FATHER THOMAS KEATING, OCSO, co-founded the centering prayer movement in the 1970s when he was abbot of a Cistercian monastery, St. Joseph’s Abbey, in Spencer, Mass. He and two other Trappist monks, William Meninger and Basil Pennington, began holding retreats to teach this method of prayer, which draws on contemplative church teachings such as those of the Fathers and Mothers of the Desert, John of the Cross, and Teresa of Avila. Keating co-founded Contemplative Outreach, a worldwide nonprofit organization dedicated to encouraging the practice of centering prayer and Lectio Divina (praying the scriptures). Now in his 80s, Keating is still teaching and speaking on the riches of contemplation for those seeking a deeper experience of Christian faith. The author of several books on contemplative spirituality, Keating’s latest book is Manifesting God (Lantern Books). He was interviewed last year at Sojourners by associate editor Rose Marie Berger.
SOJOURNERS: Why is contemplative prayer an essential part of Christian life?