COME AS YOU ARE…THAT’S HOW GOD LOVES YOU. Take ten minutes each day to simply allow God to love you.
Like setting a plant on a window sill to soak up the sun, we come before God to receive God’s love, healing and acceptance.
BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD
Listen to God when you pray, and tell God how the listening makes you feel.
Each person is a unique expression of God with his/her unique way of praying. Pray as you feel guided by God’s Spirit. Let the Spirit of God pray in you. (Rom 8:26-27)
Prayer is about loving friendship with God, so speak with Jesus as a best friend.
Paying attention to anything closely can lead to experience God and a deeper relationship with God. Notice something beautiful each day and adore God in it.
Prayer is meant to be an uncomplicated gesture of love.
Clinging to a specific understanding of God can inhibit genuine encounter with God. Perhaps God’s best name is SURPRISE.
Prayer is abiding (remaining) in God, like the vine and the branches (Jn 15:1-17).
The daily examen (review of the day) can be a powerful way to become more aware of God’s presence in our lives.
Be gentle with yourself. Loving your neighbor as yourself also means loving yourself as your neighbor.
Let go and let God.
If struggling in prayer, ask God for help (Lk 11:9-13).
If your soul is hungry, feed it beauty.
During prayer, there may be distracting thoughts or feelings. Rather than attempting to repress these distractions, it is often better to allow them to surface, to recognize them, name them, accept them and to let them go. Sometimes these distractions may resurface later precisely because God wishes to reveal something to us regarding them.
Two things are needed for spiritual growth – desire and prayer.
Allow enough time to become silent – to hear the small, quiet voice of God (1 Kg 19:11-13).
We encounter God not in the past, nor in the future, but in the present moment. Each day is another opportunity to encounter God, a new beginning.
- Christy Aydt (Hicks) (573-418-7373) E-mail: email@example.com. Christy is a married lay woman who has been ministering and companioning people for the last twenty years. She currently works in Campus Ministry at St. Louis University. Open to all who are interested in exploring their own faith journey, Christy sees every path as unique to the person. In 2010-2011, she spent a year in India and Nepal, and though her studies have been through the lens of Catholic-Christian faith and thought, she reverences the perspective and beauty that other faith traditions, people, and cultures share. Eastern spirituality and culture have gifted her with a more expansive image of God. Available to meet in person or via Zoom/online. Masters in Pastoral Ministry from the University of Dayton and a certificate in Spiritual Direction from the Aquinas Institute of Theology; trained in the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. Fee is on a sliding scale.
- Pat Bauer, SSND (314-779-9319) [St. Louis, 63139] E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; School Sister of Notre Dame. Retired high school teacher, experienced retreat and prayer guide, with background in Ignatian spirituality. Certificate in spiritual guidance from Siena Retreat Center in Racine, Wisconsin. Facilitates groups focused on Spirituality of Recovery from homelessness and addiction. Interested in guiding others to a deeper awareness and experience of God’s unconditional love, recognizing that everything in life is meant to move us forward.
- Robin Black-Rubenstein (618-406-5562) [Metro-East, Edwardsville 62025] E-mail: email@example.com; Married, Roman Catholic Laywoman with two adult daughters and two adult step-daughters. Director of Campus Ministry Southern Illinois University Edwardsville IL, Spiritual Director, Retreat Leader, Certified Grief Counselor. MA Pastoral Studies and MA Certificate Spiritual Direction Aquinas Institute of Theology, Certified Grief Counselor – American Academy of Grief Counseling. In listening to your story, we are listening together to how the divine is working in your life through people, nature, service, and self-knowledge. Available for Spiritual Direction, Grief Counseling, all faiths welcome, Metro-East and St. Louis area meeting in a location most suitable for your needs, or by phone and/or Skype. I am also available for retreats and speaking.
- Agnes Chawadi (314-699-5389) [Creve Coeur, 63146] E-mail:
firstname.lastname@example.org; I am a Catholic woman with 30 years of life as a religious nun, travelled 21 countries to assist parishes develop participatory structures for effective community building. Experienced in retreats, Eastern spirituality, spiritual direction, intuitive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and personally committed to God seeking. God has blessed me with gifts to help people move from fear based life to love as foundation of daily lived experience. I am interested in accompanying individuals and couples seeking to live life to the full and realize, “Our only desire and our one choice is: I want and I choose what better leads to God’s deepening life in me.” – From the Principle and Foundation written by St. Ignatius Loyola (paraphrased by David L. Fleming, S.J.) Spiritual direction is an opportunity to learn from the Holy Spirit, how to sharpen our human skills and manage inner life. In doing so we will be able to free our divine light to shine to its full potential.
- Nicholas Cook (314-239-2725) [Creve Coeur] E-email: email@example.com; Nicholas is a certified Spiritual Director. He has a background in working with various ministries with people of all ages: middle school through retired adult age; one current ministry Nicholas is involved with is as a prayer minister through the Catholic Renewal Center. He currently teaches Theology and Personal Finance part-time at high school. Nicholas also has taught classes on a Biblical understanding of money and currently teaches personal finance through an online-educational platform he created called Money 101 Academy. He has Philosophy and Business Finance degrees, as well as a Master’s Degree in Education and partial completion of a Master’s in Theology. Several years ago, he was a seminarian discerning a call to the priesthood. He has about 20 years of experience in receiving spiritual direction and participating in retreats; he also has a background in both Ignatian and Benedictine spirituality. Today, Nicholas enjoys talking and working with people of all faith backgrounds.
- Dr. Devoree Crist (314-962-1031) [Webster Groves, 63119] E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; website: http://spiritualdirectioninwg.net; Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) with Roman Catholic roots. Married woman with two adult children who is experienced with and welcomes persons of diverse backgrounds and faiths. Has been blessed to walk with clergy, young adults, older adults, and couples. Ministry is accompanying those desiring a closer relationship with God, discovering ways to recognize, savor and grow from encounters with the Sacred and exploring how we can become more aware of the Holy in all aspects of life. Special interests include liturgy (ritual), art, music, and writing. Masters of Theological Studies from Eden Theological Seminary, Certificate in Spiritual Direction from Aquinas Institute of Theology, and a Doctor of Medicine from Washington University School of Medicine (retired).
