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Saturday, April 15, 2017

Lam. 3:1-9, 19-24; Ps. 31:1-4, 15-16; Matt. 27:57-66

One spiritual exercise that has had the greatest impact on my life, and on which I have come to rely more and more, is centering prayer.  Centering prayer is a time of cultivating mindfulness, the benefits of which anyone can read about online, but more importantly, it has gradually cultivated in me a growing awareness of God as a steady presence in my life.  Centering prayer is an invitation to sit in companionable silence in the presence of the One who is Most Important.  That daily time together has taught me to see the difference between fleeting thoughts and feelings, and a deeper awareness of Something More that exists in the far reaches of my mind.  I still clearly remember a centering prayer session that happened while I was preparing to leave Mentawai.

At the time, my heart was physically breaking.  Yet as I sat, I became aware of a deeper, loving presence of Something Else beneath that pain.  I suddenly realized the pain I felt was the pain of my ego breaking – of things not turning out the way I wanted – THAT’S what hurt, not my heart!  This steady, loving Presence knew my real state of being was not dependent on whether I was in Mentawai or somewhere else.  It gave me a sense of deep peace and of being held in a strength far greater than my own.  Centering prayer is teaching me to feel that strength as a constant.  Not in a magical, mystical way, but in ways that are real and tangible.

Daily centering prayer time is now the most important part of my day.  Thanks be to God!

–Karen Alford