I know most people on my flist aren't that in to religion, but I do work for the church, and my time living in the monastery was the most meaningful thing I have ever experienced, so please excuse my enthusiasm for this side of things. It is where my musings tend to lead...
Reading has taken an upturn. I finally finished 'The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything' by James Martin s.j. I am now starting on another Ignatian book, 'Inner Compass' by Margaret Silf. Am still reading the intro, but I like her writing voice. For the church book study we are reading 'God, Where Are You?' by Gerard Hughes, s.j. (author of 'God of Surprises'). So! It's all very Ignatian reading just now.
Hughes is writing about his experience attending a Jesuit school, and then joining the Jesuits and his time in the novitiate. Sounds all very severe and cold. He remained a Jesuit though, writing many books that were full of much spiritual wisdom, so I assume that his experience with the Jesuits is going to improve and time passes in the narritive.
Meanwhile, Martin and Silf (and Hughes also), are all into Ignatian spirituality and are wonderful at sharing its wisdom. I think times have changed a lot in society, and in the church as well.
Another Ignatian connection: The sisters at Taize, who took care of me when I was a volunteer there, were Ignatian. And it is thanks so much to their spiritual direction that I had my life-changing experience of God - a God who is closer to me than I am to myself.
So, I am truly grateful to Ignatian spirituality. I was wondering about that, actually. I am a fully-professed Franciscan Tertiary, but if I could choose again, would I align myself with Francis over Ignatius now? But then I thought of Pope Francis and how his demonstration of such a Franciscan spirit is so inspiring and relevant to our times, and I realised I can love Ignatian spirituality while still feeling aligned with Franciscan values. Plus, I then remembered, Pope Francis is a Jesuit! Hah. A helpful little message there.
And then there is the chap, who has a fondness for Benedictine spirituality. Ahh, what a pair we make.
I really need to organise another Franciscan gathering. I am meant to be the area convenor, but I am so nervous of asking too much of the members down here, most of whom are quite old now, that I am always reluctant to organise a gathering. Silly really, they would probably all love it. I do miss our monthly gatherings up in Newcastle.
But I am finding quite a sense of community in reading. All these Ignatian books on top of each other is giving me a sense of being surrounded by others of Ignatian spirituality. That is a beautiful thing. Books are amazing. I love books.
Speaking of communiy, when I was in high school, my dream was to one day own a castle. My reason for this, I have realised in hindsight, was not for the building (romantic as it would have been), but because in all my fanstasy novels with castles there was a community life around a castle. Squires and knights and stablehands and cooks...
That's what I want, what I have always wanted, loved and valued. Community. Leaving school was hard for me because I lost a community. I wanted to be a teacher because I wanted to work in a community. Well, the church sure fulfills that requirement of a workplace. And I am soooo looking forward to living in community too - sharing a house with others. I just wish I could live with all my loved ones in our own little village. And I know so many people who are lonely and craving community in one way or another... I don't think we are meant to live like this - so separated. And the spirit of distrust that pervades these times doesn't much help. I want to live a different way - be unapologetically counter-cultural. I guess I can be a bit of a hippy. :P
In ethical news, I am doing Plastic Free July - where I am trying to avoid all single-use plastics for this month. I haven't managed entirely, but I have been really making an effort. It has been fun to buy cheddar in wax. And only chocolate in cardboard and biodegradable cellulose wrapping. Means I have to stop and more shops, and spend more money (since I am always buying the good brands), but I am appreciating what I am buying so much more. Peeling the wax from the cheese and then wrapping it in beeswax cloth to preserve it in the fridge instead of cling film... Buying blocks of butter instead of tubs. It is making me feel much more connected to the food and I love it! They said I wouldn't go back, and I think they were right! Oh, and today I made the most amazing salad with items from my veggie box, or that I bought from the store using my bamboo or net produce bags. So fun!
As much as theologically I don't think I would fit in with Mennonites or Hutterites, I do love the idea of their faith touching their whole way of life. For me, this ethical living and this community living is all a way of making my faith more than just an internal feeling. And boy, I am loving it. I don't want to go around converting everyone to some extreme take of faith, but I do want to be there for people who are looking for just such a holistic approach. A monastery for everyone.
I have been working more on my manuscript, Without Words, which is... I don't even know. A bit of a spiritual memoir, I guess. Goodness, revisiting some of that stuff now is amazing. Too look back at times when I was miserable and to see now how that fits into a story - and not just any story, but a life-changing story, a story that made my world come alive... To read back over my desolation now and to realise how much I value its place in my story...
Story.... so important...
But more of that next time...
- Current Location:the couch
- Current Mood: mellow