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Contemplative Prayer


Contemplation may be described as simply resting in God’s presence. Some see it as a way of ‘looking’ at God and listening with the heart. We do not have to ‘do’ much in this form of prayer. This is attentive waiting for God to meet us and to be with us.
Meditative prayer forms may lead naturally into contemplative prayer.

More Information

Centring Prayer or Mantra
•    Choose a prayer word or phrase that is simple and may be prayed over and over.
•    Relax, then focus on your breathing. Allow the breath come naturally, neither fast nor slow.
•    Rest in the presence of God in an attitude of love and emptying yourself of everything else that is worrying or otherwise unhelpful. The prayer word or phrase will help you to do this.
•    Begin to say prayer word or phrase repeatedly, gently.
•    If any distractions or memories keep returning (as they will) gently put them aside with the prayer word.
•    Be aware of God’s presence and love.

Possible prayer words or phrases:
A title for God, Jesus, Spirit: Jesus, Lord God, God of Love, Spirit of Truth…..
Or prayer may be formed from different phrases:
           Come, Lord Jesus…..or Jesus Christ……or God my Father…..or Holy Spirit
              …..    touch my heart            ……    hear me 
              ….    be with me                …..    be my guide
                                 help me                    give me faith
                                 hold me close                    take my hand
                                 stay with me                    show me the way
                                teach me

What is contemplative prayer? St. Teresa answers: "Contemplative prayer ...in my opinion is nothing else than a close sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with him who we know loves us." (Catechism of the Catholic Church No 2709)

Contemplative prayer is the prayer of the child of God, of the forgiven sinner who agrees to welcome the love by which he is loved and who wants to respond to it by loving even more.8 But he knows that the love he is returning is poured out by the Spirit in his heart, for everything is grace from God. Contemplative prayer is the poor and humble surrender to the loving will of the Father in ever deeper union with his beloved Son. (Catechism of the Catholic Church No 2712)

Contemplative prayer is the simplest expression of the mystery of prayer. It is a gift, a grace; it can be accepted only in humility and poverty. ...Contemplative prayer is a communion in which the Holy Trinity conforms man, the image of God, "to his likeness."  (Catechism of the Catholic Church No 2713)

Contemplation is a gaze of faith, fixed on Jesus. "I look at him and he looks at me": this is what a certain peasant of Ars used to say to his holy cure about his prayer before the tabernacle...[Jesus’ gaze] ...teaches us to see everything in the light of his truth and his compassion for all men [and women]  (Catechism of the Catholic Church No 2715)

Contemplative prayer is silence, the "symbol of the world to come"  or "silent love." ….(Catechism of the Catholic Church No 2717)

Online Prayer

The following sites offer regular opportunities for being actively led through prayer forms adapted from the Church’s great spiritual traditions. The experience of being led through prayer, for about 10-15 minutes a day, using a computer or downloaded files, is increasingly popular.  You may read, listen to Scripture, music or guided reflection and gaze at inspirational or calming images, while sitting in front of a computer, or listen to downloaded MP3 or WMA files while travelling.

SACRED SPACE        Click to visit
Produced by the Irish Jesuits, this site invites you to “make a 'Sacred Space' in your day, and spend ten minutes, praying here and now, as you sit at your computer, with the help of on-screen guidance and scripture chosen specially every day.” Beautiful photographic images accompany a gentle progression from one part of the prayer to another.

TAIZE            Click to visit
For decades, the ecumenical French Taize Christian community has drawn thousands of people, especially young adults, from all around the world to join in prayer and catechesis. Taize chants for Christian prayer are also well known.  ‘Taize’ prayer groups are continually active in many parts of the world.
The ‘Prayer and Song’ link on the Taize home page, English language link, provides resources for prayer, including MP3,  podcasts and reflections on topics such as; preparing a time of prayer, preparing a welcoming space for meditative prayer, meditative singing, the value of silence, icons in worship.

For more Online Prayer resources click here.

Catechism of the Catholic Church

PRAYER IN CHRISTIAN LIFE  Nos 2558-2565, Nos 2697-2699,
God Calls Everyone  Nos 2566-2567
IN BRIEF  Nos 2590-2597 

Jesus Prays, Teaches Us How to Pray, Hears Our Prayer Nos 2599-2619 
IN BRIEF  Nos 2620-2622  

GUIDES FOR PRAYER  Nos 2683-2691
IN BRIEF  Nos 2692-2696
Perservering in Love  Nos 2742-2745  

Blessing and Adoration  Nos 2626-2628 
Petition   Nos 2629-2633
Intercession  Nos 2634-2636 
Thanksgiving  Nos 2637-2638 
Praise   Nos 2639-2643
IN BRIEF  Nos 2644-2649 
IN BRIEF  Nos 2661-2662 
THE WAY OF PRAYER  Nos 2663-2679
IN BRIEF  Nos 2680-2682 

Vocal prayer  Nos 2700-2704 
Meditation  Nos 2705-2708
Contemplative Prayer  Nos 2709-2719
IN BRIEF Nos 2720-2724