Tag: Christian Meditation

Remembering Thomas Keating

Fr. Thomas Keating, (1923-2018)

REMEMBERING THOMAS KEATING
Father Thomas Keating, O.C.S.O.
7 March 1923 – 25 October 2018
Requiescat In Pace


Editor’s Note: Father Thomas Keating¹, Co-Founder of centering prayer and a pioneer in contemplative prayer, Christian spirituality, and interfaith dialogue died yesterday, October 25, 2018, at age 95.

It was at one of his lectures back in 1998 that Fr. Keating set me on the contemplative path and introduced me to centering prayer. And because his teaching and writing have had such a profound influence on me over the years, I feel a deep, personal loss. Fr. Keating may no longer be with us physically, but there is no doubt in my mind that his ministry and spiritual legacy will continue until the end of time. May he rest in peace.



BIOGRAPHY

Born in New York City in 1923, Thomas Keating attended Deerfield Academy, Yale University, and Fordham University, where he graduated in December 1943. He entered the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance (also known as Trappists) in Valley Falls, Rhode Island, in January 1944. He was appointed Superior of St. Benedict’s Monastery, Snowmass, Colorado, in 1958, and was elected abbot of St. Joseph’s Abbey, Spencer, Massachusetts, in 1961. He returned to Snowmass after retiring as abbot of Spencer in 1981, where he established a program with retreats in the practice of Centering Prayer, a contemporary form of the Christian contemplative tradition through the auspices of Contemplative Outreach.²

LOCALLY
I remember it like it was yesterday. While serving a local Baptist church as associate pastor back in 1998, I received a sign from God. Well, in a manner of speaking. As I recall, it was a tiny classified ad in the Houston Chronicle’s Religion Section that, at first glance, appeared to be either a typo or an oxymoron announcing that a Trappist monk would be speaking at a Baptist church. As it turned out, the ad was legit. The church was River Oaks Baptist Church. The monk? Also, legit – Thomas Keating.

Intrigued, I attended Father Keating’s lecture on prayer that evening where he stood front and center on the stage, his hands gently folded as in in prayer, speaking for about ninety minutes without the use of a podium or notes. He spoke both extemporaneously and compellingly to a packed-out church on the importance of taking the time out of our busy daily lives and schedules to make a connection with God. (Keating likened it to sending God many short emails throughout the day. Today we would just text or FaceTime God.) To my ears, it sounded like a Christian version of meditation; he referred to it as centering prayer. I left the church that night in amazement of what I had just heard with a well-fed soul, an armful of Keating’s books, and a commitment to God to learn more. And learn more I did during the next several years through his lectures, more than 40 books and videos, and dozens of centering prayer and silent prayer retreats I participated in at Villa de Matel, in Houston.

LEGACY
Today, with more than twenty years having now passed since my introduction to Christian “meditation” (thank you, Fr. Keating), I’m now the one standing in front of people teaching and spreading the “good news” of contemplative prayer.  And along with thousands of other disciples and people all over the world, I express my appreciation for the profound influence of Father Keating on my life and give thanks to God for the enormous spiritual legacy he has left behind for generations to come.


 NOTES & REFERENCES

1 R.I.P. Father Thomas Keating | National Catholic Reporter (NCR)

2 Thomas Keating Bio | Wikipedia – the free Encyclopedia

3 Photo Credit: Fr. Thomas Keating | Public Domain by Christopher [CC BY 2.0  (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Nexus Prayer Primer

NEXUS PRAYER PROJECT | A PRIMER

“Be still, and know that I am God.” ~ Psalm 46:10

What began for me in the summer of 2015 as a simple curiosity about the well-known and much loved eight little words buried in the middle of Psalm 46, soon became a passion…then a project. Today it is my humble little prayer ministry.

For 365 days straight I researched, read, studied the original ancient languages, digested, and yes, prayed all of Psalm 46, but especially verse 10, “Be still, and know that I am God.” Now several years later, the fruit of my time spent praying (listening) to God is this website and what is now known as Nexus Prayer International.

I refer to nexus prayer as “The Nexus Prayer Project”, but the truth is I’m the project! Day by day, week by week, month by month, and now year by year God has gradually been transforming me from the inside out as I have learned to listen to His still, small voice through nexus prayer. Plans include for the expansion of this website, an eBook, a “real” book, synchronized prayer cells, local prayer groups, workshops, presentations, gift shop, and more! Questions? Feel free to contact me anytime through this website. I’d love to hear from you!

A NEXUS PRAYER PRIMER
Not to be confused with meditation, Mindfulness, or other forms of contemplative prayer, and not associated in any way with so-called New Age theology, nexus prayer is a short, simple, and scripture-based method of contemplative prayer.

It is easy to learn, and can be used by anyone, anywhere, and anytime by simply praying the first part of Psalm 46:10 (“Be still, and know that I am God”) several times each day. As such, it is designed to supplement, not replace one’s regular church attendance, daily devotional time, weekly bible study, or other times designated for prayer..

 

“Nexus prayer helps us to better hear the ‘still, small voice of God’ through the stilling of our soul, the quieting of our mind, the letting go of our problems, and the surrendering of our will.” ~ aaw

Whether done at home, the office, church, or even on-the-go, nexus prayer helps us carve out the time in our busy schedules to create some quality one-on-one time with God. Think of it as a daily, scheduled, divine appointment that takes as little as five minutes a day.

In the stillness of nexus prayer our intention is not to talk to, but rather listen to God. (It’s worth noting that the words “listen” and “silent” both contain the same exact letters.) Nexus prayer, then, helps us to better hear the “still, small voice of God” I Kings 19:9-13 through:

  • the stilling of our soul
  • the quieting of our mind
  • the letting go of our problems, and
  • the surrendering of our will leading us, ultimately, to an authentic connection to and communion with God.

Ready to begin? Nexus prayer can be done in as little as five minutes a day and The Steps are easy to learn. Questions? Feel free to contact me anytime!

Notes & Credits:
1 Photo Credit: Original Bible photograph by Aaron Burden | Used and modified with permission via Unsplash. | Nexus Prayer International.

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