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Monday, March 2, 2009

“Healing the Purpose of Your Life”

The fifth page for Sunday, March 1, 2009

“Healing the Purpose of Your Life”
I found this book while I was at Five Oaks, a retreat and study centre of the United Church of Canada, near Paris, Ontario. There is a great little shop on site called the Grand River Bookstore. I was drawn to it because the authors, and the illustrator have produced another book called “Sleeping with Bread”, which I love.

Dennis Linn, Sheila Fabricant Linn, and Matthew Linn are Roman Catholic authors, teachers, and retreat leaders who do their work from a foundation in the spirituality of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits). Ignatian spirituality, as I am coming to understand it, deals a great deal with a person discerning their own sealed orders from God, by a close “reading” of the text, and sub-text (what lies underneath) of their own lives.

While on retreat at Five Oaks, I took part in an evening called “Gospel Contemplation”. The workshop leader presented a way to meditate upon scripture stories that also comes from Ignatian Spirituality. In his introduction to this process, the leader made the intriguing comment that Ignatian Spirituality offers a “post-modern” alternative.

I think what he meant by that is that the Christianity most of us have grown up with offered a universal story, a one-size-fits-all depiction of the purpose and meaning and life. The leader called this the “over-arching mythic structure” or “big story”.

People living in the “post-modern” age are perhaps less inclined to try to connect to the “big story”, and more inclined to look for God at work in their own story. (What does all this God stuff have to do with me?)

As I am studying the ancient practice of spiritual direction, I am excited by the possibility of seeing how God is at work in individual lives, including my own.