Spiritual Reading

course online

New Seeds of Contemplation by thomas merton

stf-new-seeds.jpg

Space is limited to ensure individual attention.

O taste and see that the Lord is good!
Happy is the man who takes refuge in him!
— Psalm 34:8

Contemplation is the lifestyle of those who seek to dwell in the Presence of God who WAS, IS and IS TO COME. It is for those who got the grace to understand than they have to taste to see.

It starts with a recognition of an unquenched desire for eternal existence, happiness and fulfillment. Contemplative lifestyle is for those who want to walk in the Spirit and are not afraid to waste their life on asking questions to which answers they might not find out.

It is a way of wondering between the verses of Scriptures, receiving the silence of the Unknown and enjoying the happiness of the Revealed. It is recognizing eternity dripping into wrinkles of time, in between the dawns and dusks.

It is the destiny of charismatics who are not afraid to become mystics, serious enough to walk into the Mystery and call it Home before comprehending much but trusting enough to burn the bridges.

Instructor:

Iwona Bednarz-Major, Co-Founder and Director of Stone to Flesh and MajorChange.

What can you expect:

  • Four weekly live video sessions (real time interactive video participation):Tuesdays, Aug. 13, 20, 27, Sept. 3, 6:30pm PT

  • Each session is 45 min and includes 30min teaching based on the book and focusing on spiritual growth, developing contemplative lifestyle, prayer and walking in the Spirit, 15 min Q & A (or as long as the discussion and questions last)

  • Required home assignment: Reading 10 chapters a week, about 60 pages of a small format book. It shouldn’t take more than 2h weekly. You will need to read the first 10 chapters before our first session on Aug. 13

  • Expected but not required: daily journaling with weekly journaling points sent to you

What you will need:

Cost:

  • $40 per person

  • $60 per married couple

Our vocation is not simply to be, but to work together with God in the creation of our own life, our own identity, our own destiny....To work out our identity in God.
— Thomas Merton
To be unknown to God is entirely too much privacy.
— Thomas Merton

It's not a book club.

Reading spiritual classics is like conversing with great saints and trailblazers of faith. Years or centuries later, we can encounter them by jumping into their world and struggles, and scooping up their wisdom from the pages left for us. This is one of the greatest treasures within the inheritance of our Christian civilization. Reading books with open hearts and minds can be a very powerful source of encountering God, understanding His plans, raising above our daily daunting tasks, and fixing our gaze on the things above. The encounter we experience through the written word might produce what Psalm 42 describes as a collision of the depths:

Each of one us is like a universe on whose firmament God paints strokes of His thoughts. His thoughts, crossing with our existence, want to awaken us to rise toward restoring reason's rightful place, rediscovering imagination as a tool for reaching beyond the observable sensual world and rising to our destiny in God. Plunging into the thoughts of the holy disciples will take you to the place of hungering for God more than for anything else.

Texting, emails, textbooks, news on the internet, occasional school literature. Random and scattered Bible reading, on a good week. Seasonal popular books get attention every now and then. But what happened to the intentional reading of our Christian spiritual masters? A good book must captivate the mind, elevate the thoughts, stir the heart and lead to wonder. Spiritual reading is, after prayer, reading the Scriptures and meditation, the next part of a daily or weekly routine that will keep your mind sane and will give you very practical advice on HOW TO LIVE.

"This is the truth" said Edith Stein, after reading the autobiography of St. Teresa of Avila. Her heart and mind had finally agreed and found peace in the midst of her inner turmoil. Ignatius of Loyola, stricken by sickness, asked for novels. The only book available was "De Vita Christi". The more he read, the more he started to turn toward Christ. 

St. Therese of Lisieux was so taken by reading one book that she decided to enter Carmel: "Reading this book was one of the greatest graces of my life. The impression I received from it is too intimate and too sweet for me to express. All the great truths of religion, the mysteries of eternity, plunged into my soul a happiness not of this earth."

This is not a typical book club but spiritual reading, i.e it concentrates on ideas concerning God's communication with men, their stories, experiences and insights. It focuses on responding to God's call, uncovering human staleness and indifference and seeing beyond the visible. In short, it is reading for understanding on how to approach God, how to receive His enormous love and graces, how to understand one's spiritual journey, how to identify God's action in one's life  and how to respond or how to prepare for an encounter with God.