Q: I have been practicing Centering Prayer for ten years. The grace of really knowing that I am loved by God has been given to me. I am certain that at the moment of my death I will throw myself on God’s mercy, and all will be well. I will be with God for eternity. However, recently a priest told me that I am guilty of the sin of presumption. I don’t understand. I can merit nothing, everything comes from God’s merciful love. The whole focus of my life is my longing to be with God. And by life is given to supporting others in Centering prayer. I am not learned. I only know what the teacher within reveals to me. Please explain how this can be the sin of presumption.
A: What is meant by an attitude of presumption? There seems to be two aspects. The first is that a person thinks they can be saved by their own efforts and do not need God to help them. The other aspect is a person who believes God loves them so much they do not have to make any efforts at all because God will take care of them. It seems from what you said you are doing your part to have a vital relationship with Christ. I have found that when a comment is made that is unsettling, like what the priest said to you, it can be a time to review intention and motivation – why am I doing what I am doing? It is a moment of renewal that can bring your life with Christ to a deeper commitment and open you to a richer intimacy with the Lord. It is like the renewal of marriage vows for a couple who have been in a long relationship. In the meantime remember, this is the year of mercy and forgiveness.
– Fr. Carl