by Carol Quest
As it turns out, the actual work is not meetings, retreats and training sessions but rather transformation into Christ through the practice of Centering Prayer. Being faithful to the practice of Centering Prayer and allowing God to work through us taught me the freedom of humility. Since this is really God’s work, my part is to do my best and leave the final outcome up to God.
One example of how God worked through us involved a grant request we submitted to the Trust for the Meditation Process. When we submitted the request, the grant reader suggested we rewrite it. What resulted from her guidance was a proposal for a facilitators weekend retreat and funding for training five presenters of the Centering Prayer Introductory Workshop. By the time we received the funding from the grant, Contemplative Outreach had changed the formation training process, putting the training in the hands of the local chapter. Suddenly, Diane and I were responsible for the training. It is true we had the wisdom and expertise of Sister Virginia and Meridith Schifsky to guide us. Sister Virginia, however, consistently insisted that Diane and I take the lead for both the Facilitators Workshop and the Formation Training – pushing us out of the comfort of relying on those who had done the training in the past.
Looking back, I could say that her prompting helped me to invest my talent rather than burying it in feelings of insecurity. In the end, I am both grateful and humbled. I am grateful to have been part of the beautiful work God is doing to transform the world. I am also humbled because again and again I saw that it was not my ideas, my plans or my talent that accomplished anything. Rather my part was to show up, say yes and let go of the outcome. As God promised, the “talents” we offered bore fruit – was it ten, twenty, or a hundredfold? Who can say? I do know that it was beyond what I had imagined. I am also grateful to the Minnesota Contemplative Outreach service team as a whole and Sister Virginia in particular. Sister Virginia always had an encouraging word, but mostly it was her gentle push which helped us to offer ourselves wholeheartedly and let God do the work.
As I look back over the various events and projects, I am also grateful to all those people who faithfully practice centering prayer and participate in the events which Minnesota Contemplative Outreach sponsors. It is both inspiring and humbling to see the Spirit of God working in our lives to connect us to one another, and to draw us deeper into intimacy with the Divine Presence. It is true that Diane and I, along with the members of the Minnesota Contemplative Outreach service team, worked hard planning and implementing projects and events. But the people who participated took what we offered and transformed these events and projects into beautiful experiences.
As we hand on the work of Chapter Co-coordinators to Laurie Erickson and Mary Lapham, I have great confidence that God will continue this work – the essence of which is transformation into Christ through the practice of Centering Prayer.