Father Thomas Keating was a Trappist monk in the Cistercian Order who served as abbot of Saint Joseph’s Abbey Monastery in Spencer, MA, for more than 20 years. He was the author of 20 books, and was one of the architects of the contemporary Centering Prayer movement. Father Keating passed away on October 25, 2018. In celebration of his life and to honor his death, Sounds True is rebroadcasting this classic Insights at the Edge interview. Here, Tami Simon and Father Keating discuss the monastic path, prayer, doubt, and how he has dealt with both little deaths and big deaths in his own life. They also talk about the afterlife and the transformative process that occurs when one engages regularly with the practice of Centering Prayer. (72 minutes)
This conversation was originally recorded in 2008, 10 years before Father Thomas Keating died on October 25, 2018, at the age of 95. We discussed in detail many little deaths that had occurred in his life, including a fire that occurred at his monastery, his resignation from being an abbot, and other events that Father Thomas called “invitations to greater and greater diminishment.” Surrendering and accepting these little deaths anchored Father Thomas in what he describes as a “boundless confidence with nothing to stand on.” We even discussed what Father Thomas imagined his own physical death would be like. His answer: “A plunge into the immensity of love, irresistibly.” Listening to this conversation afresh reminded me of how Father Thomas Keating is a truly great teacher of death and resurrection.