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About Contemplative Outreach

 

Who We Are

Contemplative Outreach Pittsburgh is a chapter of Contemplative Outreach Ltd--a worldwide community of individuals and small groups committed to living the contemplative dimension of the Gospel in daily life.

The contemplative dimension of the Gospel is defined as the penetration into the spiritual meaning of Scripture, leading to an experience of the living Christ and to love others, inspired by that experience.

Our purpose is to foster the process of transformation in Christ in one another through the practice of centering prayer that leads to contemplation and union with the Divine.

Contemplative Prayer

We may think of prayer as thoughts or feelings expressed in words. But this is only one expression. In the Christian tradition contemplative prayer is considered to be the pure gift of God. It is the opening of mind and heart – our whole being – to God, the Ultimate Mystery, beyond thoughts, words, or emotions. Through grace we open our awareness to God whom we know by faith is within us, closer than breathing, closer than thinking, closer than choosing, and closer than consciousness itself.

Centering Prayer

Centering prayer is a method designed to facilitate the development of contemplative prayer by preparing our faculties to receive this gift. It is an attempt to present the teaching of earlier times in an updated form. Centering prayer is not meant to replace other kinds of prayer; rather it casts a new light and depth of meaning to them. It is at the same time a relationship with God and a discipline to foster that relationship. This method of prayer is a movement beyond conversation with Christ to communion with him.

Theological Background

The source of centering prayer, as in all methods leading to contemplative prayer, is the indwelling Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The focus of centering prayer is the deepening of our relationship with the living Christ. It tends to build communities of faith and bond the members together in mutual friendship and love.