NEW TESTAMENT & SCRIPTURAL INSPIRATIONS for Centering Prayer, by Father Thomas Keating
Contemplative Prayer is not a technique, although it makes use of methods as starting points to awaken spiritual attentiveness. Contemplative prayer is a gift of the Holy Spirit. A basic tenet of the Christian Contemplative tradition is that this gift cannot be earned, but it is freely given by God.
Centering Prayer is not that gift, or even a way to make Contemplative prayer happen. Rather, it is a means of preparing to receive it by opening to God’s presence and action within. The following texts from the Gospel of John are a New Testament scriptural and theological inspiration for the practice of Centering Prayer.
the relationship in the Trinity between the Father and the Son
Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? I am not myself the Source of the words I speak to you: It is the Father who dwells in me doing his own work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father in me; or else accept the evidence of the deeds themselves. In very truth I tell you, whoever has faith in me will do what I am doing, indeed he will do greater things still because I am going to the Father. Anything you ask in my name I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. (John 14:10)
the invitation to share int he Trinitarian relationships
I will not leave you alone; I am coming back to you. In a little while the world will see me no longer, but you will see me; because I live you too will live. When that day comes you will know that I am in my Father and you in me and I in you. (John 14:18)
the presence and action of the Holy Spirit
I have told you these things while I am still with you; but the advocate, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name; will teach you everything and remind you of all that I have told you. (John 14:25)
the necessity of union with Christ
I am the true vine and my Father is the gardener…. Dwell in me as I in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself, but only if it remains united with the vine; no more can you bear fruit, unless you remain united with me. … I am the vine and you are the branches. Anyone who dwells in me, as I dwell in him, bears much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:1,4)
the movement of union with Christ towards pure love
If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. Dwell in my love. If you heed my commands, you will dwell in my love, as I have heeded my Father’s commands and dwell in his love. (John 15:7)
Christ’s prayer for the unity of all his followers
Protect them by the power of your name, the name yo have given me, that they may be one as we are one. (John 17:12)
May they all be one in us, as you, Father are in me, and I in you, so also that they be in us, that the world my believe that you send me. The glory which you gave me I have given to them, that they may be one, as we are one. I in them and you in me, may they be perfectly one. Then the world will know that you sent me, and that you loved them as you loved me. (John 17:20-23)