At Visioning Day, attendees highlighted Events and Retreats as a Chapter priority over the next three years. I am happy to report our Servant Leadership Team has reached consensus on our Event/Retreat Program for next year. For two weeks before our meeting, each of us prayerfully considered the purpose of our Event/Retreat Program and the criteria we would use for selecting topics and speakers. We also reached out to all our Facilitators and asked them to let us know the topics their Centering Prayer Groups wanted to have next year. In selecting topics we agreed our topics should:
• Address the broad spectrum of Centering Prayer experience manifested in our Chapter’s membership.
• Focus on Fr. Keating’s teachings, Contemplative Outreach resources, Centering Prayer practice and concepts, Christian Contemplative practice.
• Be fresh and timely.
• Be responsive to the interests of our Centering Prayer Groups.
We reached a consensus to offer the following events recommended by sixty percent of the respondents to our Centering Prayer Group Survey:
A Three-Day Silent Retreat on Centering Prayer will be held at the Canterbury Retreat Center in Central Florida. Introductory workshops will be offered to those relatively new to the practice, and Deepening Workshops for those who have been practicing for some time.
Night of Sense with Susan Komis as presenter, we will explore the exquisite gifts of the Night of Sense. These multidimensional gifts mark a profound movement beyond self to the Other. We will learn how this stage of the Spiritual Journey simultaneously reveals the pathology of the human condition while at the same time heightens our awareness of the transcendent love of God.
Welcoming Prayer with Mary Dwyer will lead us in exploring this prayer practice of attending, letting go, and surrendering to God in the present moment of daily life. Developed by Contemplative Outreach’s late master teacher Mary Mrozowski, it is based largely on the teaching and wisdom of Fr. Thomas Keating and the eighteenth century work Abandonment to Divine Providence by Jean Pierre de Caussade.
A Day of Prayer will provide a time to simply come together as a community to cultivate interior silence and develop a basic disposition toward a relationship with God. We will practice Centering Prayer, do Contemplative walks, and meditate. In the words of Father Keating, “moving from external and internal noises to stillness and, ultimately, to the center of our being beyond self- reflection, to being with God: to just sit there and be still in God’s presence, and to let happen what happens.”
We are looking forward to an enriching Event/Retreat Program next year!
Nestor de Armas