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I am excited to share my review of Finding Your Hidden Treasure by Benignus O’Rourke. Benignus is an Augustian friar and a member of the community of Clare Priory in Suffolk, has led hundreds of men and women, people of all faiths and none, on the way of silent prayer for more than forty years.
Benignus begins his book,”I too regret that it took me so many years to find the gold of silent prayer. In the chapters that follow I shall try to share what, with the help of my teachers, I have found at the heart of silence.” Let me share the gold that I found within this short but powerful book.
Augustine of Hippo
“Augustine constantly calls us to return to our hearts and it is about this journey inward that I want to write.” Let me share some Augustine of Hippo golden nuggets that Benignus sprinkles throughout his delightful book.
How much treasure we have within us but we do not dig for it!
You made us so that we long for you, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.
Augustine teaches us: ‘Do not wish to ask anything of God except God. Love Him without seeking gain. Desire Him alone.’
Christ lives in the heart of each one of us, and he is our best teacher,…
God sees so much more good in us than we see in ourselves
More Gold Nuggets
Allow me to share a few more gold nuggets that I enjoyed. I think you will too!
“The power that Jesus radiated was renewed daily in prayer.” This is key! We too can radiate power. How? When we do what Jesus did. When we take time each day to sit with God, over time we will be amazed at the power that will radiate from us.
We will discover qualities within us that remained hidden but now seem to burst forth into the world. We will begin to operate from a new base that we did not realize we had.
Within this base is all that we need: wisdom, compassion, empathy, patience and inner peace. This base will also include selfless and inclusive acts. When we see an injustice we will feel more inclined to take a stance.
Learn How To Love
Silent prayer teaches us how to love. “We shall find a new way of seeing and then a new way of loving. Of loving ourselves, and others, and God.” Many people expend all of their energy loving others. Silent prayer teaches us how to balance our love.
We learn how to love God. We sit in silence because we love God. Silent prayer also teaches us how to love ourselves. This is not selfish. The more we can learn to love ourselves, the more we can love God and others. We need the balance of all three!
“Come to me all you who are weary and I will give you rest,” says Jesus. “How easy it is for us to miss that invitation.“ It is wonderful to know that we have a God that we can come to when we are weary. Jesus loves us! Jesus wants us to come to him with our burdens.
Silent prayer is a safe place where we can sit with Jesus and release our burdens to him and take a much needed rest. And best of all, this time of rest is always available.
Refill Your Reservoir
“To live the new life that is offered us is to draw our energy from the source of life within us. As we have seen, too often we draw our energy from outside.” I begin each day with a centering prayer sit. Centering prayer fills my tank.
As the day progresses, I begin to run on fumes. I stop what I do and I sit a second time with God. I often sit a third time too. These second and third sits refill my reservoir. “We run on empty tanks. It is to fill our empty vessels that we come before the Lord in silence.”
“One way we can tell that we are being transformed is if other people find us more available, more attentive.” I have noticed this with a few of my friends and even those I do not know as well. I do not say this to brag. I say this to emphasize that silent prayer teaches me how to love others.
When I love others, I am present to others and they can sense this. They become more open and will talk and share with me. They can sense that I love them and that I want them to feel comfortable to get things off their shoulders that they have carried for too long.
Let me conclude and remind you that there are many ways to begin this journey. My way is a daily practice of centering prayer.
There are many, many other ways too, Christian Meditation, Prayer Labyrinths, Contemplative Photography to name a few. “There are many ways of beginning the inward journey to our own hearts. We shall each find the way that suits us best.”
As we begin this journey a God who loves us more than we can imagine awaits. Meister Eckhart reminds us, “He longs for you a thousand times more than you long for him.”
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I just finished Presence and Process: A Path Toward Transformative Faith and Inclusive Community by Daniel P. Coleman and The Soul of a Pilgrim: Eight Practices for the Journey Within by Christine Valters Paintner. I am currently reading Intimacy with God: An Introduction To Centering Prayer by Thomas Keating.
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David Frenette’s book The Path of Centering Prayer reenergized the Centering Prayer tradition with its fresh insights and teachings. Centering Prayer Meditations: Effortless Contemplation to Deepen Your Experience of God is a wonderful companion audio program created to be equally rewarding as a stand-alone guide – gives listeners an immersive resource to learn contemplative prayer, step by step and in the moment. With clarity and compassionate presence, Frenette explains the essential principles of this contemplative practice for both new and seasoned practitioners.
I use a Prayer Rope after each Centering Prayer Sit.
Centering Prayer is a silent prayer practice that can move you toward a profound relationship with the Spirit of God within. It is a way of praying that opens the door to the Divine Indwelling—the ground of our being. With Centering Prayer, Father Thomas Keating and his colleagues Gail Fitzpatrick-Hopler and Father Carl Arico present the first online course in this method for deepening your intimacy with God and ultimately consenting to the presence and action of the Divine in all aspects of your life.
The early Christians, teaches the Reverend Cynthia Bourgeault, were afire with the spirit of Jesus, inspired fully by his teaching of a total transformation of consciousness. How do we reclaim that fire today? On Encountering the Wisdom Jesus, this brilliant author and dynamic Episcopalian priest presents her first full-length audio course about rediscovering the Master of Wisdom. Twelve immersive sessions cover: the parables as wisdom tools; Jesus’s teachings about kenosis (or self-emptying: a path as radical today as it was 2,000 years ago); Jesus as tantric master; Centering Prayer, an approach to meditation as Jesus lived it, and much more. (Based upon her book, The Wisdom Jesus.)
Since the time of the Desert Fathers in the third century, Finley begins, Christian mystics have practiced meditation as a way of opening to the direct presence of God in daily life. Legendary seekers such as Saint John of the Cross, Saint Teresa of Avila, and Meister Eckhart explored how meditation can lead us beyond the closed horizon of the ego, to an interior and holy refuge that is always available to us. On Christian Meditation, James Finley offers a gentle introduction to this all-transforming way of life, and the ever-deepening realization of oneness with Christ it leads us to. (Based upon his book, Christian Meditation.)
Check out my review of Christian Prayer Methods by Dr. Philip St. Romain.
Prepare to be immersed in the 1st Century A.D. context of the life, work, teachings, and actions of Jesus. Check out Simply Jesus by N. T. Wright. Enjoy an article I wrote about one of the lectures on the Beatitudes.
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