Sunday, October 7
By Laura Field
MAKE IT YOUR OWN
Many years ago my aunt Betty, a sister of Providence, sent me a marked up prayer card with words on the back in her handwriting that said, “Make this prayer your own. Go ahead honey and change the pronouns.” I remember giggling and sensing an opening in her wise words.
That was the day I started saying grace aloud at meals again even though I was living and eating by myself. “Bless us oh Lord for these thy gifts …” became “Bless me oh Lord, for these my gifts, that I am about to receive from your bounty, Amen.”
I can still feel the comfort that the simple shift in language was for my soul. And now years later, her gentle nudge to make a prayer my own has stretched into an invitation to make my faith my own, which seems especially provocative in this time of turmoil and crisis.
In the years since Aunt Betty encouraged me to tweak a prayer, I’ve even written several including one I return to often especially when I am not sure of what’s next: “Dear Lord, help me live into the dream you had for me when you gave my soul to Pat and Dave to care for and nurture.”
Today, I nurture my own faith life in many ways, and one that stands out is spiritual direction. Once a month, as a seeker, I visit with Sr. Mary Ellen ‘Mel’ Ryley SCMM to reflect on the God moments of my life and to seek out God’s voice as I continue to discern what’s next.
These sessions are graced time — especially those days when I’m not sure what I will say. Typically on those days, I find myself deeper in the mystery just because I made the commitment to ponder with a companion. This practice is as important to me as weekly mass and communion. Unlike experiences rich in community and friendship, spiritual direction is about me and my interior interaction with God in the day to day, the mundane and the material, in the crisis and the cryptic.
Today in the wake of more news about the shame and horror of the institutional church, I turn to the Divine indwelling to lament, learn, and carry on as a minister myself. In these difficult times, I find the gift of a spiritual companion priceless. It’s like having an anchor in the storm, or a safe harbor. Next week, I’ll go to Mel’s office again, and we’ll sit in the quiet until that which is deepest and truest in me, begins to reveal itself, and a deep gratitude and peace stirs at my core.
Old St. Pat’s is lucky to have a vibrant, growing spiritual direction ministry. Our directors are trained, formed by organizations dedicated to the ministry, and accredited. We are all members of Spiritual Directors International, the primary global leadership organization and ethical body.
If you have a sense that your spiritual journey would be served by travelling it with a knowledgeable companion, please give us a call. On behalf of the Old St. Pat’s ministry team, I can assure you that we’d be honored to walk with you.
For more information about Spiritual Direction, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Laura Field is one of 10 spiritual directors affiliated with Old St. Pat’s ministry.