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A short guide to Spiritual Practices

 

A station of the cross from St. Andrew's. (See the monastery page.)

Attentiveness Various exercises help us quiet the noise in our heads that keep us from seeing all that is around us. Some focus on looking at one scene and progressively seeing more and more about a smaller and smaller part of it. The objective is to practice our attention to things beyond ourselves.

Prayer. Prayer should go beyond asking for things, but what is it exactly - a conversation, a confession? How should we look for prayer to be answered? Prayer can also be more than words, one can "pray the body," as well. The Lord's prayer deserves more intense study. The Psalms are a resource for shaping prayer. These are some of the topics for a course in prayer.

Devotional reading of scripture. Scripture can be read for rules of what to do, it can be read with an academic focus. These are valuable. But the act of reading scripture can be devotion and an exercise of sinking into the text to vanish the day to day world.

Contemplation of God In many parts of the Church, God is upset with our sins and we are to feel guilty about that, and seek forgiveness. This is a valid movement that addresses a real human situation. But God can also be attractive, beautiful, splendid. Contemplation of God seeks to become more aware of that attractive God.

Practicing dying. All our failures, setbacks, humiliations and losses are opportunities to practice dying. One day we will loose everything, die, and return to God. Then we will discover that we lost nothing. We can experience a bit of this before we die.


Last updated 11/28/03; © 2003 John P. Nordin