Fr. Bill dives deep into the practice of Centering Prayer right from the first question in this episode. Jim McElroy, my guest on episode 19, mentioned Fr. Bill Sheehan as a frequent retreat leader in the 12-Step Contemplative Outreach community, and he suggested inviting Bill to be a guest. This was sage advice!
Bill is a priest and a member of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate (O.M.I.), and has a Masters Degree in Formative Spirituality from Duquesne University. He has ministered to clergy as Director of Ministry to Priests, and he has broad experience in pastoral ministry as a pastor and in marriage counseling.
Fr. Sheehan was present at the very first Centering Prayer retreat offered by Thomas Keating at the Lama Foundation in 1983. Since that time he has led many Centering Prayer workshops and retreats in different parts of the country.
Throughout our interview, Fr. Bill mentions many excellent resources for learning more about Centering Prayer, contemplation, and recovery. Below you can find links to these resources to help deepen your practice – enjoy!
This book is where Thomas Keating writes about the need for “Security, Affection, & Control,” which Bill discusses in-depth during our conversation:
The Welcoming Prayer – you can find everything you need to start this practice at https://www.contemplativeoutreach.org/welcoming-prayer
Bill and I discuss the Welcoming Prayer, the Prayer of Forgiveness, and the differences between Active Prayers (such as Welcoming & Forgiving) and Contemplative or Receptive Prayers (such as Centering). All of this is covered in the Contemplative Life Program (CLP) from Contemplative Outreach. If you want to dive deep into this transformative process, you can check it out below – https://www.contemplativeoutreach.org/contemplative-life-program
The Common Heart contains the wisdom of two decades of interreligious dialogue hosted by Thomas Keating in Snowmass, CO. It’s available in paperback or Kindle format.
Below are links to two letters written by Bill W.
The first is his letter written during his depression, where he reflects on the power that the Prayer of Saint Francis (of Assissi) held for him during a difficult time in his life and recovery – http://silkworth.net/pages/aahistory/general/billw_depression.php
The second is his short article, “The Next Frontier: Emotional Sobriety,” published in 1958
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