The Vision of Contemplative Outreach
by Thomas Keating
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and
with all your soul,
and with all your strength, and with all your mind;
and your neighbour as yourself.
Luke 10: 27
We embrace the process of transformation in Christ, both in ourselves and in others, through the practice of Centering Prayer.
Theological Principles with Commentary
1. Contemplative Outreach is a network of communities and individuals seeking the inspiration and guidance of the Holy Spirit and to contribute to the renewal of the Christian contemplative tradition through the practice of Centering Prayer.
2. A commitment to the practice of Centering Prayer is the primary expression of belonging.
3. The theological foundation of Centering Prayer is the Divine Presence in every member of the human family.
4. Consenting to the Divine Presence and action within us is the heart and soul of Centering Prayer.
5. The indwelling Divine Presence affirms our innate core of goodness and is expressed fully in the theology of the Most Holy Trinity.
6. The Divine action is the healing process of transformation in Christ, enabling us to experience an ever-deepening intimacy with God and the practical caring for others that flows from this relationship..
7. The conceptual background of Centering Prayer grounds and supports the growing silence and stillness of contemplation.
8. Listening to the word of God through the practice of Lectio Divina is encouraged, particularly its movement into contemplation which the daily practice of Centering Prayer facilitates.
9. We believe that the Christian contemplative tradition and its expression in service is the common ground for Christian unity.
10. While formed by our respective denominations, we are bonded through the experience of Christ in Centering Prayer and in daily life.
11. We affirm our solidarity with the contemplative dimension of other religions and sacred traditions.
12. The practice of Centering Prayer deepens our awareness of the oneness of all creation and our compassion for the whole human family.
13. Following the teaching of Jesus, we endeavour to exercise leadership in a spirit of service, utmost charity, and unity..
14. The good accomplished through Contemplative Outreach is the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Guidelines for Contemplative Outreach Service with Commentary
There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit;
there are different forms of service, but the same Lord;
there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone.
1 Corinthians 12:4-6
1. Contemplative Outreach is an evolving community with an expanding vision and deepening practice of Centering Prayer that serves the changing needs of Christian contemplatives.
2. The integrity of the teaching of the method of Centering Prayer is contained in the Four Guidelines and their conceptual background as described in the Method of Centering Prayer brochure.
3. We share Centering Prayer by appealing to interior attraction rather than proselytizing.
4. Those who serve in leadership ordinarily do so in a voluntary capacity. We employ staff and contractors
5. All who provide Contemplative Outreach services do so in consideration of their personal, family, and professional responsibilities, which come first.
6. Contemplative Outreach avoids indebtedness and owning real estate in order to be free to devote all its resources to sharing the gift of Centering Prayer..
7. We reach decisions through prayerful discernment, aiming toward consensus especially in matters of major importance.
8. We collaborate with our respective church authorities, but do not seek to become a religious or lay institute.
9. To remain accessible to everyone, Contemplative Outreach does not endorse particular causes or take part in public controversies, whether religious, political, or social. As private individuals, we act according to our conscience.
10. We maintain a spiritual relationship with St. Benedict’s Monastery in Snowmass, CO.