Q: When I Center I sometimes listen to music just to calm me down if I am not already in a peaceful state. Lately, I have been experiencing God IN the music and just want to be/stay with Him there in the music. It feels right. But am I really praying/Centering? Can the music be where I actually EXPERIENCE GOD’S PRESENCE and am — somehow — there WITH HIM during our prayer.
Fr. Carl: Our God has different ways to lead each one of us in prayer. The fact that you are able to lift your mind and heart to God through music is a wonderful gift.
In regard to Centering Prayer, music can be a vestibule to prepare you for your time of prayer. It is wonderful that it calms you down and puts you in a peaceful state prior to enter the prayer. I can certainly see the value of using music as a way to prepare you for Centering Prayer.
So if you are being lead into Centering Prayer by music, use it as a vestibule until you are ready to enter the prayer, then lower the music gently and surrender to God’s presence an action within with the help of your sacred word.
If you choose to stay with the music with the intention of consenting to God’s presence, you are also praying; it would not be Centering Prayer per se but it certainly would be a prayer. Music is a beautiful venue to experience the presence and action of God within you.
Audio Divina (sacred listening) also uses music as a doorway into prayer. Its steps are similar to Lectio Divina: listen, reflect, respond and rest in God through the music.
Let me know if this a help – I look forward to hearing from you.
Blessings, Fr Carl