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Reflections on Finding God through Meditation – Centering Prayer and the Necessity of Prayer

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Centering Prayer and the Necessity of Prayer What is “centering prayer”? Can it lead to contemplation? Do I need to pray to be saved? Dan and Melissa discuss the necessity of prayer and answer these questions and more as they reflect on the book Finding God Through Meditation by St Peter of Alcántara.     Topics/Questions covered in the show: Is contemplation the same thing as centering prayer? Can... Read More

Finding God through Meditation – Mental Prayer & Centering Prayer

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St Peter of Alcantara on Mental Prayer Finding God through Meditation What is “centering prayer”? What did Sts Peter of Alcántara and Teresa of Avila teach about good prayer? Dan and Melissa reflect on the differences between good prayer and false prayer, as found in St Peter of Alcántara’s book Finding God through Meditation. Topics/Questions covered in the show: Are there incorrect ways to pray? What did... Read More

Contemplation & Meditation Lies: Peter of Alcantara, Teresa of Avila


In 1577, St. Teresa of Avila completed what is heralded as her seminal work on mental prayer, meditation, and contemplation in the Interior Castle. This guidebook to the most profound depths of prayer has become the standard against which all serious inquiries into interior progress must be measured. This is the reason that it is to St. Teresa that the Catechism of the Catholic Church poses the question, “What is contemplative... Read More

Can Centering Prayer be Redeemed? (Updated)

January 10, 2014 by  
Filed under Centering Prayer, Dan Burke, Hesychasm, Prayer


Dear Dan, I recently read your three part series on false prayer practices and, if I read between the lines, it seems like you believe that one can practice centering prayer in a way that is in keeping with faithful Catholic prayer tradition. Is this true, and if so, how would you justify this?  Dear Friend, you are very perceptive. While a number of Centering Prayer (CP) practitioners attacked me for what I wrote, a few (including... Read More

How can I Avoid False Teachings on Prayer? (I of III)


How can I Avoid False Teachings on Prayer? (Part I of III) …A faithful follower of the Lord asks: Dear Dan, I enjoy reading more modern writers about prayer and the spiritual life but I am always worried about false teachings that could lead me away from the heart of the Church. How can I know when an author is not orthodox or teaches something that could lead me to deception instead of to God? You are wise to be concerned... Read More

Why not integrate other religious teachings with Catholicism?

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Dear Father John, the Church has clearly taught that there is truth and good in other religions – so why then is it a problem to integrate the truths found in prayer traditions outside of Christianity with Christian prayer methods? This is a great question, especially for today’s world, in which religious tolerance is spoken about by so many different groups (though not all) as a universal value. Sometimes we can confuse... Read More

Avoiding New Age influence in spiritual reading

Lama_Meditation_1 By Van Derek (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons copy

Dear Dan, I was inspired by Fr. John’s post on spiritual reading a while back. A friend has recommended “The Cloud of Unknowing” to me but I am worried about slipping into Catholic books that claim to be Catholic but that promote New Age thought through centering prayer and mixing Catholic prayer with non-Christian prayer teachings. Anyway, I wanted to get your advice on where I could/should start a solid spiritual... Read More

The Vatican on Christian Meditation and Centering Prayer


Though a complete understanding of this document requires education in Church history and mystical and ascetic theology – on its face it clearly addresses many current popular teachings on prayer that should be of concern to every Catholic who seriously desires to deepen their understanding of what it means to truly engage with God. This document is a profound summary of true Christ-centered prayer and those false forms... Read More

Questions about contemplation

October 15, 2011 by  
Filed under Centering Prayer, Contemplation, Dan Burke, Prayer


The encounter of contemplation is such an unexpected and memorable experience, shouldn’t one be content with leaving it to God if it would ever be repeated? I see people trying centering prayer, Taize prayer, etc. to try to achieve it. It somehow seems wrong to try to ‘get’ something that’s purely a gift. Is acquired contemplation the same experience as infused contemplation? Books like the Interior Castle... Read More

Is there anything good about Centering Prayer?

May 19, 2011 by  
Filed under Centering Prayer, Dan Burke, Prayer, PseudoSpirituality


Dear Dan, I know that you are not a fan of Centering Prayer. I did read the document you posted from the Vatican and I think I see the problems, at least from the standpoint of what I was taught. Still, isn’t there some good in centering prayer? For instance, isn’t it good to sit still, breathe slowly so you can relax etc.? I have experienced a great deal of good from this practice and little bad that I can see… You... Read More

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