Monday, 29 August 2016

New Monasticism

From the webpage : 
A movement which offers vision, insight, support and direction in assimilating Religion and spirituality within daily life, within new forms, emerging from within contemporary conscience and experience.

“We assert that new monasticism names an impulse that is trying to incarnate itself in the new generation. It is beyond the borders of any particular religious institution, yet drinks deeply from the wells of our wisdom traditions. It is an urge which speaks to a profoundly contemplative life, to the formation of small communities of friends, to sacred activism and to discovering together the unique calling of every person and every community.”
                                        -From the New Monastic Manifesto

New Monasticism is a diverse movement, not limited to a specific religious denomination or church and including varying expressions of contemplative and prophetic life. These include evangelical Christian communities such as Shaine Clairborne’s “Simple Way Community” and Jonathon Hartgrove-Wilson’s “Rutba House,” European and Irish new monastic communities, such as that championed by Bernadette Flanagan, and the "Community of the New Monastic Way" founded by feminist contemplative theologian Beverly Lanzetta. Many of these expressions of new monasticism can be found on our “Media/Resources” link.

Our new monasticism continues to broaden this growing movement, in particular through our partnership with traditional monasticism and the involvement of mentors from numerous religious traditions, including Christian, Buddhist, Jewish, Islamic-Sufi, and Hindu. One of our mentors, Brother Wayne Teasdale, called this orientation “interspiritual,” and we have placed new monasticism within an explicitly "interspiritual" framework. He described interspiritual as:
an enhanced understanding of the inner life through assimilating the psychological, moral, aesthetic, spiritual, and literary treasures of the world’s religions. Each tradition will define itself in relation to every other viable tradition of the inner life; each will take into account the totality of the spiritual journey...
It is deeply concerned with the plight of all those who suffer, wherever they are…
It follows a strict adherence to ecological justice …

It doesn’t just depend on books or spiritual reading, but looks to art, music, and movies … universal languages of vast sacred potential … to nourish contemplative life…

It recognizes that we are part of a much larger community … the human, the earth, the solar system, our galaxy, and the universe itself…

Intermysticism [or interspirituality] is the deepest expression of the religious dimension of human life. It is the actual religion of each one of us when we arrive at the point of spiritual maturity.
This lineage of new monastic life has been formed by a confluence of contemplative lineages, including those of Fr. Bede Griffiths, Fr. Thomas Keating, and Brother Wayne Teasdale. Fr. Bede was a Catholic Camaldolese monk who oversaw a Christian-Hindu ashram throughout his life in Tamil Nadu, India, and Fr. Thomas Keating is a Catholic Trappist monk who founded Centering Prayer (a Christian form of meditation) and Contemplative Outreach, an international, interdenominational organization dedicated to helping individuals and small faith communities live out the contemplative dimension of the Gospel.

Lay Catholic monk Brother Wayne Teasdale counted both Fr. Bede and Fr. Keating as his “spiritual fathers” (along with the Dalai Lama), combining these lineages and living them out as hermit in the heart of Chicago, living prophetically as a “monk in the world” without institutional support. In addition, our articulation of new monastic life has been inspired by Raimon Panikkar, particularly his vision of the “new monk” that he shared in 1980 at Holyoke, MA during a series of lectures he delivered to a group of eastern and western monastics, and subsequently published as Blessed Simplicity: The Monk as Universal Archetype.

Finally, these insights have been integrated into the praxis of our own lives under the close guidance of wise spiritual mentors from diverse religious traditions, such as Fr. Keating, the late Brother Wayne Teasdale, the hermits of SkyFarm Hermitage, Sister Michaela Terrio and Brother Francis Ali, Sufi teacher Llewellyn Vaughn-Lee, feminist contemplative theologian Beverly Lanzetta and the late Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi.

For more on new monastic life, please see our "Media / Resources" link above where you will find an eclectic assortment of articles, videos, books, and other websites related to new monasticism. Please also check out our “Events” link for upcoming classes, talks, and retreats, and refer to our “Programs” link to see the specific type of work the Foundation is dedicated to. For Rory and Adam's new book, The New Monasticism: An Interspiritual Manifesto for Contemplative Living (Orbis Books, 2015), click here.

Monday, 1 August 2016

"The Secret Life of God."