- Shawnessey Custer E-mail: email@example.com; website: www.jungiantransformation.com. M. Div, M.A., PLPC and a Diploma Candidate and Jungian Analyst in Training in Zurich, Switzerland. She graduated with an M. Div. and Certificate of Spiritual Direction from Aquinas Institute of Theology and served as a Pastoral Associate, Hospital Chaplain and 17 years as a Spiritual Director prior to her training as a psychotherapist and Jungian psychoanalyst. Her experience and training allow her to merge a concern for mental health and wellbeing with a sensitivity to spiritual growth and development. She treats symptoms related to depression, anxiety, compulsion, grief and loss as well as chronic and/or life-threatening illness. She is also trained to work psychologically and carefully with dreams. Shawnessey has the ability to create professional partnerships with Spiritual Directors as they seek psychological health and wholeness for their directees. Currently, she meets clients only on Telehealth from her office in Switzerland.
- Kathleen Davis (314-575-7363) [Kirkwood, 63122] E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Kathleen is a Spiritual Director and Retreat Leader. Her Master’s degree and formation from Aquinas Institute of Theology ground her in the search for Truth. As a Director, she delights in meeting each individual just as they are, and honors their unique connection with the Holy. Kathleen’s retreats and lectures encompass a wide range of spiritual topics, including the wisdom of the mystics, feminist spirituality and our Incarnational Reality. Available to meet in person or via video chat.
- Erin Duffy-Burke (847-975-2972) [St. Louis, 63118] E-mail: email@example.com; website: www.erinduffy-burke.com. Erin was raised and educated in the Roman Catholic lineage; today she finds herself in the spiritually innovative intersections of catholic christianity, shamanic practice, yoga, embodiment, decolonization and spiritual activism. She is a priestess and minister of Sophia Christ and is especially interested in the way the Divine Feminine is incarnating in our world today. She considers it a great honor and privilege to serve as a midwife of the soul, to walk with those seeking deeper relationship with the One who gives all life and love. She is amazed at what happens when two gather to attune to the movements of the “golden thread” — the weaving of the Divine in our human life. She is an experienced minister and soul companion, in service to God’s beloved ones for over fifteen years now. Her call is to religious folx as well as those recovering from religion; to the spiritual but not religious; the secular seekers; the meaning makers; sacred activists and nones. She holds an M.Ed. from the University of Notre Dame, an MA in Multicultural Ministry from the Franciscan School of Theology, and an MA in Christian Spirituality from the Graduate Theological Union, certificates in yoga therapy, Reiki level 2, and Embodied Transformation and is a member of Spiritual Directors International.
- Mary Flick, CSJ (314-952-5581) [St. Louis, 63111] Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; A Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet, Mary currently serves as formation coordinator for St. Joseph Educational Ministries and as justice coordinator for the CSJs’ St. Louis province. She earned a certificate in spiritual direction from Aquinas Institute of Theology. Mary has a passion for things Ignatian and is a speaker on Ignatian spirituality, prayer and discernment. She is interested in encouraging others to develop a mutual relationship with an ever-faithful God.
- Steve Givens (314-401-2072) [Creve Coeur, 63146] E-mail: email@example.com; website: www.givenscreative.com; A Catholic married father of two adult children, I earned a certificate in Spiritual Direction from Aquinas Institute of Theology. I am a widely published author on Catholic-Christian spirituality and prayer and have an ecumenical heart and outlook on the Church. I have a great interest in the intersection of faith and creativity and a passion for working with artists, writers and other creative individuals. A survivor of a rare blood disease and author of “Embraced by God: Facing Chemotherapy with Faith,” I am also interested in working with those struggling with health issues. Available for workshops and retreats, as well as spiritual direction. Available in North County at Walter’s Walk Counseling in Hazelwood, in West County at my home or at Incarnate Word Parish in the Chesterfield/Creve Coeur area, or at the Aquinas Institute near the SLU campus. Also available to meet virtually.
- Vicki Harpring (314-609-9304) [Florissant, 63034] E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; I am a layperson from the Christian tradition who loves to journey with people to a deeper and meaningful relationship with the Divine. I have worked with people of several different traditions exploring the Spiritual realms dancing around us. I am blessed to be a wife, mother and grandmother. I have a degree in Pastoral Studies from Eden Seminary and a certificate in Spiritual Direction from Aquinas Institute of Theology. I retired from the nursing profession recently (though you never really retire from nursing). I look forward to expanding the Spiritual experience with you.
- Judith Hehl (314-835-1554) [Kirkwood, 63122] E-mail: email@example.com; Divorced/Widowed layperson, I see people in my home in Kirkwood (except during Covid-19 I meet on Zoom or other technology rather than my home). I have 4 children, 10 grandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren, all living out of state. I received Certification from Aquinas in St. Louis in 2002. Interested in 12 step and Eastern spirituality as well as Christian. I am able to listen deeply, with compassion and love, helping others explore the sacred ground of their lives. I believe that “God shows up disguised as your life” and will show us the “golden thread” to follow if we take the time to listen and look. Consider myself a midwife, more than a director.
- Bob Hoffman (314-791-3553) [Wildwood, MO 63038] E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Originally educated many years ago in the field of business, I bring this experience to my role as a spiritual guide. I am a husband, a father of six and experienced in both the adoption process and the raising of adopted children. I am experienced in 12-step programs, MBTI (Myers-Briggs), the Enneagram, mediation including family law and victim/offender dialogues, prison ministry, and several retreat programs including Bridges and CRHP. I have come to love nature and poetry in later years as a way to connect to the Divine. I believe that direction is about recognizing and loving God in our everyday lives and experiences. I was born and raised in St. Louis and consider myself very ecumenical. I graduated in May, 2022 with my master’s degree in pastoral studies at Aquinas Institute, having completed my certificate program in spiritual direction in August 2018. I generally meet directees at Mercy Center on Geyer Road or via Zoom. I do not charge for my time as a spiritual director, although gratuitous donations to charities such as Mercy Center, Aquinas Institute of Theology, or Eden Seminary are appreciated, but not expected at all.
- Madeleine Lane, SSND, MA, LMFT (314-963-9600) [Webster Groves, 63119] E-mail: email@example.com; Madeleine Lane is a School Sister of Notre Dame, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and has a Masters Degree in Spiritual Direction from Creighton University. Madeleine has served as a spiritual director since 1979 as well as retreat director, group facilitator, and workshop presenter. Madeleine has been an adjunct professor for Creighton University’s Spirituality Program and for Aquinas Institute. She has also served as a Training Instructor for Prayer Companions in the Bridges Program. As a Marriage and Family Therapist she offers counseling, specializing in grief ministry.
