Posts from the community Discovering the Augustinian charism of Interiority - Hozana

Discovering the Augustinian charism of Interiority

Discovering the Augustinian charism of Interiority

Finding your hidden treasure - the way of silent prayer

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Part 4 - Discovering Our True Selves / Chapter 37 - Streams of Living Water

Many people wanting to make spiritual progress, wanting to know God and his love, fall into the trap of starting from the outside and working inwards, beginning with outer virtues and hoping little by little to change within. But for Augustine change...

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Part 4 - Discovering Our True Selves / Chapter 36 - The Fruitful Vine

Then Jesus spoke of himself on the night before he died as the true vine in his Father’s vineyard, he promised to abide with us and to nourish us. He told his disciples: ‘I am the vine and you are the branches. Whoever remains in me, with...

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Part 4 - Discovering Our True Selves / Chapter 35 - God Loves Us

`Real isn’t how you are made,’ said the Skin Horse in Margery Williams’ book, The Velveteen Rabbit. ‘It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time,’ he continued, ‘not just to...

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Part 4 - Discovering Our True Selves / Chapter 34 - The Eye of the Heart

When we were young novices the obligation to keep silence at meals or between certain hours, and the great silence after night prayers until morning recreation, seemed a kind of restriction, a penance. How little we understood the great value of sile...

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Part 4 - Discovering Our True Selves / Chapter 33 - The Teacher Within

Augustine would tell us that we have all we need for our spiritual journey because we have within us the greatest of all teachers, Christ himself. ‘Christ lives in the heart of each one of us, and he is our best teacher,’ he writes. &lsqu...

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Part 4 - Discovering Our True Selves / Chapter 32 - Lord, Who Am I?

To see ourselves and how our mind behaves can be the beginning of a new life. It can be daunting, too. In the silence, maybe for the  first time in my life I am observing my thoughts instead of being dragged along by them. I am standing back fro...

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Part 4 - Discovering Our True Selves / Chapter 31 - Seeing With New Eyes

Christine, a friend of mine, was introduced to silent prayer during a retreat in Wales at the age of 40 plus. Some time after returning home, she realised she was seeing herself and her life with new eyes. ‘The first thing that became clearer t...

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Part 3 - We Shall Rest and ... / Chapter 30 - Watching What God is Doing

The kind of spirituality and prayer many of us have been used to is concerned with making things happen, asking God to do things for us, trying to do things for God. Our prayer of stillness is all about being with God without any agenda. It is about ...

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Part 3 - We Shall Rest and We Shall See / Chapter 29 - Just Be There

The prayer of silence and stillness is widely promoted as a cure for modern life’s frenzy. And it may be that this is what first draws us to it. But as we grow to love this form of prayer, it is not for its side effects that we persevere. After...

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Part 3 - We Shall Rest and We Shall See / Chapter 28 - As Simple As a Child

A young friend of mine, a busy teacher, explained in a letter how he had struggled for many years to find the ‘right’ way to pray, and how silent prayer came as a great shock because of its total simplicity. He discovered there is no spec...

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Part 3 - We Shall Rest and ... / Chapter 27 - ‘Everything Looked Different'

Silent prayer is there for everyone. It appeals to all ages. Once, when giving a retreat in North Wales, I was asked by the sister in charge if I would talk to the young people who were connected with the community. ‘I hope you don’t mind...

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Part 3 - We Shall Rest and We Shall See / Chapter 26 - Patient Waiting

How long we spend resting in the Lord before our vision clears can sometimes depend on how harassed or weary we are when we come to pray. For most of us the time needed in our modern world is long, longer than we believe.Some years ago I learned the ...

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Part 3 - We Shall Rest and We Shall See / Chapter 25 - Bill's Taizé Experience

In our deep resting with the Lord we, too, have the experience of awakening with a cleansed and healed vision. We see in a way that we have never seen before. We come to realise how unaware we have been. In ordinary life we are blind to much of what ...

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Part 3 - We Shall Rest and We Shall See / Chapter 24 - He Closes Our Eyes

Augustine relates in his Confessions that long before he accepted Christ and his gospel he was being led into a place of quietness. Looking back years after his conversion he saw that God had been enveloping him in his love, drawing him, unawares, in...

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Part 3 - We Shall Rest and We Shall See / Chapter 23 - ‘Come to Me'

A few years ago, on the third day of a retreat I was giving, a loud knock on the door of the room set aside for seeing people heralded the arrival of the oldest sister in the community. She wanted ‘a few minutes’.Sitting down, she said: &...

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Part 3 - We Shall Rest and ... / Ch. 22 - Giving Ourselves Permission to Rest

Once, a woman arriving for an eight-day retreat seemed to me to be utterly exhausted. So for her first day she took my advice to sit in the garden and admire the budding blossoms. It was early spring.The second day came. I asked her to continue to si...

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Part 3 - We Shall Rest and We Shall See / Chapter 21 - Steeped in Quietness

A short description in Augustine’s book The City of God offers us, I believe, a perfect model for silent prayer.In the final paragraph he describes the process, as he sees it, by which we enter into our life with God in eternity.He writes: &lsq...

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Part 2 - Be Still and Know / Chapter 20 - ‘The Womb of Silence'

Our response to the invitation, ‘Be still and know that I am God,’ is beautifully summed up in the following reflection by an unknown writer.THE WOMB OF SILENCENot in the whirlwind, not in the lightning,not in the strife of tongues,or in ...

