by Sister Ann Marie Emon
I have a dear friend, Joan Tuberty, OSF who lives her life with a deep understanding that there is a way of knowing God beyond words and intellectual knowing. I have learned that what Joan experiences is called Centering Prayer. Joan writes that silence is the language of the Spirit. Centering Prayer is a way of coming to our own center and find the deep stillness that is there within us. The Spirit dwells within our hearts and silence enables us to listen to the gentle movement and inspiration of the Spirit.
The core of this teaching is found in taking a word or short phrase and repeating it usually in our breathing. This word or phrase is called “centering prayer.” The guidelines are: 1) Come into God’s presence as consciously as you can. 2) Express your willingness to let go of thoughts so as to dwell in God’s presence. 3) Take up your “Sacred Word” repeating it slowly, returning to it when you become aware of thoughts. 4) As you complete your method of prayer (usually 20 minutes twice a day) say the “Our Father” slowly and with a grateful heart.
During these days of sheltering at home, perhaps we can go to our own center and pray what the psalmist encourages us to pray. (Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 145) Ed Hayes writes a beautiful prayer to use before your centering prayer.
A Prayer before Centering Prayer
Divine and Hidden Friend,
I often feel that I fail at prayer,
But, I rejoice that your Spirit
Prays ceaselessly in the cellar of my heart.
Grant me the grace to sit still
That I may hear the Spirit’s silent song,
Ever flowing like a river deep within, singing my love for you.
Singing my love for you.
Quiet my restless heart,
Calm my roving runaway mind
As now, in communion with all the earth
And her many-colored children
I enter into the song of love,
The prayer of stillness.
Be still and know that I am God…Be still and know that I am…Be still and know… Be still… (Psalm 46:10)