Q: I’ve been practicing Centering Prayer for about two years. It has helped me in more ways than I could ever express. My question has to do with what happens in the silence between the moments I use the sacred word. In those moments in between using the word am I simply to seek to be present/attentive to the Presence of God or would this be considered a thought too?
A: Thank you for your question and for giving witness to how Centering Prayer has been fruitful in your life. What a gift it is to consent to God’s presence and action in our lives.
What to do with Silence in our prayer? Let it just be. As you so wisely mentioned, becoming aware and engaged with the Silence is just another thought. There is always the tendency to do something with it. Last night I attended a ballet. I just sat there with no thoughts, no commentary, nothing — just being carried into the beauty of what was happening. I did not even try to give any significance to the movements; I was totally present, perhaps even absorbed into the experience. (These reflection came to me afterwards, not during.)
Just be in the Presence. Don’t even label it with the term ‚Äúsilence‚Äù – just let it be. Be still and know that I am God. As soon as you become engaged with the Silence, ever-so-gently return to your sacred symbol of consent. Let God have God’s way with you. And remember what John of the Cross said: ‚ÄúGod’s first language is Silence.‚Äù Enjoy the conversation!