- Marian Love (314-496-6157) [Fenton, 63026; St. Louis, 63108] E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Roman Catholic married woman with two grown children and nine grandchildren. Experienced retreat and spiritual director, with background in Ignatian spirituality. Interested in guiding others to be more reflective of life, God’s presence and movements within it, and one’s response to these movements. Holds a Masters in Pastoral Studies and a Spiritual Direction Certificate from Aquinas Institute of Theology.
- Jo Ludwig (314-805-1702) [Dardenne Prairie, 63368] E-mail: KJLCSTL@aol.com; Happily married and mother of two adult women. Experience with healing and recovering from illness or traumas, including addictions. Educated at Aquinas Institute with Masters in Spiritual Direction (2009) and a Masters Degree in Professional Counseling (Lindenwood University 2011). Experience with multiple forms of prayer and spirituality. Ecumenically minded. Cultural diversity friendly in providing equality for all regardless of race, creed of beliefs, sexual orientation, or gender. Enjoys exploring the stories of people’s lives in their walk with our great God. Background in health care as a pharmacist.
- Cindy Mackey (618-741-8075) [Fairview Heights, IL 62208] E-mail: email@example.com; Catholic laywoman, married with one grown daughter. Masters of Theology and Certification in Spiritual Direction from Aquinas Institute of Theology. Background in teaching, coaching, and military service. Experienced spiritual director and retreat leader. Passionate about serving others of all ages, all backgrounds, and all who seek a life more fully present to God and others. Willing to do spiritual direction via Skype or FaceTime.
- Maureen Martin, ASCJ (203-606-9105) [St. Louis, 63018] E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Catholic sister, Apostle of the Sacred Heart of Jesus has a Graduate certificate in Spiritual Direction from Aquinas Institute in St. Louis. Sr. Maureen is experienced in directing women and young adults offering caring, compassionate listening and prayerful response as God’s Spirit fosters deep insight and personal courage to discover new directions. She currently also ministers to young parents focused on sharing faith in their families as they personally strive to grow in holiness.
- Jane McKinney (618-978-9608) [Edwardsville, IL 62025] E-mail: email@example.com; Christian; ordained in Pastoral Ministry; retired R.N. and hospital chaplain; Aquinas Institute Graduate with Master’s in Pastoral Studies; Certificate in Spiritual Direction from Institute for Spiritual Leadership, Chicago. Widowed, mother of two grown children, two grandchildren. Compassionate listening as one navigates his/her spiritual path seeking a deeper awareness of God in all things.
- Joan Moorhem, SSND, MA (314 845-1571) [St. Louis] E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Extensive experience in university education (Japan); human services (USA); and spiritual direction/retreat guidance. Trained in Ignatian spirituality, but comfortable with other traditions as well, including Eastern meditation. For me, spiritual companioning means walking with and reflecting with another as (s)he seeks to recognize and live more deeply God’s Spirit in her/his daily life. My core belief is that “the glory of God is the human person fully alive.” I am available for spiritual companioning in my home.
- Janet Nimer (636-227-0772) [Ballwin, 63011] E-mail: email@example.com; Roman Catholic married laywoman, mother and grandmother; active in both Bridges and in one on one spiritual companioning. My hope is to assist others in fostering a contemplative approach to life; helping them to recognize their life experiences as the HOLY GROUND through which the Divine is encountered.
- Helen Adaku Ogbuji, CCVI, Ph.D, (314-702-3474) Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; (Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word). Sr. Helen is a Spiritual Director with background and experience in Ignatian/Incarnational Spirituality. Her M.A/M.Div. is from Aquinas Institute of Theology, STL; Ph.D/M.A in Counselling Psychology, (Business University of Costa Rica); a certificate in Spiritual Direction and Retreat Leader (Hekima University College, Kenya), a Jesuit College; a certificate in Formation Program; and a certificate in Advance Psychodynamic Psychotherapy from St. Louis Psychoanalytic Institute. She is an author of two books on the ministry of reconciliation and domestic abuse and how to read and understand the Scripture from a child-like perspective. She is experienced in directing young adults who are discerning God’s call in their lives by offering them a compassionate listening heart. Grounded in theology and counselling skills, she is interested in accompanying those who desire a closer relationship with God to discover the Divine within as they make their spiritual journey. Available to meet in person or virtually.
- Sean O’Rourke (618-975-3937) [St. Louis, 63105] Email: email@example.com; I am a Roman Catholic layperson involved in university ministry. I hope to create an environment of deep listening, non-judgement, and encouragement that enables directees to respond to God’s love with freedom and creativity. I have worked with young adults and individuals who are incarcerated, but am open to working with anyone who is interested in deepening their relationship with God and others. Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies and a certificate in Spiritual Direction from Aquinas Institute of Theology.
- Honora Remes, DC (314-873-1131) [Maryland Heights, 63043] E-mail: Honora.Remes@doc.org; Daughter of Charity and a seasoned Spiritual Director with certification from the New Orleans Archdiocesan Spirituality Center as well as receiving her MA in Christian Spirituality from Creighton University, in spiritual direction. She is experienced in on-going direction, 8-day retreats, the 19th Annotation, Ignatian spirituality, Enneagram wisdom and dream work. Available also by Skype or Zoom. I live in Maryland Heights, MO.
- David Sandel (217-377-2298) [Champaign-Urbana, IL 61801 and Austin, TX 78759] E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Christian counselor and minister (Christian Church/Church of Christ). Certificate in spiritual direction from Chiara Center, Springfield, Illinois. Trained in interpreting the Enneagram and Myers-Briggs Type Inventory. Margaret and I have three grown children. We lead couples retreats focused on Sabbath and spiritual practices, and meet individuals in our home office or by zoom/phone/facetime etc. Lots of experience with clergy, students and couples. Focus on prayer – including lectio divina, conversational prayer, contemplative prayer, worship, healing touch, and laughter.
- Margaret Sandel ((217-344-2436) [Champaign-Urbana, IL 61801 and Austin, TX 78759] Email: email@example.com; retired teacher, former prayer minister with Vineyard Christian Fellowship, volunteer counselor at Hope Center in Urbana. Certificate in spiritual direction from Chiara Center, Springfield, Illinois. Trained in interpreting the Enneagram and in administering the SYMBIS Pre-Marriage Assessment. David and I lead couples retreats focused on Sabbath and spiritual practices. We have three grown children and four grandchildren. We meet individuals in our home office or zoom/phone/facetime etc. Focus on listening to God together, opening ourselves to God’s healing, prophetic prayer, second half of life – and the dark night, dreams, and worship.
