It’s a reality that has been true since the moment of creation — we were made by a loving God whose sole purpose in creating us was to love us and call us to Himself where we experience the depth of that love in a way that fulfills our every hope and desire. In the secular world today, though, it is hard to recognize that reality. The consumerism of society is rampant, and distractions are overwhelming. Still, God calls us to Himself, wanting us to know Him, to love Him, and to know the absolute joy of a fulfilled existence.
How do we come to know Him? We pray!
Parishioner Lee Terpay knows this to her core. When her mom unexpectedly passed away in 2002, Lee had fallen away from the faith. When she returned to the Church and began nourishing and renewing her relationship with God, Lee says she discovered the devotion of centering prayer.
“I was reading a book on Christian meditation when I saw the words ‘centering prayer,’” Lee says. “That’s when I realized that the meditative practices I have been drawn to since my youth could focus on Christ.”
It was at that time that Lee attended a Wednesday daily Mass and discovered the parish she was visiting offered a prayer and formation ministry called Lectio Divina, so she jumped at this opportunity to grow in her faith.
“I really wanted to pray Holy Scriptures,” Lee says. “And Lectio Divina helped me do that in a fruitful way.”
Lee discovered that participating in these personal prayerful devotions was a chance to build a new relationship with Christ.
“It really does deepen your relationship with Christ to pray in this way,” Lee says. “Christ is in us by virtue of our Baptisms. Recognizing that God is closer to us than we are to ourselves — because our thoughts often keep us from focusing on who we are in Him — brings a deep appreciation for who Christ is in me.”
Centering Prayer and Lectio Divina are both meditative forms of prayer whereby we are invited to read and reflect on the Scriptures and God’s words to us therein in a deep and personal manner. Since Lee has had such a profound faith-building experience with these two prayer forms, she established our parish’s Contemplative Prayer Group this past April.
“We’ve had this type of prayer group in the past,” Lee says. “But it dwindled, and I really wanted to see it re-established.”
The group gathers in the chapel every Tuesday at 7 p.m., immediately following 6 p.m. Mass. Many of the group’s participants attend Mass and then stay for some contemplative prayer time.
Together, the group members center themselves on Christ. They read the Scriptures out loud and then spend time individually reflecting on what God is speaking to them personally. It is a peaceful and deeply personal time of prayer, and gathering in this way offers the group’s participants an avenue of encouragement and love as they grow closer to Christ Himself.
Parishioners interested in joining the group are welcome with open arms. A word of advice to those who have never prayed like this but feel called to start: don’t be intimidated. Lee says everyone in the group is very welcoming, and they will help familiarize you with this form of prayer.
The Contemplative Prayer Group is open to all. Simply show up for the next Tuesday meeting. We look forward to seeing you!