Ministering out of a deep center. Becoming a less anxious person. These are two reasons why I chose to accept an invitation to join the first cohort called Contemplative Minister’s Initiative organized by the Siburt Institute for Church Ministry at ACU and funded by generous private donors. Thank you for this truly life changing ministry! I am more than blessed to have been a part of this pioneer group.
To participate I had to agree to attend four (I had to miss one), three day retreats. So, I must thank my loving wife and kind elders for allowing me to be away. I just completed my last retreat at a Jesuit retreat center in Texas. We read from early church Fathers, discovered Ignatian spiritual exercises, and received instruction from contemplatives like Father Anthony and Randy Harris.
We practiced lectio divina, breathing, breath prayers, centering prayers, imaginative prayers, silence, and we received spiritual direction. We did these practices in solitude but mostly in community. Community is one of my most appreciated blessings that I received from this cohort. I have become friends with the ministers in my group.
The highlight of the week was taking part in a blessing ceremony (see pic above) where Randy Harris read a blessing over me written by one of my elders. I didn’t know this would be part of the program and it was a very moving and affirming experience.
I am no expert on these spiritual practices and have only begun this journey of the contemplative life. Yet, I see what God is doing in me.
I want to be spiritually prepared for anything that happens. I want to be pray-er in chief for the benefit of my congregation. I want to be a non-reactive, non-anxious person. This is something that only Christ through his Spirit can do.
So, here are some contemplative links. Enjoy!
- Into the Silent Land || Martin Laird
What Is Ignatian Spirituality? || IgnatianSpirituality.com, Loyola Press
PRAY21: A 21 Day Contemplative Prayer Guide || Jovan Barrington
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