Notes from Manresa, prt. 6

Sunday, 10:11 a.m. – This is turning out to be one of the most grace-giving, lighthearted, free, joyous, and easy times of my life, though I have prayed more often, and more intensely, than ever before.  Prayer has not felt like a burden, even when I have prayed at hour-lengths multiple times per day.  I feel only peace.  When I think of the anxious, burdened person I often am, it seems like someone different.  Even thinking about that person brings me not back to the place of anxiety, but to pity.  I don’t want to live as that person anymore.

I have learned that my prayer times at home are often ineffective because I rush them, so I will only meditate for 20 minutes, and have no time for verbal prayer.  I think it is in verbal prayer that I cultivate some of the soil where the Holy Spirit will work during meditation, and it is important that I not neglect verbal prayer, or see meditation as “higher,” or “better.”  Everything has its purpose.

Observations
Already my one prayer has been answered, that I would “nail down” in this visit my new way of coming to know God.  What I hope is not to leave evangelicalism, but to deepen it, reform it, at least among my small evangelical community at Wildwind.

This place is, for me, like living water, rich w/ history, roots that go all the way back to Christ himself, and of course the quietness my soul has always craved.  It stands as a quiet affront to the way of life being lived by those zipping mindlessly up and down nearby Woodward Avenue, which in turn is a reminder of the very life I wish to abandon, if not physically then at least in my heart and mind.

Here I have come into contact w/ new spiritual mentors.  Gerald May, Richard Rohr, Rabbi Kushner, Henri Nouwen, Jean Vanier.  The Dalai Lama?

The seed was planted in my heart to come here 12 years ago.  Though I longed for what I thought it would represent, I had 12 years of letting go to do before I could come here and see it as liberation and not slavery.  In the meantime, Dallas Willard and Richard Foster have kept alive in me the promise of the way of life this place teaches and represents.