Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Simplification of Life

The Christmas shopping season has already begun!  If you are looking for a holy way to approach the coming holiday season, at Creative Spirituality, we are offering an online retreat. Our retreat, the Simplification of Life, will begin on the First Sunday in Advent, Nov. 29th and continue through Jan. 6th, the Feast of the Epiphany. I will be your spiritual director and guide as you join us on this road toward a Christ centered life.  For more information and an audio introduction, see our retreat page at Creative Spirituality.

Meister Eckhart, a late 13th century scholar and monk, preached a sermon in which he said, “This is the fullness of time, when the Son of God is begotten in you.” Each year, as the Advent and Christmas seasons approach, I once again begin to reflect on the depths of Eckhart’s meaning. To give birth to the presence of God within my being is a thought so rich with grace and transformation that the implications are manifold. As our society gets wrapped up in frantic consumerism and the consequence of clutter, my soul cries out for that birth within, the deepest reality of the Christmas gift.

In our retreat, The Simplification of Life, you will be invited to engage and explore that birth of the Son of God within you. Thomas Kelly will be our guide as we examine his spiritual writings which comprise his “Testament of Devotion.” Kelly was an early 20th century scholar of philosophy and the sciences. He was deeply affected by his Quaker upbringing and remained a highly sought after speaker and teacher in the Quaker tradition throughout his life. He would be pleased to know that one of his biographers described him as a man who lead an adequate life – a life that was filled with simplicity and grace, centered on the Light within.

Through the teachings of Thomas Kelly, we will journey through a series of short studies that examine the nature of the birth of the Son of God within and how it truly leads to the simplification of life. You will be encouraged to focus on the Light within, learning to peel away the many layers of busy-ness in which we trap ourselves and following God’s deepest desire for your life. As Kelly will show us, following that desire allows us to focus on God’s deepest call in our lives and leave the rest for others. He states, “We cannot die on every cross, nor are we expected to.”

Provisions for this journey to this focused life include a daily prayer guide based upon the monastic prayer hours. Each day, you will be given scriptures, psalms, and quotes from Kelly’s works to reflect on. The daily prayer cycle will be enhanced by a short reflection or teaching on Kelly’s thought. A weekly reflection of the Gospel appointed from the Revised Common Lectionary will be provided along with a video which will include materials to flesh out Kelly’s teachings. Discussion rooms will be opened where you can engage in conversation with me and your fellow travelers, and for those who wish to go deeper, personal spiritual direction is available.

In his writings, Thomas Kelly demonstrates how a deep and profound spiritual life is the most practical way of living. At a time of year when everything around us pulls us away from our center in Christ, I encourage you to travel with us to experience and explore that birth within. Let your life be transformed by the grace of God begotten in you.

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