Saturday, August 2, 2008
Why I Have no Truck with "Centering Prayer"
In my combox to a previous meme, Madame Evangelista asked me why I eschewed "centering prayer." I thought the response was worth a separate blog entry.
The reason I want nothing to do with it in short is because I believe it is, at BEST mildly gnostic, and at worst leaves one open to the work of the devil.
My own first thought on hearing about it was "centered on WHAT?" In reading about it, it seems centered in eastern religious or cult practices of letting the mind open up. Well then, open up for WHAT? It seems far too open to centering oneself into some sort of heightened consciousness. Also from what I've read in unstable people can leave themselves open to being preyed upon by who knows what.
A while back, in This Rock, a publication put out by Catholic Answers, there was a fairly succinct article on the topic. A google of "centering prayer" will reveal others. This stuff is far too "New Age" for me - and I steer clear of New Ageism whenever and wherever I can, including the "centering prayer" group at my own parish.
From anecdotal testimony of a friend of mine, she was told that she wasn't "developed enough spiritually" for the "centering prayer" group, by one of its members. At the very least that reeks to high heaven to me of gnosticism, and plain nuttiness. I could complain of course, but it's not like the pastor who leads the group, isn't a fair haired boy in the diocese. [And no, it wasn't the pastor who said that to my friend, and no I'm not going to tell him, because as far as I'm concerned it isn't worth discussing matters of the soul with him!]
In fairness, at least he does Benediction. So that's something.
Is everybody who is doing "Centering Prayer" out to lunch? Not necessarily, but it's not something I'd want to touch with a 10 foot pole. I'm as narcissistic as the next person, I don't need some "prayer group" directing me even MORE "centered." - wherever the hell that is.
To my own mind:
You want to "center yourself" WITH the Church, WITH God, WITH the Church Militant, WITH the Church Triumphant?" Try the Liturgy of the Hours (you can do it with a group or alone), Benediction, the rosary, Holy Hours, and plain old "making a visit to the Blessed Sacrament for a few minutes on your way past church."
No "let's get in a circle." No B.S.