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Part 2 - Be Still and Know / Chapter 19 - Quelling the Tempest

If our lives are in turmoil we may feel that there is no way to quieten the din in our mind. But we are wrong. Even though the surface of our lives may be deeply disturbed, there is always a place deep within where there is calm.Getting in touch with...

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Part 2 - Be Still and Know / Chapter 18 - The Din in the Mind

Discovering inner peace is not always easy, as Augustine himself found. In his Confessions he recalls: ‘The sound of your secret melody I could not catch no matter how hard I tried. My heart was deafened by the din of my mind.’Augustine w...

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Part 2 - Be Still and Know / Chapter 17 - Wait for the Lord

We may sometimes become aware that the wonderful invitation to enter into the quiet place within is in conflict with our present state of mind or feelings. We hear the invitation but our mood is contrary. What are we to do?I remember that once, on a ...

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Part 2 - Be Still and Know / Chapter 16 - A Quiet Place

In our journey into silence we are not left on our own. What we are invited to do is to find a quiet place and set aside some time.To find a quiet place where we can rest and allow the Lord to gather us into his peace we do not have to look far. That...

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Part 2 - Be Still and Know / Chapter 15 - Trying to Do All the Right Things

The first time she was introduced to silent prayer a teacher friend of mine in Stafford had a great sense of coming home to God. ‘When I came to pray before, all the tenseness in my life seemed to be accentuated. I had had 40 years in a classro...

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Part 2 - Be Still and Know / Chapter 14 - Coming Home

The journey inward which Augustine invites us to make is a kind of homecoming.For Augustine, the heart is not the place of emotions but the place of richest, deepest thought and peace. It is the centre of our being, where we are totally ourselves, ou...

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Part 2 - Be Still and Know / Chapter 13 - Take a Little Word

There are many ways of beginning the inward journey to our own hearts. We shall each find the way that suits us best.But The Cloud of Unknowing suggests one very simple way. ‘When you sit down to pray in quietness and feel that God is calling y...

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Part 2 - Be Still and Know / Chapter 12 - A Mother's Story

On the day that the mother of three young boys was told she was seriously ill, she sat by the river and wrote the following lines:The river flows eternally, just as your spirit is flowing through me.At first just a ripple on the surface of my being, ...

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Part 2 - Be Still and Know / Chapter 11 - Our Notion of God

Many of us have been brought up to see God as one who chooses us, or who calls us, a demanding God who selects us for some purpose. We are not sure what his plan for us is. We worry about our response. We worry about becoming indifferent. We worry ab...

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Part 2 - Be Still and Know / Chapter 10 - Choosing the Better Part

Augustine links the story of Martha and Mary with Psalm 46.Mary, he says, had truly heard the psalm’s promise, ‘Be still and know that I am God.’ He sees the scene this way.‘While Martha was busy seeing to all the serving, Mar...

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Part 2 - Be Still and Know / Chapter 9 - Discovering God in Silence

Waiting for God in silence, being still so that God may reveal his presence, is part of the teaching of the Scriptures.In Lamentations we read: ‘It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord … It is good to sit al...

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Part 1 - Our Lost Treasure / Chapter 8 - Knitting Before the Face of God

How we each find our own treasure is illustrated for me by a delightful story in Metropolitan Anthony’s School for Prayer. He tells about an old lady who visited him shortly after he became a priest in the Orthodox church. She wanted his advice...

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Part 1 - Our Lost Treasure / Chapter 7 - Looking in the Right Place

There is a story told by the American-born teacher, Gangaji, in The Diamond in your Pocket, of a thief who stole only the most exquisite gems. He would hang around the diamond district to see who was buying the gems, so that later he could pick their...

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Part 1 - Our Lost Treasure / Chapter 6 - God Dwells Within

Augustine always sees the spiritual journey not as a going out, to find God outside, but as a journey inwards. ‘He bade me shut the door of our secret chamber and pray in secret,’ he writes. ‘That is, in the soundless secret places ...

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Part 1 - Our Lost Treasure / Chapter 5 - Searching for Truth and Wisdom

As Brian Lowery, founder of the Augustinian community in San Gimignano, said during a retreat, ‘Augustine is probably more popularly known for what he was converted from than what he was eventually converted to. His earlier life with its youthf...

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Part 1 - Our Lost Treasure / Chapter 4 - Return to Your Heart

For those who may not know much about him, Augustine of Hippo grew up in North Africa, in the remote part of the Roman Empire that is now Algeria. His mother Monica was a Christian. His father, Patricius, was a pagan.Augustine had a restless and trou...

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Part 1 - Our Lost Treasure / Chapter 3 - We Shall Find God

It has been a great joy for me, translating Augustine over the years and finding words that do justice to the music of his Latin. There is a wealth of spiritual gold hidden among the five million or more words that he wrote. Hidden, because we come a...

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Part 1 - Our Lost Treasure / Chapter 2 - Spiritual Gold

Prayer without words is not new. It is older than Christianity itself and was a rich part of the Christian tradition up to medieval times. It is only in our own lifetime that we have woken up to the fact that here in the West for 600 or so years the ...

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Part I - Our Lost Treasure / Chapter 1 - Sitting There All Peaceful and Quiet

Some time ago an elderly lady complained to me that she could no longer pray. ‘Father,’ she said, ‘I can’t pray like I used to. I come here to church after my shopping and sit here all peaceful and quiet.But,’ she sighed...

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INTRODUCTION - A Boyhood Dream

At the age of 16, I made a chance visit to a Cistercian monastery. On the way home from boarding school for the Christmas holidays my friend Joe was breaking the long train journey to visit his brother, who was then a novice at Mount Melleray Abbey i...

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