We understand that we are hard-wired to be in relationship with God and our theology tells us that God is active in our lives. Have you ever wondered how that happens? How God shows up? How we can be attentive to God’s presence? What helps us open ourselves to God?
These are all great questions and some which we explore in our book study on the book, The Mystic in You: Discovering a God-filled World. The author, Bruce Epperly defines a mystic as people who see holiness in everyday life. Wouldn’t you want to be one? Maybe you already are one?
Our conversation takes us into the world of people throughout the ages who have lived their lives this way and who can offer us insight and guidance. We looked at St. Francis of Assisi at our first session.
Here are the 4 practices offered for us to try, with St. Francis in mind —
Practice One: Finding God in the Nonhuman World
Recover reverence for life by meditating on Psalm 148, along with Francis’ Canticle to the Sun.
Breathe deeply the holiness of life. Let the air you breathe fill you with insight and energy and restore your sense of connection with all things. Take a beauty walk, opening your senses to God’s presence. Rejoice in the gifts of creation. Ask for God’s guidance in terms of how you might best respond to the crises of global climate change, species destruction, and economic and political upheaval.
Practice Two: A Gift to be Simple
Our faith calls us to simplify our lives so that others may simply live. Consider how to simplify your life. What do you need to pare away? In what ways can you live more simply? Where can you devote your resources to promote the well-being of the earth’s impoverished peoples? Consider the words from the Sermon on the Mount, along with Shaker hymn on a daily basis.
Practice Three: Welcoming People of Other Faiths
Observe your own and others’ prejudice toward persons of others faiths or no faith. In what ways do you show hospitality to the religious diversity in your community? What insights can you receive from persons of other faith traditions? Where can you contribute to reconciliation and healing among peoples of the earth? Take time to pray for people of other faith traditions, asking that they be blessed and you would discover your kinship with them.
Practice Four: Finding God in Unexpected Places
Make a commitment to reflect deeply on those who repel you. Ask God to help you see more deeply into their lives. Feast your eyes on humanity in all its variety. Look beyond appearances to see holiness in others. Listen to God speaking through their voices as you attune to god’s image within yourself and others. Pray the prayer attributed to St. Francis.
Please come to these sessions as we continue to explore and deepen our spirituality. The sessions are every other Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at Mother Barbara’s home. The evening includes dinner (6 p.m.) then discussion (7-8 p.m.).