Tools for Spiritual Living
Tools for Spiritual Living
Online and Onsite
Based on the rule of Benedict we divide the sessions into five practices Prayer, Work, Study, Hospitality and Renewal, and three vows Obedience, Stability, Conversion of Life.
Session One-He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.
Obedience-listening-learning to tune the heart to the whispers of the Holy.
All discipleship begins and is sustained by discernment. An essential practice of obedience is nurturing our ability to ‘hear’ the One who loves us and calls us by name.
This session is accompanied by an essay on Obedience, a guided meditation and a reflective project
(Suggested Text-Listening to Your Life-Parker Palmer)
Session Two-“Happy are those…Whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law they meditate day and night.
They are like trees planted by streams of water,
which yield their fruit in its season,”-Psalm 1
Stability-recognizing home and making a commitment to learn from the Spirit right where I am.
The Rule of Benedict is clear about the need for commitment to community and to place as a means of growth in the Spirit. What is encouraged in this vow of stability is that I recognize wherever I go, there I am. The geographic cure (moving location in order to effect change) does not work for long. It is in the deep long commitment to community, relationship and faith that we find true self.
This session is accompanied by an essay on Stability, a suggested practice of individual contemplative study and a reflective project
Practice-Contemplative Study (branching out to study the world around me)
(-Suggested Text-The Wisdom of Stability: Rooting Faith in a Mobile Culture-Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove)
Session Three-Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud,
be gracious to me and answer me!
“Come,” my heart says, “seek his face!”
Your face, Lord, do I seek.-Psalm 27
Conversion of Life-learning to perceive God’s invitation in the daily experiences of living.
Everyday is an opportunity for conversion.
When the community’s life is in good order, we are converted, and those who come to visit us are converted, by being in this climate of continuing exchange with God’s Word: not just conversion but an ongoing “conversation” between heaven and earth. We vow ourselves to that conversation, that climate, open to being changed by it day by day.-D. Barton (Geography of Discernment)
This session is accompanied by three examples and practices of Theological Reflection so that participants will be encouraged to take the stories of their lives and move them into the sacred stories of the scriptures. We engage in this practice to see opportunities of conversion in each day.
Practice-Theological Reflection and Work
Suggested Text-(The Hungering Dark-Frederick Buechner)
Session Four-As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved,
clothe yourselves with compassion,
kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.-Col 3:12
This session focuses upon the Beloved Community. Paul’s letter to the Colossians lets us know the spiritual virtues inherent in the Beloved Community. We will reflect upon and practice these virtues of compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience as a way of understanding Christian hospitality to one another and to the stranger and sojourner.
As we explore each virtue there will be a reflective writing and reflective practice with which to engage.
Practice-Hospitality of the Heart
Suggested Text- (Reaching Out-Henri Nouwen)
Session 5-I pray that… Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
This session explores the Three-fold path to enlightenment-Purgation, Illumination and Union as a map of the spiritual life. Using the work of the four previous sessions participants will reflect upon the way that God speaks with them and walks with them. As an outcome of this reflection each participant will create a Rule of Life to sustain and inform their on-going walk with Christ.
Practice-Creating a Rule of Life focused upon Renewal and Deepening of Faith practices.
Suggested Text-(Living Faith Day by Day-Farrington)
Each session is preceded by a guided meditation, and a reflective project delivered via email. Participants will be encouraged to deeply engage with the projects and share with each other at the on-site meetings. Each session includes two email offerings and two on-site meetings.