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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.”
Transforming the World through Contemplative Prayer: Richard Rohr, OFM, and Laurence Freeman, OSB—two long-time spiritual friends—offer practical guidance for the challenges of this time in Earth’s history. They teach us how we can put our deepest aspirations for personal realization and social transformation into practice. Their combined focus on contemplation, action, and a shared passion for truth illuminates the origins of our crisis and shows us the path toward lasting change and a more just and loving humanity. Discover the power of contemplative prayer to change the world.
The Art of Letting Go: Living the Wisdom of Saint Francis – Fr. Rohr gives us a six-session learning course that explores: the surprising richness we discover through simplifying our lives (without taking a vow of poverty); liberation from our self-limiting biases and certitudes; contemplation and action, two key steps toward communing more deeply with the Divine; and more.
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. 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?
Centering Prayer Course: A Training Course for Opening to the Presence of God – 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.
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.)
Thomas Merton’s Path to the Palace of Nowhere: The Essential Guide to the Contemplative Teachings of Thomas Merton – Now James Finley, who for six years lived, prayed, and studied with Brother Louis, as Merton was known at the Abbey of Gethsemani, shares with us the gifts passed on to him by this towering figure.
The Teachings of Meister Eckhart: An Invitation to Experience God in Every Moment: The 13th-century mystic Meister Eckhart was the most brilliant Christian scholar of his day, but he was also legendary for the way that he opened listeners to the direct experience of God during his public talks. Today, his written wisdom remains alive as ever, ready to illuminate us. James Finley, one of today’s best-known teachers of the Christian contemplative tradition, invites us into Eckhart’s insights in the same way that this luminary teacher delighted in sharing them—through the spoken word.
“My experience—from the depths of depression to the heights of joy—has taught me that the path toward wholeness takes patience and passion,” teaches Parker Palmer. With An Undivided Life, you will receive his timeless wisdom and guidance to help you discern, trust, and follow your authentic self at home, in your work, and in the world. We all yearn for a life that is whole—where “soul and role” are aligned and our innermost wisdom guides us in our actions. Perhaps no one has explored this topic more deeply than bestselling author and distinguished educator Parker J. Palmer.