This month’s issue features:
- A brief note on the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, April 13-May 12
- Our monthly listing of online and in-person contemplative events
- Insights from Gustav Mahler, Thomas Merton, Dorothy Hunt, and Aldous Huxley
We invite your ideas! Please give us your thoughts on Spirit Journal by emailing the editor at the address provided at the end of the newsletter.
This Year, Ramadan Is April 13 – May 12
We are now in the middle of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, a most special and sacred time for our Muslim sisters and brothers. During this month-long observance, Muslims recall and commemorate Allah, God the Creator’s giving to the Prophet Muhammad the first chapters of the Quran in the year 610.
Ramadan is a time of fasting, abstaining from worldly pleasures, prayers, service to those in greater need and more time spent with one’s family. The last 10 nights of Ramadan is a time of intense worship, followed by a three-day holiday. Eid al-Fitr, the celebration marking the end of Ramadan, is a time of gifts, food and festivities.
Let us pray:
Oh my Lord and Sustainer please forgive me and be merciful to me. You are the best amongst those who show mercy. (A prayer for the first ten days of Ramadan)
Highlighted Events and Resources
You may wish to participate in some of these local, regional, and online events:
Two Thomases: Merton and Keating Leading Us to Transformation – Zoom Workshop May 15
This workshop will be led by Maggie Winfrey, coordinator for Contemplative Outreach Atlanta and the Atlanta Chapter representative for the International Thomas Merton Society. A devotee of both Thomas Merton and Thomas Keating, Maggie Winfrey will share her reflections how these two have guided her spiritual journey not as clergy, theologian or academic, but simply as an ordinary seeker. Register here for the workshop, which begins at 10am Saturday May15.
Online Events in May from Contemplative Outreach of Colorado
Colorado has long had a very active Contemplative Outreach chapter based in Denver. Their May online offerings include:
- Julie Saad will discuss Contemplative Life: Discovering Our Path Into the Heart of God. May 8
- Fr. Carl Arico will address compassion for all in our country and the world as we put on the Mind of Christ in this time of grief and forgiveness, May 22
To learn more about these and other offerings please visit the Contemplative Outreach of Colorado website and click on Online Offerings.
Silence, Contemplation and an Enneagram Workshop at Healing Gardens
Healing Gardens, the lovely, park-like contemplative center in St. Charles offers a number of activities, this spring and summer, including:
- The gardens are open to the public 11:00am-4:00pm on the second Sunday of each month, May through October (including May 9, Mother’s Day).
- Silent Saturday Morning, Saturday, June 19, 9:00am-noon – Carve out sacred time for yourself to pray and reflect in a group setting. Morning will consist of two, 20 minute meditation periods; a guided meditation walk in nature; silent reflection time; journaling and optional sharing.
- Enneagram Workshop, Level 1: Saturday June 26, 8:45 to 11:30am and 12:30-2:30pm outdoors at Healing Gardens (via Zoom if inclement weather).
Please visit the Healing Gardens website for more information or to register. There are several other events on the calendar and, in addition, the gardens are open now for anyone who needs a Nature “fix.” To make arrangements, text 630-740-2597.
2021 Intensive and Post Intensive Retreats June 13-19 at the Siena Retreat Center, Racine Wisconsin
An Intensive Retreat is an opportunity to deepen the practice of Centering Prayer in an atmosphere of profound silence and community support. There are up to six 30-minute Centering Prayer periods daily, supported with viewing a selection of the Spiritual Journey video series by Fr. Thomas Keating. Private interviews with the retreat guides can also be scheduled. The Post-Intensive Retreat is offered for those who have previously taken part in an Intensive Retreat. It provides an opportunity to deepen the practice of Centering Prayer and Lectio Divina. There are up to seven 30-minute periods of Centering Prayer daily. Participants observe Sacred Silence four days during the retreat.
This summer’s retreats are offered June 13-19 at the lovely Siena Retreat Center in Racine, 83 miles north of Chicago on the Lake Michigan shore. The retreat guides are Ann Koerner, CSA and Sandy Janowski. Ann is a Sister of St. Agnes and holds a Masters in Christian Spirituality from Creighton University in Omaha NE. Since 1986 she has been a spiritual companion and retreat director. Sandy is a retired Social Worker, Addiction Counselor and Community College Adjunct Instructor. In 2009 she was commissioned by the Institute of Spiritual Companionship and has been a practitioner of Centering Prayer since 2001.
Click here to download more complete information about the retreats and a chance to register.
Centering Prayer Groups via Zoom
Here are four invitations to gather with Chicago-area Centering Prayer groups via Zoom. Listed below are the groups, times, and contact information.
- St. Clement’s Centering Prayer Group every Saturday 9:30-10:30am. Contact Bill Epperly at email@example.com
- St. Katharine Drexel Church every Tuesday 8:30-9:30am. Contact Lori Dressel at firstname.lastname@example.org
- The Healing Gardens second Friday of each month, 10:30am-12:30pm. Also, Centering Prayer with Lectio Divina, last Friday of each month, 10:30am-11:30pm. Contact Deb Marqui at email@example.com or text/call 630-740-259.
- Permanent Zoom group (not associated with an in-person group) Tuesday 6:00 – 7:00pm. Contact Rose Magiera for link and phone number – firstname.lastname@example.org
Bill Epperly has also invited everyone to Interspiritual Sundays which gathers Sunday from 9:00-10:00am. n 2018. You may contact Bill at email@example.com and he’ll be happy to share more information with you.
(Other Centering Prayer groups may also wish to consider meeting online for now. If you need help in setting up, please contact Sandy Janowski: firstname.lastname@example.org
Offerings in the Contemplative Outreach Meditation Chapel
The national website of our parent organization features an Online Meditation Chapel that is very easy to use and provides the opportunity to see, hear and join in silent prayer with others from all over the world. You must first register to attend the meetings in the Chapel. You can do that by using the calendar link. Once you know what chapel your desired meeting is in, use the chapel link.
Meditation Groups – Groups meet via Zoom at all hours of the day and night and are open to anyone. There is no cost/fee to attend, charging is prohibited. A friend writes: “I have been attending meditation in the virtual Keating Chapel and had a lovely experience. The facilitator was very good!” For further information, visit the calendar or chapel listing.
Healing Together: A Gathering of Consciousness – In silence we focus on an intention for peace and healing in 2020. The format is an opening prayer, a short reading, two 25-minute sessions of silent prayer with a short break in-between and closing prayer. These sessions are scheduled every Thursday from 11:00am to 12:00pm Central Time (US & Ca) in the Thomas Keating Chapel with Mary Lapham. You can contact Mary at email@example.com.
Please let us know about any additional events and resources you’re aware of. Write to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire.
– Gustav Mahler
May we all grow in grace and peace and not neglect the silence that is printed at the center of our being. It will not fail us.
– Thomas Merton
Peace is this moment without judgment, this moment in the Heart-space where everything that is is welcome.
– Dorothy Hunt
“Practice,” in the words of William James, “may change our theoretical horizon, and this in a twofold way: it may lead into new worlds and secure new powers. Knowledge we could never attain, remaining what we are, may be attainable in consequences of higher powers and a higher life, which we may morally achieve.” To put the matter more succinctly, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
– Aldous Huxley
Please write in to contribute your ideas or to comment on any aspect of Spirit Journal. Let us know if you are aware of an upcoming event you think others should know about, or send us an inspirational quote you’d like to share, or information about a book, website, podcast, or video you recommend. You can contribute by emailing the newsletter editor at email@example.com.