Spiritual Life Seminar.
This Sunday, May 1st, at 11:30 AM, in the Our Lady of Lourdes Parish Hall, we begin a new seminar on the Spiritual Life, which will continue for 11 weeks, through July 10th.
“Spiritual Life” refers to the entire Christian experience of spirituality – how to grow in relationship with our Lord, to become more like Christ and walk with him closely, daily. It includes the banality and difficulty of dealing with temptations, and the glory and uncertainty of spiritual experience. The spiritual life grounds life in the everyday practice of the Christian virtues, actively seeking conversion and growth in charity (love). The seminar will be an introductory overview of the whole path.
Our resource book is Introduction to the Spiritual Life, Walking the Path of Prayer with Jesus, by Brant Pitre, PhD (New York: Image, 2021). Brant Pitre, PhD, is the Distinguished Research Professor of Scripture at the Augustine Institute.
His book is recommended by his own bishop, Alfred C. Hughes, Archbishop Emeritus of New Orleans, who writes: “Pitre offers deep and inspiring insights into the realities of the spirituality of Christian discipleship. Anyone, lay or ordained, seeking to live Christian spirituality more fully will profit from a prayerful reading of this book.”
We use the book for background reading and as a springboard for discussion. The main points are highlighted in the seminar, and additional complementary materials are also added. The seminar includes much sharing and discussion. Anyone can participate whether they’ve read the book or not.
This well-written and easy-to-read book gives an overview of the spiritual life – stages, struggles, helps, and directions for the journey. Based on Scripture and teachings of the saints, the book gives what other technical and specialized books would call spiritual theology, ascetical theology, mystical theology, and/or moral theology. But the good thing about this book is that it is written in ordinary language that is easy to read, easy to understand. Any Christian can relate to what Dr. Petre presents.
It’s very hard to see where we are going in the world if we don’t have a map. That is even more true in the spiritual life! A map is a great help! Knowing where the traps and pitfalls are can save us years of misery! Blind GPS does not always give the best directions – better to know where you are supposed to be going before you drive off the cliff! This book, and our seminar discussions, will provide a map for us, an overview of what the Christian spiritual life is all about.
Dibby Green, MA in Theology from the Augustine Institute, will lead the discussions, raise questions, give pointers from the chapter, and augment with additional resources. Contact Dibby if you have questions.
Our first session on Sunday May 1st will review the first three short chapters on Prayer: Vocal Prayer, Meditation, and Contemplation. What are these different general categories of prayer? How is Christian meditation (or mental prayer) profoundly different from the various Eastern practices of meditation? We’ll also look at the Hebrew background of prayer, and what Christian prayer is. We’ll briefly introduce praying with the Scriptures (with more later on in the seminar.) This basic introduction on prayer will undergird the entire 11-week Spiritual Life Seminar.
All are welcome, Catholic and other Christians. Again, reading the book is optional. The seminar is an hour and a half, and then stay for refreshments and fellowship.