The New Wine of Dominican Spirituality

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The book, "The New Wine of Dominican Spirituality: A Drink Called Happiness," by Paul Murray, OP is another great book to delve deeper into the life and spirituality of our parish patron. 

This lively and compelling book by Paul Murray OP names and celebrates aspects of the Dominican tradition which are at the very core of its spirituality. This tradition has often been described in the past, and for good reason, as scholarly and intellectual. But the lives of the Dominicans whose voices we hear in this book were also, and to an extraordinary degree, apostolic, exuberant, evangelical, risk-taking, mystical, and robust.

One of the things which has characterized the Dominican spirit from the beginning is a sense of openness to the world. Dominicans such as Thomas Aquinas, Jordan of Saxony, and Catherine of Siena, were not only impressive celebrants of grace. They were also defenders of nature. After the example of St Dominic himself, they learned to drink deep from the wine of God's Word, and became witnesses not only of certain great moral and doctrinal truths but witnesses also of an unimaginable joy.

One reason, in society today, why so many feel unfulfilled and are not happy is because the vision of life offered is one that is restricted to a pragmatic, one-dimensional view of the world. The Dominican vision of life we find presented in this book is one that is truly broad and joyous. It is a path of spirituality - a way - open to people of all kinds and conditions.

Seeking His Mind

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Author: M. Basil Pennington O.C.S.O.

Spirituality : Advanced spirituality (This is my subjective thinking.)

The author of "Seeking His Mind," M. Basil Pennington O.C.S.O., is a Trappist monk and priest who received his pontifical degree when I was 4 years old…and that is a long time ago! This book is for those to whom a fire has been started in their hearts. It is for those who wish to take the next step in their spiritual development.

Basil Pennington is a well-known spiritual leader in the Thomas Merton tradition. He offers the gambit of prayer styles from traditional to centering prayer. In this book, he uses the ancient practice of Lectio Divina as a means of spiritual advancement and illumination.

Lectio Divina is a way of approaching the scriptures and reflecting on them to transform your soul. The author uses 40 different scripture passages and offers reflections that will help facilitate our response to God’s love for us.

Each of the forty scripture quotes is followed by a mini-homily of sorts and finishes with answering the question, “What does this mean to me?” Pennington is not afraid to tackle difficult scripture passages and explore areas that may be a bit tender to us. The book is divided into three sections, Beginnings, Teaching and Healing, and Passion and Resurrection.

Each chapter is short reading and the time spent on them is to be more contemplative than explanatory. As this type of journey doesn’t appeal to everyone, all I can say is that if you experienced the 1% Challenge that the Archdiocese has offered and were  changed and looking for more, this book is it.

in Kids

Children's Spirituality

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We have spent much of our energy on teaching children the things of our faith; having them know the Sign of the Cross, and common prayers. Little do we appreciate them as spiritual beings just like us grown-ups. I often think about the growth of God in their souls.

All human beings are spiritual. We have a “spirit- receiver,” and can use our conversations with children to stimulate their affinity towards God. Rather than worry about memorizing Bible stories, it is more important a child comes away from the Gospel stirred into thought and troubled into compassion, than if he or she is able to repeat back a lesson or moral.

Rebecca Nye, in her book "Children’s Spirituality: What it is and why it matters," tells us it is in fact the power of Godly play when we simply share the story with children, difficult parts and all, and then get out of the way allowing for the Holy Spirit to act. She gives us a method to encourage a child’s spiritual life. Here are her steps for sharing stories:

  1. Simply sharing the story as it is written.
  2. Get out of the way and let the Holy Spirit work.
  3. Offer to let them retell the story and play the story out to understand the meaning in their own way.
  4. Encourage them to “wonder about it”. There is no right way of understanding. Every response is respected, even honored.
  5. Address each wonderment with, “I’ve wondered about that too…hmmm.”

She encourages us to “facilitate wonder.” Facilitating wonder can be an attitude that is applied to a wide range of encounters with children. It is very helpful in nurturing spirituality. In this facilitation there are no “rights or wrongs’ but only, “I wonder.” Is that not where all our encounters with the divine leave us? I wonder.