Faith as Experience
How do we "move" through it all?
Images of God
We spend much of our days asking ourselves and others the little questions: How do I look today? Am I going to finish that project? why does he/she always respond that way? What will I make for dinner? what should I buy ____for Christmas? What does my family need from me today? Should I call and check in on my parent(s)?
As we begin today's session, let's take some time to sit with the big questions in the hopes that we may be better able to respond, more mindfully, to all our little ones:)
Who is our God?
Who is God FOR ME?
How do I describe my own experience of God?
The Experience of Evil
How do we maintain our faith when we can n o longer see, feel, or understand God?
The Power Of The Dark
Mother Teresa's Dark Night Of The Soul
dark night of the soul
noun: dark night of the soul; plural noun: dark nights of the soul
1. a period of spiritual desolation suffered by a mystic in which all sense of consolation is removed.
Spiritual term in the Christian tradition
Main article: Spiritual dryness
The term "dark night (of the soul)" is used in Christianity for a spiritual crisis in a journey towards union with God, like that described by Saint John of the Cross.
Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, a 19th-century French Carmelite, wrote of her own experience. Centering on doubts about the afterlife, she reportedly told her fellow nuns, "If you only knew what darkness I am plunged into. While this crisis is usually temporary in nature, it may last for extended periods. The "dark night" of Saint Paul of the Cross in the 18th century lasted 45 years, from which he ultimately recovered. Mother Teresa of Calcutta, according to letters released in 2007, "may be the most extensive such case on record", lasting from 1948 almost up until her death in 1997, with only brief interludes of relief between. Franciscan Friar Father Benedict Groeschel, a friend of Mother Teresa for a large part of her life, claims that "the darkness left" towards the end of her life.
Does Doubt = Null and Void?
Read the article entitled, "Mother Teresa's Loss of Faith"-
Think deeply and critically about what is being proposed.
What does this article suggest about faith? Do you agree or disagree...or find yourself teetering in between?
Where do we find God?
After reading, Where Do We Find God? Faith As Relationship(pg 15 course booklet), ask yourself:
Which modes of experience have been instrumental in shaping my knowing and understanding of God working though my life?
A great way to pray is to look for God’s presence in your life. More than 400 years ago St. Ignatius Loyola encouraged prayer-filled mindfulness by proposing what has been called the Daily Examen. The Examen is a technique of prayerful reflection on the events of the day in order to detect God’s presence and to discern his direction for us. Try this version of St. Ignatius’s prayer.
1. Become aware of God’s presence. Look back on the events of the day in the company of the Holy Spirit. The day may seem confusing to you—a blur, a jumble, a muddle. Ask God to bring clarity and understanding.
2. Review the day with gratitude. Gratitude is the foundation of our relationship with God. Walk through your day in the presence of God and note its joys and delights. Focus on the day’s gifts. Look at the work you did, the people you interacted with. What did you receive from these people? What did you give them? Pay attention to small things—the food you ate, the sights you saw, and other seemingly small pleasures. God is in the details.
3. Pay attention to your emotions. One of St. Ignatius’s great insights was that we detect the presence of the Spirit of God in the movements of our emotions. Reflect on the feelings you experienced during the day. Boredom? Elation? Resentment? Compassion? Anger? Confidence? What is God saying through these feelings? God will most likely show you some ways that you fell short. Make note of these sins and faults. But look deeply for other implications. Does a feeling of frustration perhaps mean that God wants you consider a new direction in some area of your work? Are you concerned about a friend? Perhaps you should reach out to her in some way.
4. Choose one feature of the day and pray from it. Ask the Holy Spirit to direct you to something during the day that God thinks is particularly important. It may involve a feeling—positive or negative. It may be a significant encounter with another person or a vivid moment of pleasure or peace. Or it may be something that seems rather insignificant. Look at it. Pray about it. Allow the prayer to arise spontaneously from your heart—whether intercession, praise, repentance, or gratitude.
5. Look toward tomorrow. Ask God to give you light for tomorrow’s challenges. Pay attention to the feelings that surface as you survey what’s coming up. Are you doubtful? Cheerful? Apprehensive? Full of delighted anticipation? Allow these feelings to turn into prayer. Seek God’s guidance. Ask him for help and understanding. Pray for hope.