the silence of transmission. The heart to heart experience of being one. The willingness to allow ourselves to open. To open and say yes from the very moment we enter."
She concludes with her belief that learning how to be in relationship with one another is something that we are called to learn on this earth, perhaps the one reason we are here and we learn how to be in relationship through being still and coming to know our God. Fitzpatrick-Hopler says "And, we get out of the way of ourselves and we allow God to train us in what true relationship is."
The Second Session for this week, or Session Ten, is Father Keating talking about types of prayer and the benefits of centering prayer for us. He lists the types of prayer as follows "The idea of prayer as relationship emerges as the essence of the practice, which can then be expressed in many different ways. The classical ways of praying are petition: asking for things; adoration: responding to God’s transcendence and goodness; and responding in gratitude to the good things we receive from God or the good things we hear about in scripture. A desire to express trust or love in this mystery that is laid before us in scripture or in some other way. Prayers are any of these things."
As he describes centering prayer, he relates the experience that will happen for us as we continue in this practice of silent prayer. "Little by little we enter into prayer without intentionality except to consent. Consent becomes surrender. And surrender becomes total receptivity, as this process evolves. And total receptivity is without effort—it is effortless. It is peaceful. It is free."
When we pray in silence, in what is named centering prayer, Keating helps us to know, "All judgment, all that kind of reflection, is not appropriate for the time of Centering Prayer, which is a time of sharing one’s pure being with God. It is not time for action. It is a time for receptivity. It’s a time for consenting to whatever IS at this present moment. It is an exercise of the present moment; of being with God totally in the present moment."
And lastly, Keating reminds us of how wonderful God believes we are and we come to know this as we get to know God. He explains, "All you have to do is stop being who you think you are and you couldn’t be more delightful . . .You don’t have to create the beauty—you’ve got the beauty. You don’t have to create the freedom— you’ve got it. You don’t have to create the image of God in you—you have it. You don’t have to win over God’s love—you have more than you know what to do with. You don’t have to become more beautiful because nothing could be more beautiful than your own, particular uniqueness."
Nice, right? How come more people are not flocking to learn more about this wonderful prayer?
No resources listed this week. Take care-Anne