The Sacred Word in Centering Prayer

Q:  I have found it difficult to use just one word as I meditate. A simple 3-word phrase – that resonates strongly with me – is most comfortable for me. Is it appropriate to use a phrase and not a single word?

A: If you are talking about meditation, the repetition of a phrase is a very powerful way to keep one’s intention and attention alive throughout the time of the prayer. If you are speaking of Centering Prayer, the wisdom is to make your prayer symbol  as simple as possible — if the prayer symbol is a word, we recommend one word. The reason is that it will be easier to let it go and simply be in the prayer itself. The longer the prayer word the longer it seem to take, humanly speaking, to just let it go.  Remember it is a symbol of your desire to consent and let go — and not to focus and control. However let it be said, if you are making the time and answering to God’s inspiration, all will be well. Who are we to judge?

– Fr. Carl