- Lorraine Senci (618-604-1891) [Troy, IL 62294] E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Married Catholic laywoman who is a mother and grandmother. Feels blessed to companion others on their faith journey by offering compassionate listening, gently accompanying directees who desire to become more aware of God’s presence in the conversations, events and relationships of daily life. Completed a master’s degree in pastoral studies and the graduate certificate in spiritual direction program from Aquinas Institute of Theology. Serves in parish ministry as a pastoral care associate.
- Lucia Signorelli (314-323-0209) [Creve Couer, 63146]. E-mail: email@example.com; Compassionate listener to another’s sacred story of how God draws him/her to the fullness of love. Companion and guide in exploring, finding, and responding to God’s love revealed in all things. Certified in spiritual direction from Aquinas Institute. Life-time ministry in education. Experienced in coaching, retreat work, and faith formation. My faith tradition is Roman Catholic and I am open to all who sincerely seek God in their everyday life experiences. Meets seekers at Incarnate Word Parish in Chesterfield or on most any virtual platform such as Zoom, Google Chat.
- Scott Sparks (314-517-0770) [St. Louis, 63146]. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Involved in several ministries including, Secular Franciscan Order, Knights of Columbus, Jonah Prayer Ministry, and retreat leadership. Special interests include Franciscan spirituality, contemplative prayer, addiction recovery, healing/deliverance, charisms, formation/consecration, and discernment of spirits. Graduate of Aquinas Institute of Theology and a member of Spiritual Directors International and the American Association of Christian Counselors. Mission: To be a companion of those on the spiritual journey of growing closer to God by listening for God’s call and asking questions that help articulate what is happening and formulate a response. Open to all spiritual backgrounds.
- Catherine Swanstrom (314-960-1725) [St. Louis, 63108]. E-mail: email@example.com; Contemplative lay apostle available for regular spiritual accompaniment and retreats offering accompaniment in the spiritual journey where you are, as you are. Welcomes believers and seekers of all ages. Drawn to the Ignatian and Carmelite ways of praying. Catholic in tradition and welcoming to companion all faiths. Trained in spiritual direction at Aquinas Institute of Theology. Currently in the Dynamics of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius with Bridges St. Louis. Has lead contemplative prayer circle in jail ministry. Holds a BA from Loyola University, New Orleans, and a MA from Saint Louis University. Taught French and Theology in Sacred Heart Network Schools around the U.S. for twenty years. Special interests include Scripture, spiritual letter writing, art, and watercolor, and language. Lived in a religious congregation in her early twenties. Welcomes English and French-speaking spiritual companions. A member of Spiritual Directors International. Welcomes meeting in person in St. Louis, or on Zoom or by phone. Married and has two young adult daughters.
- William (Bill) Yarbrough (404-326-1917) [Columbia, Mo, 65202] E-mail:
firstname.lastname@example.org; Serving diverse traditions, Bill is married, a parent, grandparent, coach, mentor, trainer, spiritual director and leads group or private retreats. In Spiritual Direction, Bill is deeply committed to creating safe and sacred spaces for directees. Bill desires that directees experience God’s presence, freedom, and their own feelings and serves to foster listening, exploration, and discovery, all bathed in God’s promises and the expectancy of personal, community, and global transformation. Bill holds MDiv/DMin degrees from Covenant Theological Seminary, a certificate in Spiritual Direction from Aquinas Institute of Theology, and a certificate in Franciscan Studies from the University of St. Francis in Joliet, IL.
The Active Life: A Spirituality of Work, Creativity, and Caring by Parker J. Palmer, 1999
The author explores spirituality for busy lives. Using stories from a variety of religious traditions, including Taoist, Jewish, and Christian, Palmer shows that the spiritual life does not mean abandoning the world but engaging in it more deeply through life-giving action. Palmer shows us how the problems and potentials of the active life reveal to us much about ourselves, the world, and God.
Active Meditations for Contemplative Prayer by Thomas Keating, OCSO, 2007
He defines contemplative prayer as “The development of one’s relationship with Christ to the point of communing beyond words, thoughts, feelings, and the multiplication of particular acts. It is a process that moves from the simplified activity of waiting upon God to the predominance of the Gifts of the Spirit as the source of one’s prayer.”
Armchair Mystic: Easing into Contemplative Prayer by Mark E. Thibodeaux SJ, 2001
This book is a very helpful, engaging introduction to prayer as a personal relationship. The author gives many examples and suggestions that are down to earth, honest and easy to understand. This book combines both theory and practice to gently guide the reader through the first steps of contemplative prayer.
The Awakened Heart: Opening Yourself to the Love You Need by Gerald May, 1993
May addresses the problems faced by all who deny themselves loving relationships with others and with God by the compulsive drive for efficiency, recognition and success. He draws on the wisdom of biblical prophets as well as philosophers and wisdom figures such as St. Francis de Sales, Teresa of Avila, William Blake, Martin Buber and Thomas Kelly. May gives considerable attention to the techniques, disciplines and pitfalls inherent in developing a faithful prayer life.
Becoming Who You Are: Insights on the True Self from Thomas Merton and Other Saints by James, Martin, SJ, 2006
The author gives personal examples from his life and reflects on the inspirational life and writings of holy men and women, including Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen, Therese of Lisieux and Pope John XXIII. Helps each of us to see how becoming who you are and the person God has created is a simple path to happiness, peace of mind, and holiness.
Beginning Contemplative Prayer: Out of Chaos into Quiet by Kathryn J. Hermes, FSP, 2009
Sr. Katherine Hermes draws from the writings and teachings of spiritual giants such as Ignatius of Loyola, Brother Lawrence, Julian of Norwich and from classic texts such as the Cloud of Unknowing to gently guide the reader through the steps of drawing closer to God. Each chapter provides step by step exercises to guide and draw the reader to contemplative prayer.
The Better Part: Stages of Contemplative Living by Thomas Keating, OSCO, 2007
A wonderful orientation to centering prayer and its fruits. Father Keating, leader of the Centering Prayer movement, understands the contemplative and prayerful life as a form of participation in the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus, and his book is both a graceful description of that life and a how-to.
Can You Drink the Cup by Henri Nouwen, 2006
The cup is the symbol of life, filled with sorrows and joys that we can hold. Lift and drink to the bottom as a blessing and a way to our unique freedom and salvation.
