DEFINITIONS OF TERMS

APOPHATIC – The exercise of pure faith; resting in God beyond concepts and particular acts, except to maintain a general loving attention to the divine presence.

CENTERING PRAYER – A contemporary form of prayer of the heart, prayer of simplicity, prayer of faith, prayer of simple regard; a method of reducing the obstacles of the gift of contemplative prayer and of facilitation the development of habits conducive to responding to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

 

CONTEMPLATION – A synonym for contemplative prayer.  The development of ones relationship with Christ to the point of communing beyond words, thoughts, and feelings; a process of moving from the simplified activity of waiting upon God to the ever-increasing predominance of the gifts of the Holy Spirit as the source of one’s prayer.

 

DIVINE THERAPY – A paradigm in which the spiritual journey is presented as a form of psychotherapy designed to heal the emotional wounds of early childhood and our mechanisms for coping with them.

 

DIVINE UNION – A term describing either a single experience of the union of all the faculties in God, or the permanent state of union called transformation.

 

ECSTASY – The temporary suspension by the divine action of the thinking and feeling faculties including at times the external senses, which facilitates the experience of the prayer of full divine union.

KATAPHATIC – The exercise of the rational faculties enlightened by faith; the affective response to symbols, reflection, and the use of reason, imagination, and memory, in order to assimilate the truths of faith.

LECTIO DIVINA – Reading or more exactly, listening to the book we believe to be divinely inspired; the most ancient method of developing the friendship of Christ, using scripture texts as topics of conversation with Christ.

MEDITATION – In the Christian tradition a general term meaning either (1) continued, intent, focused thought which is from the Latin meditatio or (2) a state of quiet, intentionally unfocused, contentless awareness generally known as contemplation from the Latin contemplatio.

MYSTICISM – Also known as mystical prayer; a synonym for contemplation.

TRANFORMATION – Also known as transforming union; the stable conviction of the abiding presence of God rather than a particular experience or set of experiences; a restructuring of consciousness in which the divine reality is perceived to be present in oneself and in all that is.