Supporting contemplative prayer


To the Editor:
I was saddened by the letter in the Oct. 18 edition of The Catholic Messenger which criticized Centering Prayer. At a time when headlines announce that fewer and fewer consider themselves people of faith, criticism of another’s way of praying seems to unnecessarily create divisions, potentially driving others away.
It is appropriate that Father Carl Arico recommended Part Four of the Catechism of the Catholic Church on prayer. While there are many good books on prayer that are a bit easier to read than the Catechism, the part on prayer is very rich, far too rich to summarize here, but it speaks to the many forms of prayer, addressing them in general terms such as  vocal, meditative and contemplative.
Like Scripture, the Catechism is best read in its fullness, not individual sentences or paragraphs.  In the section on meditative prayer, the Catechism states that there are many methods of meditative prayer, but that methods are only guides. The Catechism speaks of contemplative prayer as a time when we let our masks fall, a period in which we awaken our faith to enter into the presence of “him who awaits us,” an expression of the mystery of prayer.  As far as problems with prayer, the Catechism identifies lack of faith, distraction and dryness (not praying).
In a recent interview, Bishop Martin Amos said that, to him, “faith” is a verb. Verbs imply action.  Praying continually (1Thes 5:17) is faith in action, and seems to be the primary concern.
Glenn Leach
St. Ann’s Parish
Long Grove

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