Christian Meditation: Experiencing the Presence of God by James Finley, 2004
Written by a former Trappist monk who studied closely with Thomas Merton, this book offers a simple and clear explanation of the ancient practice of meditation. Not only a source for learning, I found this book to offer encouragement for the spiritual life and enflamement of my yearning for God.
The Circle of Life: The Heart’s Journey Through the Seasons by Joyce Rupp and Macrina Wiederkehr, 2005
This book explores the relationships between the seasons of the earth and the seasons of our lives, and helps us discover stepping stones along the path of the great circle of life which is our journey. We are invited to connect with experiences of the unfolding seasons with our spiritual growth and movement, and to know the presence of God in the midst of them all.
Comfortable with Uncertainty: 108 Teachings on Cultivating Fearlessness and Compassion by Pema Chodron, 2003
108 brief reflections in “stand alone form,” so the chapters can be used according to theme, such as “Hope and Fear,” “The Empty Boat, etc. Many of the reflections are rooted in Pema’s practice of Tibetan Buddhism, but are helpful to any spiritual seeker.
Discernment: A Path to Spiritual Awakening by Rose Mary Dougherty, SSND, 2009
This little book is the gift of a discerning heart who offers both practical and inspirational wisdom to those who would live a discerning life.
The Discernment of Spirits: The Ignatian Guide for Everyday Living by Timothy M. Gallagher, OMV, 2005
This is written primarily for directors and guides. He shows the precision, clarity and insight for Ignatius’ rules; and why Ignatius is still important today.
Everyday Sacred: Meditations and Paintings to Inspire Reflection and Prayer by Clarence Heller, 2010
A remarkable collection of words and images that remind us of the presence of God in each moment. This lively book of poetry, prayers, and paintings will engage your heart and open your spiritual senses. The result is a feast of love for the senses and the soul.
Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer by Richard Rohr, OFM, 2003
Amidst the conflicting values in which we live, the author leads us through parables and personal experiences to a new way of seeing life, and to a place of contemplation.
Experiencing God’s Tremendous Love: Entering Into Relational Prayer by Maureen Conroy, RSM, 2009
A deeper personal relationship with God requires not only belief in a loving God, but the experience of that love on a feeling level. This book guides the reader in discovering, entering into, and experiencing God’s tremendous love. Prayer exercises at the end of each chapter provide practical ways for the reader to enter into this deeper relationship. Available through The Upper Room Spiritual Center.
Fruits and Gifts of the Spirit by Thomas Keating, OCSO, 2007
Keating argues that the spiritual journey is a gradual process of enlarging our emotional, mental, and physical relationship with the divine reality present in us. He discusses the fruits and gifts of the Spirit, but then relates them to the practices of contemplative prayer and living.
The Gift of Being Yourself: The Sacred Call to Self-Discovery by David G. Brenner, 2004
Knowing God and knowing our deepest, truest selves go hand in hand. This book discusses how we may discover who God has called us to become, each a unique gift to the world. The book also explains how we mask our true identities through the false self. Finally, it provides practical suggestions for prayer that will lead us to deepening our knowledge and acceptance of both our truest selves and God.
God and You: Prayer as a Personal Relationship by William A. Barry, SJ, 1988
This book maintains that prayer is first and foremost a personal relationship and that fruitful prayer is that which builds upon and enhances relationship. It shows us how we can develop an intimate relationship with the Lord and provides various methods of prayer that will deepen our friendship with Christ Jesus.
God First Loved Us: The Challenge of Accepting Unconditional Love by Anthony F. Campbell, SJ, 2001
This book begins with the premise that most believers have not taken the notion of God’s unconditional love seriously. Love that is truly unconditional can never be withdrawn or withheld. This is a book of great wisdom, written simply, directly and humanly by a scholar and theologian.
The God Who Won’t Let Go by Peter van Breeman, SJ, 2001
I have been reading this book for over three years. I keep going back to it because it is so deep and rich in reflections on the consistent, permanent love of God. The author writes about forgiveness, mercy, compassion, and resurrection. The book also has a meditation on the 10 Commandments that is very meaningful.
Good Goats: Healing Our Image of God by Sheila, Dennis and Matthew Linn, 1994
We become like the God we adore. What if our God is shaming and abusive? We are then likely to shame and abuse ourselves and others. One of the easiest ways to heal ourselves is to heal our image of God so that we know a God who loves us at least as much as those who love us the most. Discusses whether God throws us into hell or otherwise vengefully punishes us, and the role of free will. Includes a question and answer section that gives the theological and scriptural foundation for the main text.
Hearts on Fire: Praying with the Jesuits by Michael Harter, SJ, 2005
A beautiful little book full of prayers and poems about deepening an intimate personal relationship with Jesus.
A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life by Parker J. Palmer, 2009
The author speaks to our yearning to live congruent with our inner truth – in a world that is fragmented. Essential to this congruent life is learning to welcome the soul, and building communities and friendships that will support and sustain an integrated life. Palmer writes with intelligence, compassion, and an informed heart, often citing his own experience as valuable wisdom necessary for his growth.
The Holy Longing: The Search for a Christian Spirituality by Ronald Rolheiser, OMI, 1999
This book describes the emptiness in each person that can only be filled with God (the holy longing) and defines spirituality as how one chooses to live in response to that emptiness. The author is a Roman Catholic Priest and this book discusses foundational aspects of a Catholic (Christian) spirituality including private prayer life, social justice, mellowness of heart and communal worship. Other topics include incarnationality, the Paschal Mystery and sexuality.
Hope Will Find You: My Search for the Wisdom to Stop Waiting and Start Living by Rabbi Naomi Levy, 2010
The author shares her experiences of walking with others through life’s challenges as their spiritual leader along with sharing the difficult obstacles she has overcome. This book offers much down-to-earth wisdom, humor and hope.
How Big is Your God?: The Freedom to Experience the Divine by Paul Coutinho, SJ, 2007
A wonderfully written book, with short chapters, about our relationship with God. Do you know God or just know about God? Do you have a God without limits, or have you put God in a box with a sealed lid? These are some of the questions asked and answered in this gentle, affirming and thoughtful book.
Inner Compass: An Invitation to Ignatian Spirituality by Margaret Silf, 2007
Readers are invited to discover their individual selves and their relationship with God through prayer, discernment, and reflective living. Written as an introduction to the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola, this book can be helpful to newcomers to Ignatian Spirituality as well as those quite familiar with the Spiritual Exercises.
