Journey to the Heart: Centering Prayer for Children was written by Frank X. Jelenek, illustrated by Ann Boyajian, and was released by Paraclete Press on October 1, 2007.
Centering prayer is a form of contemplative prayer which was refined by Thomas Keating (born March 7, 1923) and two other Trappist monks, William Meninger and Basil Pennington (1931-2005), at St. Joseph’s Abbey in Spencer, in south central Massachusetts. Author Frank X. Jelenek is a member of Contemplative Outreach, which was co-founded by Thomas Keating, along with Gustave Reininger and Edward Bednar, in 1984 as a resource center for teaching and disseminating the process of centering prayer to people of all ages.
Artist Ann Boyajian formerly played keyboards as a rock musician. She now lives in the historic neighborhood of Jamaica Plain in southern Boston, Massachusetts, with her husband and two adorable cats, Lucy and Skootch. In addition to illustrating, Ann serves as organist and choir director at Green Street Baptist Church in Melrose, in Boston’s northern metropolitan area. Ann also has given a voice to her cats’ unique perspectives through her blog, Cattywumpuscats (available at: http://cattywumpuscats.blogspot.com)
Journey to the Heart: Centering Prayer for Children invites readers to explore the gentle stillness of centering prayer, which is a simple and practical form of communion with God. The author explains that a soul is God’s home within every heart and that contemplative prayer centers attention on God’s presence within as a form of silent communication and trusting relationship between the contemplator and God.
An important key to centering prayer is the choice of a secret, holy word which functions as a “secret way to knock, a sacred key to unlock” the heart’s center. Examples of special words include Father, God, Jesus, and love. While seated straight in a chair, with feet on the floor and eyes closed, the contemplator thinks of the special word and observes six minutes of silence. The brief process is terminated by a recitation of the Lord’s Prayer.
The author cautions that a bundle of disparate thoughts may rumble through the contemplator’s mind. But there is no cause for concern. The contemplator simply reiterates the special word and returns focus back to the heart.
Journey to the Heart: Centering Prayer for Children extends a warm welcome to readers of all ages to enter into the stillness of this form of contemplative prayer. Centering prayer is beautifully presented here through clear, reassuring words and through softly colored, inviting illustrations. This is a book which will be read and re-read throughout life.
Copyright: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 by Stessily