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Catholic Spiritual Direction

Can Centering Prayer be Redeemed? (Updated)

January 10, 2014 by  
Filed under Centering Prayer, Dan Burke, Hesychasm, Prayer

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Dear Dan, I recently read your three part series on false prayer practices and, if I read between the lines, it seems like you believe that one can practice centering prayer in a way that is in keeping with faithful Catholic prayer tradition. Is this true, and if so, how would you justify this?  Dear Friend, you are very perceptive. While a number of Centering Prayer (CP) practitioners attacked me for what I wrote, a few (including... Read More

How can I Avoid False Teachings on Prayer? (I of III)

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How can I Avoid False Teachings on Prayer? (Part I of III) …A faithful follower of the Lord asks:  Dear Dan, I enjoy reading more modern writers about prayer and the spiritual life but I am always worried about false teachings that could lead me away from the heart of the Church. How can I know when an author is not orthodox or teaches something that could lead me to deception instead of to God? You are wise to be concerned... Read More

Why not integrate teachings of other religions with Catholic spirituality?

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Dear Father John, the Church has clearly taught that there is truth and good in other religions – so why then is it a problem to integrate the truths found in prayer traditions outside of Christianity with Christian prayer methods? This is a great question, especially for today’s world, in which religious tolerance is spoken about by so many different groups (though not all) as a universal value. Sometimes we can confuse openness... Read More

I am concerned about avoiding New Age influence in my spiritual reading program, can you help?

Lama_Meditation_1 By Van Derek (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http-::creativecommons.org:licenses:by-sa:3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons copy

Dear Dan, I was inspired by Fr. John’s post on spiritual reading a while back. A friend has recommended “The Cloud of Unknowing” to me but I am worried about slipping into Catholic books that claim to be Catholic but that promote New Age thought through centering prayer and mixing Catholic prayer with non-Christian prayer teachings. Anyway, I wanted to get your advice on where I could/should start a solid spiritual... Read More

The Vatican on Christian Meditation and Centering Prayer

Though a complete understanding of this document requires education in Church history and mystical and ascetic theology – on its face it clearly addresses many current popular teachings on prayer that should be of concern to every Catholic who seriously desires to deepen their understanding of what it means to truly engage with God. This document is a profound summary of true Christ-centered prayer and those false forms... Read More

Questions about contemplation

October 15, 2011 by  
Filed under Centering Prayer, Contemplation, Dan Burke, Prayer

The encounter of contemplation is such an unexpected and memorable experience, shouldn’t one be content with leaving it to God if it would ever be repeated?  I see people trying centering prayer, Taize prayer, etc. to try to achieve it.  It somehow seems wrong to try to ‘get’ something that’s purely a gift. Is acquired contemplation the same experience as infused contemplation? Books like the Interior... Read More

Is there anything good about Centering Prayer?

May 19, 2011 by  
Filed under Centering Prayer, Dan Burke, Prayer, PseudoSpirituality

Dear Dan, I know that you are not a fan of Centering Prayer. I did read the document you posted from the Vatican and I think I see the problems, at least from the standpoint of what I was taught. Still, isn’t there some good in centering prayer? For instance, isn’t it good to sit still, breathe slowly so you can relax etc.? I have experienced a great deal of good from this practice and little bad that I can see… You... Read More

My spiritual director has recommended centering prayer, what should I do?

Dear Dan, I have recently sought the guidance of a Spiritual director which I would say was greatly influenced by your and Fr. John’s suggestions. My concern is that my Spiritual Director has suggested Centering Prayer. I’d appreciate it if you can share your thoughts on that. Thanks. First things first – I am greatly encouraged by your steps toward deepening your faith through spiritual direction! With respect... Read More

What does the Vatican say about Centering Prayer?

Centering Prayer:  What the Vatican has to say about it Has the Vatican ever addressed the topic of Centering Prayer or the teachings commonly held by those who advocate or practice Centering Prayer? Yes, the approach to prayer commonly referred to “Centering Prayer” has been formally and specifically addressed by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (we provide the text of this important document below).... Read More

Time for God – Book Recommendation

January 7, 2010 by  
Filed under Books, Centering Prayer, Dan Burke, Meditation, Prayer, Resources

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Time for God by Father Jacques Philippe: Book Recommendation Someone once said that true genius is not in understanding complexity but in the ability to communicate complex issues in simple terms that anyone can understand. Father Jacques Philippe accomplishes in a very short easy read what most require volumes to explore and explain about the spiritual life, and specifically the life of prayer. Father Philippe begins this fantastic... Read More

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