About Me

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I work as a teacher, poet and spiritual director at a number of institutions in the DC area. My teaching focuses in various ways on writing, poetry, Spirituality and Christian vocation and ministry - especially from the point of view of the laity. I also offer classes and retreats encouraging people to explore their inner lives, engage their creativity and reflect on their beliefs about God, vocation, and how we can discern and pursue new ways to transform our broken world. I enjoy speaking of faith in the secular academy as well as reminding those preparing for ministry in the Church that our primary purpose is to love and serve the world beyond the church's doors. I love helping people to grow in faith and to find their own voices, and I also love encouraging them to use their minds. I see no contradiction between these impulses, believing as I do that faith, reason and creativity work together.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Evelyn Underhill and "The Call of God"

Rereading Underhill's retreat "The Call of God" in Ways of the Spirit. This in preliminary preparation for the Underhill Day of Quiet, sponsored by the Evelyn Underhill Association, to be held on June 6. I like her reminder that it all begins in our awareness of ourselves as at once members of Christ, Children of God and Inheritors of the Kingdom of Heaven. These quotes from her reflection on our growth as "children" of a God who loves us and desires and invites our thriving. Underhill can sometimes sound stern but she has a bracing wisdom about the way that God works with our growing souls. A few quotes I'm pondering this morning:

We are trained through ordinary events and objects, not by peculiar religious experiences. It is better to stay where we are, be gentle and peaceful,and acknowledge that ordinary lilfe. Even the most homely incidents will serve the purposes of God. Our Lord is more likely to come to us in His garden clothes than in robes of glory (p. 231)

Spiritual growth is real growth toward the maturity of free creatures; it is not being brought up in an incubator. And holiness isn't a kind of white wash; it is a growth in freedom, love, and true being. In the process, we must learn to tread firmly and carefully and to lose our fear of spiritual darkness and our greed for spiritual sweets. (p. 231)

When we do not know what the will of God is, surely His will is that we should do our best and use common sense and initiative as we remain open to His strength and surrendered to His love. If we do, surely He will protect us in the ultimate consequences and as regards what really matteres which may not be at all the same as what we think matters. (232)

1 comment:

  1. I love that image of the Lord coming in gardening clothes. I can see the dirty jeans, wide brimmed hat, and worn out gloves. I am sure Evelyn knew exactly what image she was offering to her gardening audience in England.