Just As You Are: Opening Your Life to the Infinite Love of God by Paul Coutinho, SJ, 2009
Paul further develops the orientation captured in How Big Is Your God. Part I explores how God has pursued human beings to experience His presence and action and love; Part II explores human response options to God’s pursuit. Wonderful, thought-provoking, with powerful encouragement to dare to love.
Kitchen Table Wisdom, Stories that Heal by Rachel Naomi Remen, 2006
These readings explore life through everyday experiences of life force, judgment, traps, freedom, opening the heart embracing live, live and help live, knowing God in addition to mystery and awe. In each of these nine categories, Rachel unfolds for the reader an experience in her own life which gifts the reader with gems of wisdom in one’s own life and perhaps in the lives of others.
Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World by Henri Nouwen, 2002
This book was originally written to help a young Jewish friend cope with his agnosticism. The book did seem to help the friend, but Christian friends of Fr. Nouwen urged him to publish the book anyway. It has proven helpful for many Christian readers.
May I Have This Dance? by Joyce Rupp, OSM, 2007
Rupp shows us that prayer is a dance with the Divine, a joyous and hope-filled experience. Organized on a monthly basis, this book explores twelve major themes, each one followed by prayer suggestions.
My Grandfather’s Blessings, Stories of Strength, Refuge and Belonging by Rachel Naomi Remen, 2001
The author shares life experiences through readings of brief story and spiritual nourishment. Through these stories, a table of attentive openness and invitation is spread for the reader. The meaning of strength, refuge and belonging exceeds one set of beliefs, encompassing life and living.
My Life with the Saints by James Martin, SJ, 2007
Martin’s memoir is wonderful, for it is testimony of the power of the saints in his own life. Very readable and with many subtle references to Ignatian spirituality interwoven, the book is a great resource for those whose spirituality is affirmed in learning about that of others.
Open Mind, Open Heart by Thomas Keating, OCSO, 2006 (Twentieth anniversary edition)
Perhaps the classic book regarding centering prayer. Anyone interested in centering prayer would do well to read this book.
Perseverance by Margaret J. Wheatley, 2010
In these 153 pages packed with a response to the powerful and wise words from the Elders of the Hopi Nation in June of 2000. She receives and responds to each part of these wise words with a myriad of images, quotes, questions, poems, song lyrics as well as her reflection upon them. It is a powerful, guiding book!
Poverty of Spirit by Johannes Metz, 1998
A classic, easy to read work describing how the primary call of all humans is to rely not upon ourselves, but rather to rely completely upon God, and how Jesus perfectly fulfilled this calling.
Prayer by Joyce Rupp, OSM, 2007
The best book I have ever read about prayer. In this book, Joyce Rupp gives each of us affirmation and encouragement that what happens during our prayer often changes very slowly. At times we all have expectations, resistance, breakthroughs, ordinariness and revelations. One of my favorite lines from her book is “Prayer is meant to be an uncomplicated gesture of love.”
Psalms for Praying: An Invitation to Wholeness by Nan C. Merrill, 2006
This is a translation of the Psalms employing inclusive, gentle and contemporary language. For example, God is referred to as “My Beloved” and “Living Presence.” Quoting from Ps 143 “O Bringer of Joy, awaken my heart; pour your love and blessings through all my being! Free me from attachments and desire, that I may become a clear mirror, reflecting your love to the world.”
Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life with the Heart of a Buddha by Tara Brach, 2004
Writing with great warmth and clarity, Tara Brach brings her teachings alive through personal stories and case histories, fresh interpretations of Buddhist tales and guided meditations. Step by step, she shows how we can stop being at war with ourselves and begin to live fully every precious moment of our lives.
The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming by Henri Nouwen, 1994
A reflection of Rembrandt’s painting, The Return of the Prodigal Son. Identifying with each of the three main figures in the painting, Nouwen describes a fresh interpretation of a classic story.
Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal and Delight in Our Busy Lives by Wayne Muller, 2000
The author shows us how to create special times of rest, and renewal – a refuge for our souls. With wonderful stories, poems, and suggestions for practice, he teaches us how we can use this sacred time to refresh our bodies and minds, restore our creativity, and regain our birthright of inner happiness. The book is applicable to a broad range of faiths and a wide range of readers.
Scarred by Struggle, Transformed by Hope by Joan Cittister, OSB, 2005
A powerfully written, thoughtfully presented story that elevates the reader to explore how the challenges of life can be turned into hopeful ways of living. Based on her personal lived story. Wonderful for meditation.
At Sea with God: A Spiritual Guidebook to the Heart and Soul by Margaret Silf, 2008
Margaret Silf develops the image of life as a sea voyage to shed new light on the spiritual journey. The art of sailing life’s waters is explored with this delightful self-guided retreat. Her creative use of scripture, reflection questions, journal starters, and real-life seafaring wisdom enables readers to reflect on their experience with fresh insight. This gentle spiritual guidebook unites ancient spiritual practices with contemporary experience in a compassionate, enlightening manner that Christians of all faiths will appreciate.
Seasons of Your Heart: Prayers and Reflections by Macrina Wiederkehr, OSB, 1991
This is a delightful little book which is filled with everyday experiences of awe with the wonders of God. It is a meditation and prayer book which weds the holy seasons of the Church with images of walking barefoot in the grass, and other nostalgic memories.
Seven Sacred Pauses: Living Mindfully Through the Hours of the Day by Macrina Wiederkehr, OSB, 2008
For someone looking for a resource to help them organize their prayer life with a daily discipline, this is an inviting text. A plan that can cultivate a daily habit.
The Shack by Wm. Paul Young, 2007
A must read. What an engaging story of healing and the power of God’s love! This book will likely challenge and expand your image of a loving, Trinitarian God and invite you deeper into that intimate love relationship.
Sleeping with Bread: Holding What Gives You Life by Dennis Linn, Sheila Fabricant-Linn and Matthew Linn, 1995
The authors recommend that every night we review our day in light to two questions: “What was I most grateful for? What was I least grateful for?” As we become more aware of moments that bring gratitude, we can more clearly see where God is calling us, because God wants us to do more of what brings us gratitude and love. The real-life anecdotes and the authors’ experiences are very inspiring and they make Ignatian spirituality accessible.
