“For God alone my soul in silence waits, truly, my hope is in him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold, so that I shall not be shaken. (Psalm 62:6-7. The Book of Common Prayer, p.669).
I wish I had the faith the Psalmist must have had when these words were written. The author had many things going on around him. He had a lot of enemies it seems. Yet in the middle of what must have been going on, he found this faith in him that he knew that his soul in silence waits for God, and that God was his only salvation who could fill him with the courage he needed to face the turmoil he was experiencing.
When we speak of silence and solitude in the Monastic life, we are not only talking about exterior tranquility and seclusion. When we finally do put aside what is going on around us, and spend time in a quiet withdrawal, we find ourselves with that much more noise and the crowds within us. Plans we haven’t made. Phone calls we didn’t return. The emotions we feel after being disappointed. The relationship (s) that were interrupted by death or a break up. All of these and our feelings of self inadequacy find their way of shaking us and keeping us from that peace of God. Much of all this comes from our indulging with our false-sense of self. Somehow we internalized that everything is up to us.
Centering prayer is sitting quietly and using a word or phrase while we journey to our center and be with God alone in solitude. In Centering Prayer, we don’t push the things going on in our life aside. We accept them as they are, and let them go. When God is so present with us, everything else becomes something we acknowledge is there, but we don’t cling to them. We let them go. Because now we know and are experiencing that “For God alone our souls in silence waits, truly our hope is in God.” Centering prayer opens our interior selves to the contemplative experience of God’s mysterious love and transforming grace. When we allow ourselves to be with God alone and center ourselves on God, we are brought into a perfect union with God by which God is all we are seeking, for the sake of God alone. Everything else becomes irrelevant.
The Brief Rule of St. Romuald
“Listen readily to holy reading, and devote yourself often to prayer.” (RB:1980: The Rule of Saint Benedict in English, Chapter 4 On the Tools for Good Works, verses 55-56. p.28).