Volume No. 16 Issue No. 3 March 2019  



  Contemplating spiritual meditation? Read on
  

     Rev. Roger Butts is starting a new contemplative prayer group in Black Forest at the Black Forest Community Church. Butts said from his early 20s on he has been intrigued with the writings of Father Thomas Merton, a Trappist monk whose words inspired the contemplative prayer movement.
   
   “I needed a way to quiet my mind, my hyperactivity and anxiety; and Merton appealed to me because he combined Eastern and Western thoughts with contemplation and social justice,” Butts said. “And it helped me to get in touch with my true self that the mystics talk about. Contemplative prayer is a simple but profound practice that encourages people to take time every day to be in silence, and in that silence, whether they pray, meditate or think about a sacred word, invites us to be in communion with the sacred, to encounter God and our true selves.”
   
   In the 1970s, three monks wanted to create a Christian contemplative prayer that laypeople would understand and be able to utilize on a regular basis. Father Thomas Keating, then a Trappist monk in Massachusetts, helped bring contemplative prayer to the United States. Keating now resides at St Benedict’s Monastery in Snowmass, Colorado. The monks offered workshops and retreats to both clergy members and laypeople.
   
   Butts new contemplative prayer group meets the first Saturday of every month from 8:30 to 10 a.m. Butts said no experience is required — people of faith and of no faith are invited. The meeting starts with 10 minutes of silence and then a discussion about staying on a path that works for each individual. The prayer group ends with 10 more minutes of silence.
   
   Contemplative prayer is similar to meditation. According to the National Center for Complimentary and Integrative Health, in 2012, an estimated 18 million people in the U.S. practiced meditation in various forms, including mindfulness, yoga, tai chi and qui gong.
   
   Butts said, “Merton said we become contemplative when God discovers God’s self in us, when God’s longing for us connects with our longing for God, then we enter the contemplative life.”
   
   The Black Forest Community Church is at 6845 Shoup Road. Rev. Marta Fioriti is the pastor. For more information on contemplative prayer and the meetings, call Rev. Roger Butts at 719-433-3135.
 
 
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