The Soul Support Book by Deb Koffman, 2003
This is an unconventional little book full of cartoon-like frames that help in clarifying the ways we can respond, awaken, be, see, look at life and living! It’s delightful, and full of wisdom for our journey, both in reflection and in practice. Deb uses few words and many pictures to come at our lives from various angles and perspectives. Try it on for size.
Spirituality for Extroverts (And Tips for Those Who Love Them) by Nancy Reeves, 2008
Does prayer have to be silent? Does meditation have to be solemn? If I’m an extrovert, can I worship God? These are some of the questions that Nancy Reeves explores in this helpful, broadening book. This important book provides extroverts with ways of naming there own spirituality as well as introverts broadening their understanding of spirituality as beyond contemplative and quiet. A perspective needed for all!
The Spirituality of Imperfection: Storytelling and the Search for Meaning by Ernest Kurtz, Katherine Ketcham, 1993
I Am Not Perfect is a simple statement of profound truth, the first step toward understanding the human condition, for to deny your essential imperfection is to deny yourself and your own humanity. The spirituality of imperfection, steeped in the rich traditions of the Hebrew prophets and Greek thinkers, Buddhist sages and Christian disciples, is a message as timeless as it is timely.
Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living by Pema Chodron, 2001
This is a very helpful and hope-full book on spirituality, learning to love oneself “as is,” and nourishing the seeds of compassion. Pema encourages the reader to start (or continue) on the spiritual path rather than spending energy denying the painful parts of our past.
Taking Jesus Seriously: Buddhist Meditation for Christians by John Cowan (Mark Boyer), 2004
This book explains the practice of Vipassana meditation, but much more than that. It explains how some of the fundamental considerations in Buddhism (and other religions for that matter) such as delusion versus reality, desire, and surrender of ego are extremely relevant to the teachings of Jesus and an authentic Christian life.
Thirst: Poems by Mary Oliver, 2007
This beautiful book brings comfort, healing, and affirmation through God’s gift of the natural world. It was written in Oliver’s later years after her partner’s death, and in spite of the losses that inevitably come to all of us, is a lovely, quiet celebration of life.
Touching the Holy: Ordinariness, Self-Esteem and Friendship by Robert J. Wicks, 2007
This book emphasizes the importance of faithfulness to prayer – and makes a surprising and realistic suggestion for beginning.
Traits of a Healthy Spirituality by Melannie Svoboda, SND, 2005
Sr. Melannie describes twenty specific indicators of a healthy spirituality including traits such as: Joy, Courage, Friendship, Perseverance, Balance, Gratitude and Playfulness. Each indicator features a meditation, questions for reflection, and a closing prayer. These twenty traits are equally inspiring for experienced pray-ers as well as for those just beginning.
The Way of the Heart: Connecting with God Through Prayer, Wisdom and Silence by Henri Nouwen, 2003
This book explores solitude, and the experience of the Desert Fathers and Mothers in the early centuries after Christ. It acknowledges that modern men and women cannot repeat that experience, but offers other alternatives for achieving solitude, peace and prayerfulness in today’s world.
Wayfaring: A Gospel Journey in Everyday Life by Margaret Silf, 2009
Here is what the Publishers Weekly says: “Written with a direct candor and compelling blend of psychological and spiritual insight, (Wayfaring) should appeal to both prayer novices and experienced practitioners. Tim Muldoon refers to Margaret as “a latter day Julian of Norwich.” Let Silf take you on a gospel exploration.
What is Ignatian Spirituality? by David L. Fleming, SJ, 2008
This fine volume brings the reader new to the Ignatian tradition a clear way in and provides the more familiar practitioner valuable thoughts and clear insights flowing from the depth of Fr. Fleming’s experience as director, mentor and writer. A remarkable book.
When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times by Pema Chodron, 2008
Buddhist teachings on ways to use painful emotions to cultivate wisdom, compassion, and courage; ways to communicate that lead to openness and true intimacy with others; practices for reversing negative habitual patterns; methods for working with chaotic situations; and ways to cultivate compassionate, energetic social action.
- The Bridges Foundation is a St. Louis based non-profit organization that offers the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola in everyday life, as well as related programs.
- The Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which was founded in 1987 by Franciscan Father Richard Rohr. Here you can read articles by Richard Rohr, sign up for daily email meditations, and more.
- Contemplative Outreach is an organization that promotes centering prayer. On this website you can learn about upcoming workshops, programs, prayer groups and other resources.
- Creighton University Online. Wonderful meditations, the Spiritual Exercises and great links.
- Nouwen Society. Can sign up for daily meditation and weekly reflection e-letters.
- Ignatian Spirituality, a service of Loyola Press, a Jesuit Ministry. Prayer, spiritual direction, retreats and good decisions. Quite a comprehensive source for Ignatian Spirituality in today’s world.
- Loyola Press three minute retreat offers quiet music, scripture, a reflection and two questions that lead the pray-er into some quiet time.
- An inspirational interview with Fr. Greg Boyle, SJ, famous for his gang intervention programs in Los Angeles. Boyle makes winsome connections between service and delight, and compassion and awe. He heads Homeboy Industries, which employs former gang members in a constellation of businesses. This is not work of helping, he says, but of finding kinship. The point of Christian service, as he lives it, is about “our common calling to delight in one another.”
- British Jesuit website that provides music, scripture reading for the day, questions for personal reflection, and prayer. You can listen on your computer or download on your MP3 player.
- An invitation to make a “sacred space” in your day, to spend ten minutes, praying here and now, as you sit at your computer, with the help of on-screen guidance and scripture passage chosen specially each day.
- Unites States Catholic Bishops. Lists the Scripture readings (no reflections are provided) for any day you choose.
- A service of the Order of Preachers, offering audible daily reflections on the Christian scriptures. Preachers are drawn from the entire worldwide Dominican family–priests, brothers, sisters and lay people–all of whom are inspiring, theologically astute, dedicated to the Church and preaching the Good News, and acknowledged as excellent preachers. Reflections are also available via Podcast.
- Gratitude by Louie Schwartzberg, a ten minute TED presentation about the beauty in nature and our response of gratitude. “Let the gratefulness overflow into blessing all around you.”
- This will be the first of eight parts of a most beautiful preaching by Henri Nouwen. We are all the Beloved of God. We are all taken, blessed, broken and given. Well worth the time to watch all eight parts.
