CPE & Contemplative Prayer

As a part of my journey of seeking Anglican orders in the Episcopal Diocese of Texas, I am participating in the CPE program at Christus Santa Rosa Hospital in San Antonio.

I was hoping, before the summer started, that CPE might be an opportunity for me to develop deeper self-awareness (of my attitudes, values, and assumptions that could “get in the way” of ministry), and this has proven to be the case so far.

What has been a wonderfully gracious surprise, however, is that this process of self-awareness has been linked to my ongoing journey (about three years old now) into the life of contemplative prayer. As Thomas Keating has pointed out, gaining awareness into deeper meditative states of the heart can help to heal wounds to the unconscious self, and meet the deep longing of the Christian mystic: to experience immediacy with God, whose unbounded love alone is sufficient to satisfy the human heart, having as it does eternity set in it.

I was radically encouraged by this quotation from James Finley in Christian Meditation:

The very fact that you sincerely┬á desire to practice meditation means you are being blessed in a most extraordinary way. You are being led into the waters of meditative awareness, in which hermits, monks, and nuns living in monastaries, and countless devout women and men living in the world have found a deep and abiding experience of oneness with God. In order to join all these kindred spirits, you must courageously step into the stream of meditative experience that they entered, and in which their lives were transformed. You must entrust yourself to God, who is the river’s origin, its steady, strong current, and the ocean of fulfillment to which it leads.

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