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Exchanging Worry for Wonder

A Catholic priest’s encounter with God through Zen

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Illustration Credit: Communion by Anna Herrick

As a Catholic priest I resisted—and I encouraged others to desist from—practicing Eastern meditative disciplines. A few years ago, however, I began to read—to my chagrin—how several Roman and Anglican priests encountered in Zen meditation an affirmation of God and the certainty of planes and realities beyond those of our senses. For them, Zen was not theology; it was community. It wasn’t a theory, but an evolutionary process where the encounter with God occurred within oneself and not without.So I began the practice and realized for myself that zazen doesn’t demand subscription to any dogma or doctrine. In this freedom, I was able to grow my prayer life. My prayers became centered, less talkative. Rather than making petitions and demanding things from God, my mind transcended the “me of want” and led me to an unnerving place where the “deficient me” resided. How do I work on myself so I can be truly receptive to God’s instructions?Zazen has helped me to earnestly begin much of the real work in plumbing the genuine health of my spiritual identity. It is the equivalent of walking through parts of the hous …

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Zen BuddhismMeditationPrayersCatholicism

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