- Give Us This Day
- A monthly personal prayer periodical deeply rooted in the Catholic tradition, Give Us This Day supports your desire to establish prayer as a part of your life, enhancing your existing practices and deepening your encounter with God by providing: A practical approach to daily prayer; Prayers and readings for daily Mass; Daily prayer, Morning and Evening, and A reflection on the Scriptures for each day. Liturgical Press, P.O. Box 7500, Collegeville, MN 56321-7500, 800-858-5450, www.giveusthisday.org.
- Living Faith
- Daily Catholic Devotions is a quarterly booklet of daily reflections on one of the scripture readings from the day’s Mass. Some reflections are taken from published works by people like Fr. Henri Nouwen, Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa. Other reflections are written by regular contributors, including Sr. Joyce Rupp, Amy Welborn and Mitch Finley. Whether lay, clergy or religious, LIVING FAITH writers provide a variety of perspectives and insights. Since each devotion is a personal reflection on a Scripture passage from the day’s Mass readings, readers pray and meditate along with the seasons of the Church year. Living Faith, Daily Catholic Devotions, 1564 Fencorp Drive,
Fenton, MO 63026, 636-305-9777, www.livingfaith.com.
- The Magnificat
- Includes lectionary scripture passages, a meditation and some comment on the life of a saint for each day. Also includes morning and evening prayers and two options for prayers at night which are an examen of the day. Additionally includes articles appropriate for the month. Magnificat USA, P.O. Box 822, Yonkers, NY 10702, 866-273-5215, www.magnificat.net.
- Weavings – Journal of the Christian Spiritual Life
- It is published bimonthly. One topic is chosen for each issue. There are 4 or 5 articles written by a variety of people on the selected topic. www.weavings.org.
- The Word Among Us
- Includes daily meditations based on the lectionary scripture passages, inspirational essays and stories of the saints and other Christian heroes. The Word Among Us, 9639 Doctor Perry Road #126N, Ijamsville, MD 21754, 800-775-9673, wau.org.
- Carondelet Sisters of St. Joseph Provincal House
6400 Minnesota Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63111
- King’s House
700 N. 66th Street
Belleville, IL 62223
- La Salle Retreat Center
2101 Rue de La Salle
Glencoe in Wildwood, MO 63038
- Marianist Retreat and Conference Center
4000 Highway 109
PO Box 718
- Mercy Center
2039 N. Geyer Road
St. Louis, MO 63131
- Pallottine Renewal Center
15270 Old Halls Ferry Road
Florissant, MO 63034
- Toddhall Retreat Center
320 Todd Center Drive
Columbia, IL 62236
- Vision of Peace Hermitages
1000 Abbey Lane
PO Box 69
Pevely, MO 63070
- White House
7400 Christopher Drive
St. Louis, MO 63129
Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:21-2)
That evening, at sundown, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons. And the whole city was gathered around the door. And he cured many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him. In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. And Simon and his companions hunted for him. When they found him, they said to him, “Everyone is searching for you.” (Mark 1:32-7)
Once, when he was in one of the cities, there was a man covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he bowed with his face to the ground and begged him, “Lord, if you choose, you can make me clean.” Then Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, “I do choose. Be made clean.” Immediately the leprosy left him. And he ordered him to tell no one. “Go,” he said, “and show yourself to the priest, and, as Moses commanded, make an offering for your cleansing, for a testimony to them.” But now more than ever the word about Jesus spread abroad; many crowds would gather to hear him and to be cured of their diseases. But he would withdraw to deserted places and pray. (Luke 5:12-6)
Luke tells us that Jesus prayed the entire night before selecting the twelve apostles. “Now during those days he went out to the mountain to pray; and he spent the night in prayer to God. And when day came, he called his disciples and chose twelve of them, whom he also named apostles.” (Luke 6:12-3)
After the feeding of the five thousand, Jesus retreated to pray privately. “Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. After saying farewell to them, he went up on the mountain to pray.” (Mark 6:45-6)
Some of Jesus’ disciples were unable to heal a boy possessed with a demon, yet when Jesus arrived, he cast out the unclean spirit and the boy returned to health. “When he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, ‘Why could we not cast it out?’ He said to them, ‘This kind can come out only through prayer.’” (Mark 9:28-9) Jesus teaches “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous.” (Matthew 5:43-5)
Jesus also instructed “whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:5-6)
Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Grant me justice against my opponent.’ For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, ‘Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.’” And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. (Luke 18:1-8a)
He was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” He said to them, “When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us. And do not bring us to the time of trial.” And he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; for a friend of mine has arrived, and I have nothing to set before him.’ And he answers from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, at least because of his persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs. “So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:1-13)
In the morning as they passed by, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots. Then Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.” Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. Truly I tell you, if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and if you do not doubt in your heart, but believe that what you say will come to pass, it will be done for you. So I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.” (Mark 11:21-5)
Now about eight days after these sayings Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to him. They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and his companions were weighed down with sleep; but since they had stayed awake, they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. (Luke 9:28-32)
Jesus also prayed at the raising of Lazarus. “So they took away the stone. And Jesus looked upward and said, ‘Father, I thank you for having heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me.’ When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out!’” (John 11:41-3)
Knowing that Peter would betray him, Jesus prayed for Peter. “Simon, Simon, listen! Satan has demanded to sift all of you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your own faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22:31-2)
Jesus prayed that we may be joined with him through the Holy Spirit. “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you. I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.” (John 14:16-20)
Before entering the Mount of Olives and being betrayed, Jesus prayed for us. “After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, ‘Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed. I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them in your name that you have given me. I guarded them, and not one of them was lost except the one destined to be lost, so that the scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you, and I speak these things in the world so that they may have my joy made complete in themselves. I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one. They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth. I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.’” (John 17:1-26)
As Jesus struggled with his impending torture and death, he prayed. “Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, ‘Sit here while I go over there and pray.’ . . . And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want.’” (Matthew 26:36, 39)
May we accept more fully our beauty and belovedness.
May we live in the moment, each moment of each day.
May we come to see ourselves as God sees us.
May we continue to encounter God in ways and in circumstances that challenge, surprise and delight us.
May we be showered with the graces of empathy, forgiveness and freedom in all aspects of our lives.
May we cooperate with God’s goodness, patience, kindness, gentleness and generosity.
May the unique and special gifts of this retreat continue to nourish and strengthen us on our journeys.
And may we continue to blossom as flowers of God’s love.
We ask these blessings of our triune God: the God of ultimate mystery and boundless love, through Christ Jesus, in the Holy Spirit.