The public events listed on the calendar include ecumenical and interfaith retreats, seminars, workshops, and four-day faith renewal events (Gospel Call). Among these, I have come to accord a special place to retreats and Gospel Call. In my perception, the most heat and light in the work for unity today is found in the area often called "spiritual ecumenism" wherein members of different churches and faith traditions discover and receive valuable spiritual gifts from each other's heritages.
The retreats generally envision people of Christian backgrounds and seek to open them to an experience of how all we hold in common in Christ is much broader and deeper than what still divides us. In the retreat setting, people are away from their customary preoccupations, their hearts and minds are open, they rest and relax, and new possibilities emerge. It is through sharing such time, space, and experience that people change their perceptions of one another and form new relationships. Some of the retreat themes are sufficiently universal to include both Christians and members of other world religions in a shared retreat experience.
I Together in Christ: Themes for reflection are: the biblical call to unity among the followers of Jesus; what we hold in common; learning from our differences; the importance of respect and trust; the role of the personal in ecumenical relations; contribution each of us can make to Christian unity; qualities needed for the journey; gifts to be received from other traditions of Christian faith as well as from other world religions.
II Cultivating a Holistic Spirituality: Daily morning and afternoon conferences focus on components of a holistic spirituality: Exercise and Play; Time with Friends; Recovering a Weekly Sabbath; Prayerful Presence in Daily Living; Service; Work; Creation and Creativity; Time Alone and in Community; Various Ways of Praying, and the Role of the Body in Prayer.
III Prayer of Heart and Body: An introduction to meditative prayer in the Christian tradition and to the role of the body in prayer. A devotional approach to meditation and to yoga postures linked in graceful, flowing movements to songprayers is taught as a way of anchoring one's practice in the soil of Christian faith and praying through the full expression of one's being.
IV Remember to Live! Awareness and acceptance of second-half of life realities like aging and health challenges can bring a clarity and richness to the limited, precious moments of life, and foster a special care for relationships and priorities. This retreat offers a faith-filled way of facing our finitude, of preparing for and integrating loss, whether of things or loved ones, all the while awakening us on a deeper level to the gift of life that is ours to live now.
V Pray All Ways: Contemplative living keeps our antennae up and receiver station open to the messages always coming from the Sender. Participants will learn and practice fresh approaches to meditation, to praying with the scriptures, with beads, with intercessions, with the daily examination of consciousness, with the body, to living with an awakened heart and to praying in all circumstances.
VI Taking Your Prayer to a Deeper Level: We will both open up the treasure chest of the history and theology of Christian contemplative prayer, and engage in its practice through a recovered manner of praying with the Scriptures known as lectio divina, as well as a morning and late-afternoon quiet sitting in Christian meditation/centering prayer.
VII Becoming Free: Based on archetypal themes in the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola, the daily program includes presentations on four steps to spiritual freedom--Know who you are; Live your calling to the full; Let go of results; Daily rededicate your life to God-- as well as time for personal reflection and inner work. The focus is not just on freedom from but on freedom for commitment and the inner liberty it brings.
VIII Lessons from the Mystics: The treasure trove of Christian mystical writings testifies that the mystic is one who is consciously immersed in the experience of God's closeness and love in daily living. We will explore major themes in the tradition and cross-reference characteristics of the mystics lives with our own.
IX Soul Fire: Accessing Your Creativity: The creative potential within us is one of the things that make us "in the image and likeness of God." The focus is on helping you identify your creative energy, overcome your insecurities, and connect with your chosen method of expression. The Creator has gifted you with creativity; your gift in return is to use it.
X Inspiration Near and Far: We're increasingly living in religiously plural communities. Is our response one of suspicion and fear, or one of dialogue and mutual enrichment? We will reflect on Catholic perspectives of other religions; learn about the various forms of dialogue; deepen our appreciation for what we share; and identify areas of mutual challenge and inspiration for our living. And through it all, we will see how one of the fruits of the interfaith encounter is often a deeper appreciation for what is distinctive about our own faith.
See Calendar page for information on Upcoming Retreats