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Yet another of my religiousy posts.

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...

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
nun_sense
Jul. 22nd, 2016 12:03 am (UTC)
I enjoy your posts, and wish there were more who would join in on writing posts about spiritual matters. But possibly it is because so many still equate spirituality with religion. Oh well........(sigh)

I did a bit of poking around online to see if there was an online community whose purpose was to write about spirituality......things of the heart and soul. Alas, I could not find any. That sort of surprised me.
french_rhubarb
Aug. 15th, 2016 03:04 pm (UTC)
I had a look around myself. I had thought I would find some message boards/forums or something. Goodness, facebook has changed the face of the internet. :/

Personally, I enjoy spiritual musings (and religious too, I must admit) so much that I don't understand that not everyone does!
haebin
Aug. 6th, 2016 04:15 pm (UTC)
I like to read your entries. I know, we don't know each other so good but I am a silent reader.
The point of this comment is the fact that I try to go back to church. I left the catholic church with 16 years. I felt always lost in our church. Being religious was always me being afraid of god. When we went to the church, our priest always talked about hell and sins and we have to pay for everything.
Other kids in our church bullied me and I lost my faith in the church. I always believed in something above us. I always believed in angels and in a life after death.
But I stepped back from the church.
My brother died two years ago and in all my grief, in all my pain, I started to pray again. I was angry with God. Angry, lost, infurious, heartbroken. But without those prayers I wouldn't have survived my brothers death.
I pray every day and often talk to him. I will never understand why my brother had to die but the thought of him being in heaven helps me a a little bit.

So yes, I like your entries about religion a lot and even when I don't comment everytime, I love to read your thoughts. Thank you for sharing. ♥
french_rhubarb
Aug. 15th, 2016 03:00 pm (UTC)
Thank you for your comment, haebin.
I'm sorry to hear that you felt lost in your church, and that it was hard both with bullying and with the message you got from church. Sometimes I feel I am still there in spite of people, rather than because of them.
I am glad to hear that you still find a sense of something more, even though the church hasn't been a support for you. Sometimes it is a matter of finding a congregation that suits you, but sometimes it is also a matter of stepping back and just giving yourself the freedom to find God on your own terms.
And I have found angry prayers at God have been some of my most honest prayers, and so also the prayers than have made me feel closest to God. I am also glad to hear that you have found these prayers a support to you in your pain. Why these things happen remains a mystery, but it is my approach to think of God as suffering with me in a way. Rather than God-the-puppet-master, I think of God-the-witness-who-loves.
I hope you continue to find strength in your prayer.
Thank you for sharing too. Especially on such a sensitive and precious subject. <3
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

A little 'ello

Hello,
Just a little about me...
I'm a girl in my mid-20s. I adore reading and writing and music, but most of all I love exploring the Spirit.

I have been brought up an Anglo-Catholic Christian, but I love the beauty of all forms of spiritual expression, even atheistic expression. "God" isn't the only name for that great something behind everything.

I currently am studying Tibetan Buddhism, reading heavily about Universal Sufism, and undertaking my novociate to enter the Third Order of the Society of Saint Francis.

This is the path I walk. May you all be blessed on yours.

~Rhuby~

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord.

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