When the summer holidays come I’ve always been lucky enough that a few good books fall into my lap and take me to the liminal space I’ve been thirsting for.  This year “TheSecret Life of God” is the first of my spiritual elixirs.  It makes compelling reading.  The sort of book you just can’t put down. It has an easy, reflective style and opens the mind to new thoughts rather than ossifying personal reflection or opinion. 

The back cover reads,

“The Secret Life of God is a kind of spiritual investigation into twenty-first century Britain.  It Chronicles how, in an age where institutional religion is on the decline, people are finding new ways of believing and belonging, and puts the faces and places to the trend in which people are increasingly describing themselves as ‘spiritual but not religious.’
Part travelogue, part reportage, the book reveals the communities pioneering a new form of monasticism, the Sufis exploiting the spiritual possibilities of sound and the Druids forging a relationship with nature.  Interwoven with a powerful narrative of loss and belonging, it is both a deeply personal book and one which tells a wider story about our evolving relationship with place and meaning.”
I’m still only just into the chapter about “Pioneering Nuns,” (The  Sisters of the Holy Trinity, Herefordshire) but so looking forward to finding more about how other communities are responding to the call of the God with a 'secret life !'

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Caryll Houselander : A Rocking Horse Catholic

Just read Caryll Houselanders book, "A Rocking horse Catholic." Interesting 20th Catholic 'mystic.' Some parallels with Thomas Merton, especially the following passages . . . . .

"I was in an underground train, a crowded train in which all sorts of people jostled together, sitting and strap-hanging—workers of every description going home at the end of the day. Quite suddenly I saw with my mind, but as vividly as a wonderful picture, Christ in them all. But I saw more than that; not only was Christ in every one of them, living in them, dying in them, rejoicing in them, sorrowing in them—but because He was in them, and because they were here, the whole world was here too, here in this underground train; not only the world as it was at that moment, not only all the people in all the countries of the world, but all those people who had lived in the past, and all those yet to come.

I came out into the street and walked for a long time in the crowds. It was the same here, on every side, in every passer-by, everywhere—Christ.

Christ is everywhere; in Him every kind of life has a meaning and has an influence on every other kind of life. It is not the foolish sinner like myself, running about the world with reprobates and feeling magnanimous, who comes closest to them and brings them healing; it is the contemplative in her cell who has never set eyes on them, but in whom Christ fasts and prays for them—or it may be a charwoman in whom Christ makes Himself a servant again, or a king whose crown of gold hides a crown of thorns. Realization of our oneness in Christ is the only cure for human loneliness. For me, too, it is the only ultimate meaning of life, the only thing that gives meaning and purpose to every life."

Contrast this with Merton's realisation in Louisville . . .

“In Louisville, at the corner of Fourth and Walnut, in the center of the shopping district, I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all these people, that they were mine and I theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers. It was like waking from a dream of separateness, of spurious self-isolation in a special world. . . .

This sense of liberation from an illusory difference was such a relief and such a joy to me that I almost laughed out loud. . . . I have the immense joy of being man, a member of a race in which God Himself became incarnate. As if the sorrows and stupidities of the human condition could overwhelm me, now that I realize what we all are. And if only everybody could realize this! But it cannot be explained. There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun.

Then it was as if I suddenly saw the secret beauty of their hearts, the depths of their hearts where neither sin nor desire nor self-knowledge can reach, the core of their reality, the person that each one is in God’s eyes. If only they could all see themselves as they really are. If only we could see each other that way all the time. There would be no more war, no more hatred, no more cruelty, no more greed. . . . But this cannot be seen, only believed and ‘understood’ by a peculiar gift.”

― Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander

Click the link below to read the book . . .

Monday, 11 April 2016

Liverpool Festival of Spirituality

I can't believe this event has gone undetected under my radar ! I reproduce their festival information below.  St Brides shows its credentials once more.  Amazing place.

"Throughout April 2016 St Bride's in partnership with Spirituality Liverpool, Make Space and Infinite Arts are hosting our first Liverpool Festival of Spirituality!

WAKE UP in LIVERPOOL, the Liverpool festival of Spirituality 2016, seeks to promote an engaged, experiential spirituality, transforming individual lives and inspiring sacred activism for social justice. #WakeUp

With events on most days and special guest speakers including Francis Bennett, Ray Simpson and Gillian Ahlgren this will be an inspiring and engaging festival with something for everyone.

Download your copy of the full programme from"