When I taught High School, tutored, coached, and taught Saturday school, my wife and I also had very opposite schedules. The little bit of time we did have together we were feverishly catching up. After Seminary I was still wrestling with a lot of theological questions, but my schedule, hectic as it was, seemed to prevent any kind of inner work. A prayer life was non-existent. Time to pray seemed like pure luxury, even on rare occasions when desire was there. I hadn’t yet learned the importance of saying no and burnout was looming.
Early on in college I had the good fortune to take a literature class taught by a contemplative practitioner. The college itself was a conservative one, but here was clearly someone with a different state of awareness. He didn’t seem particularly concerned about defending Christianity, or getting people to convert, or about revival on campus, or winning the city for Jesus.
With a gentle depth, he seemed more interested in whether people were moving toward wholeness than the brand of faith they were practicing, or even the fervor with which they practiced. With disarming graciousness, he was clearly present and interested in what his students had to say, though his education and intellect vastly surpassed ours. He was humble. Students experiencing a crisis of faith or elsewhere in their lives sensed in him a safe presence in which to confide.
When I first took up the practice of Centering Prayer, I was accompanying my wife on a week long study leave. We rented bikes and rode to the Monterey waterfront. We ordered crepes in a tiny French bistro. In the afternoons, she took time to study, pray, and plan for the upcoming season of pastoral duties.
Sounds great, right? And it was. But the return to the daily grind was looming. I had known for a long time I simply didn’t have the internal resources adequate to the life I was living. Enter Centering Prayer.
I spent the week immersing myself in the study and practice of Centering Prayer.
The core purpose of this site, my writing and teaching is to help overstretched working adults gain focus, vitality, and purpose in their spiritual journey, and ultimately to help them move toward wholeness and spiritual maturity.
One of the most direct ways of helping people along these lines is simply to share some of the practices I’ve gathered over the years, in studying the Christian mystics and contemporary teachers. More importantly, I’ve experienced the benefit of increased awareness and peace brought about by these simple exercises. I compiled these practices in a simple, structured format in A Little eBook of Contemplative Practices.
Ignatian Spirituality Workshop: Faith that Does Justice
March 21-May 2, 2016 (7 Sessions)
Monday nights from 6 pm-8:10 pm
Registration deadline is March 1st
Register online for the Ignatian Spirituality sessions.
|Date:||March 21, 2016—May 2, 2016|
|Event:||USD's Center for Christian Spirituality Presents: A Faith that Does Justice|
|Topic:||A Series in Ignatian Spirituality with Peter Gyves, SJ|
|Sponsor:||Center For Christian Spirituality|
|Venue:||University of San Diego, Maher Hall, Room 205|
|Registration:||Click here to register.|
One of the follow up assignments was for students to research the Eight Stages of Genocide, the first of which is classification. It’s here the violence begins, in our minds, as we label other people.
In so doing, we limit our ability to perceive those around us accurately. We rob them of their particularity, of their humanity. This can become more and more automatic as we age, since we learn to navigate the world through our categories.
As a little boy I was concerned for George Lucas’s eternal soul. In Sunday school a seven year old told me George Lucas actually believed in the force and that we should pray for him. So we did.
He needed to understand the Christ died for his sins and that he should repent and accept Jesus, so he could go to heaven like us.
I was six.
Sure, we watched the movies every chance we got, played with the action figures, and divided up roles on the playground, but we knew if you bought into it, this force mumbo jumbo could be extremely dangerous and put your soul at hazard.