OPPORTUNITIES FOR SPIRITUAL DEVELOPMENT IN THE DIOCESE OF ROCHESTER
Friday, 9 March 2018
News from the London Centre for Spiritual Direction
In London at least, March came in like a lion. We hope you were all
able to keep safe and warm, and are enjoying the signs of Spring.
Here's our March newsletter, full of the usual
announcements about events and workshops happening here at LCSD,
plus news from our friends. All the details are on the
Centre's website and the immediate highlights
are listed later in this newsletter.
Like many organisations we are making sure that you are happy with
the mailing details we have for you in time for the new data
protection legislation: please look out for our messages about this
in due course.
This month our reflection is from Antonia Lynn, our Community
Warden and Referrals Co-ordinator (and trustee) who invites us to
explore how seeing and being seen is encountered in spiritual
I want to share with you some thoughts about this
time of year, inspired by what’s happening in my own community.
“I am very fond of being looked at.” So said
Gwendolyn in Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, but I
suspect that not all of us could agree. Feeling that we are under
scrutiny is not comfortable. And yet, on the third fourth and fifth
Sundays of Lent, in the Catholic Church we celebrate what we call
“the Scrutinies”, special rites at Mass for those preparing for
baptism at Easter. These rites involve the whole of the community:
we pray for those to be baptised, and we are also reminded of our
own baptism and journey into faith - a journey which, in truth,
The prayer in the Scrutinies is twofold: first, for
grace and the gifts we need to nourish and strengthen us along the
way; secondly, for freedom from all that blinds or binds or hinders
us. In the Ignatian tradition we would say freedom from inordinate
attachments and from what lures us to the standard of the enemy
rather than that of Christ.
The context of the Scrutinies is the narrative of
encounter. The Mass gospels are those of the Samaritan woman at the
well, the man born blind and the raising of Lazarus. They are all
stories of being looked at, of being truly seen by
Jesus; they are stories of grace and freedom. Jesus looks at the
woman, and he sees through the difference and the shame and the
rackety lifestyle to the beautiful, thirsty child of God. He looks
at the blind man, and sees through the theories of blame and
retribution to the faith of one who desires healing. He looks at
Lazarus, and sees through the stink of death and rules of
uncleanness to the friend he loves.
In each encounter there is also a theophany - God
also lets himself be scrutinised. And because the stories come to
us from John’s gospel, in each one we hear spoken the name of God: I Am. We
hear it among the trivialities about wells and buckets, and through
Martha’s cries of anger and grief. And in the blind man’s story?
That’s perhaps the most shocking of all: it is the blind man
himself, now seeing, who says “I am he” (in the Greek it’s simply I Am, just
like the others). As Irenaeus put it: “Jesus Christ, through his
boundless love, became what we are so that we might become what he
is.” Imagine the growing excitement of those to be baptised
at the thought of what awaits: to be healed, to be set free to bear
witness, to “put on Christ”.
Seeing and being seen. What has this to do with
spiritual direction? Well… can you remember your first meeting with
the person who is now your spiritual director? Did you wonder where
to begin, what to share? Often underneath those questions are ones
that say “is there anything I can’t share? Will they be shocked?
Feel they can’t work with someone like me?” So often the people I
see who are looking for a spiritual director tell me they want
someone who will make them feel safe and accepted. To challenge,
yes, but to see them as they are and not judge them.
And directors: do we sometimes forget just who is
coming to see us? Is the person at the door just another name in
the diary for today, or someone who will show us - often
surprisingly - a face of the Divine. The loving gaze of God flows
both ways. This, I think, is the most wonderful, disturbing and
amazing thing about spiritual direction. As Margaret Silf says, in
such an encounter “God-in-you is listening to” - and looking at -
“God-in -the-other.” Or, in Anthony de Mello’s words, “behold God
beholding you - and smiling”.
Enjoy blessings, grace and freedom in this holy
Workshops and Offerings
Open Evening - Encounter
Thursday 12 April 2018, 6 - 9pm
Who trains as a spiritual director/companion? What
does the course involve? The session will be led by Julie
Dunstan, Director of Encounter. We will start at 6pm. Please come
any time after 5.30pm for tea/coffee. During the evening there will
be an opportunity to meet some of the tutors and current students
on the course. Book your free place at Eventbrite.
Treasures of Darkness: Working with the Shadow in Spiritual
Direction 4 May
2018, 11 - 4pm
What is our Shadow? What do we do with those sides of our self that
are not so easy to include in our spiritual journey? How does the
Shadow relate to our inner freedom and fullness of life? Anne will
help us explore ways of understanding and working with the Shadow
for ourselves and for those we accompany. Book at Eventbrite.
Your Life: Discernment and Vocation in Spiritual Direction 18 May
2018, 11 - 4pm
An opportunity to reflect on issues which arise at times of
transition and discernment. Change may be a choice, with new
decisions emerging from exploring a sense of direction, or we may
have to find a new sense of vocation in different circumstances
which life presents to us. What themes might we encounter in
listening to vocational questions and what resources might we draw
on? (Rescheduled from 2 March) Book at Eventbrite.
Exploring Healing in Spiritual Direction: Creative
Reflections from a Therapeutic Community 1 June
2018, 11 - 4pm
Elizabeth Baxter & Helen Warwick
This day is for those interested in exploring healing through
spiritual accompaniment. It will explore some practical, creative
and theological approaches of working with others for healing. This
interactive day will give space and time for linking into our own
healing journeys. Book at Eventbrite.
Challenges: Spiritual Direction and Evangelical Spirituality 13 July
2018, 11 - 4pm
Dawn Pointing & Val Smith
Until recently, spiritual direction was a foreign concept in most
evangelical and charismatic circles. But now, many are engaging in
this ministry, sometimes for the first time. Whilst acknowledging
there is much variety within the evangelical world, this will be a
day to explore the distinctive gifts and challenges this tradition
brings. How can we most helpfully accompany those from this
background given its theology, its language and its understanding
of the spiritual life? Book at Eventbrite.
From Our Friends...
Seven Last Words from the Cross
Wednesday 28 March 2018, 1pm
We are delighted once again to host Haydn’s The Seven Last Words
from the Cross, performed by string quartet:Penny
Saunders (Violin), Helen Saunders (Violin), Alan Thorogood (Viola)
and Francis Saunders (Cello). Our Director, Neil Evans, will be
giving an introduction before the performance. Come and enjoy.
Reflective Days at RFSK
One of the offerings from our friends at the Royal Foundation of St
Katharine is their regular reflective days
throughout the year. The next one is on 12 March,
and check out their website for other datesand lots
of other happenings.
Wholeness and Holiness
CORNERSTONE 2018 ANNUAL LECTURE
Sunday 18 March 2018 2pm – 4.30pm
(Registration from 2pm, Lecture starts at 2.30pm)
Exploring the interface between psychology and spirituality
through the lens of psychotherapy and spiritual direction
Comprehensive information about the Ignatian Spirituality Course
may be found on our website:www.artsd.org.uk
ART ALL COMPASSION RETREAT 15 –
17 June 2018
Led by John-Francis Friendship
This weekend retreat, set in the context of silence, invites you to
enter into the compassionate heart of God through different
perspectives – the Heart of the Father; the Heart in Silence; the
Heart of Compassion; the Heart’s Gaze, and the Heart’s
Softener. Go to Compassion Retreat
2018 for more information.
Elizabeth White and Lynette Harborne, both spiritual
directors, supervisors and trainers, are interested in exploring
the potential for an accreditation scheme. At LCSD we
are following this with interest. Read more and
take part in the consultation