"If we take a more living and more Christian perspective we find in ourselves a simple affirmation which is not of ourselves. It simply is. In our being there is a primordial yes that is not our own; it is not at our own disposal; it is not accessible to our inspection and understanding; we do not even fully experience it as real (except in rare and unique ' is something they never advert to at all. It is in fact absolutely unconscious, totally forgotten. Basically, however, my being is not an of Being itself, irrespective of my own choices. "Where do 'I' come in? Simply in uniting the 'yes' of my own freedom with the 'yes' of Being that already is before I have chosen to choose." [Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander, Image Books, 1968/1989, 266]

Courses

Film Lectio II - A Human Search and The New Creation in Christ

JBede Griffiths
Starts 10am Wed May 22
Repeated 6pm Wed May 22

Born into English middle class in 1906 and Oxford educated, Bede Griffiths OSB was a brilliant religious scholar and prolific author. This film tells his story, from his experiment with communal living in the English countryside, to his decision to become a Benedictine brother, and his creation of a meeting place for East and West at an ashram in Southern India. It was there he spent his last 37 years as a Catholic monk living as a Hindu holyman.

He wrote many books widely viewed as spiritual classics, including The Golden String, Return to the Center, A New Vision of Reality, and The Marriage of East and West.

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Course: Thomas Aquinas on Charity

Rev Dr Andrew Murray sm
JAndrew Murray sm
Starts Tuesday June 4

This course will involve a careful reading of section of Saint Thomas Aquinas’s writings on charity, centred on Summa Theologiae II-II qq. 23 – 27. Students will be introduced to Thomas and instructed in how to read his work. Thomas understands charity as a habit created in the human soul by the Holy Spirit. Its object is God, who without grace is beyond the human will. In loving God, a person loves other human beings in so far as they are ordered to God. In this way, Thomas unites the commandments of the Gospel.

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Course: Unmasking Violence - Reimagining the Gospel with René Girard

JSusan Connelly rsj
Susan Connelly rsj, PhD
Starts 10am Wednesday June 12

René Girard has been called "the new Darwin of the human sciences". His insights into the origins of violence are sheer gift to our modern world.

This course will be an exploration of some of his thought, with personal and global application. It will investigate aspects of human imitation which show how we are all interdependent. The consequent realities of rivalry, scapegoating, sacrifice and violence will be explored using Girard's work in various disciplines, including literature.

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Days of Solitude and Silence 2019

WEB Nazareth 05

Next Date: July 27

Aquinas Academy has a place of solitude and silence called "Nazareth". It is situated 75 minutes from the Sydney CBD at Colo.

We organize special days on which we take small groups there for a few hours of solitude and silence.

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Course: Laudato Si’ - Care of our common home

Jwinton01JMichaelWhelan
Starts 10am Thu August 1

The Pope’s 2015 ground-breaking encyclical about the current ecological crisis, Laudato Si’, sought a wide readership both inside and outside the Catholic Church. Not only has it succeeded in this endeavour, it has received strong praise from influential commentators from many diverse backgrounds. For instance, Robert Manne – one of Australia’s leading public intellectuals and a secular Jew – calls it ‘one of the most important documents of our era’.

The encyclical focuses on climate change – the main facet of today’s multi-faceted environmental crisis.

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Course: Restorative Dialogue - The Explicit Practice of Relationships

JTerry OConnell
Terry O'Connell OAM
Starts 10am Tues Aug 6

In this series of talks, you will be invited on a ‘journey’ to discover how restorative dialogue helps build and sustain healthy relationships. Estrangement and separation often result from our inability to deal with vulnerability. By understanding the ‘why’ of relationships, the ‘what’ we do to strengthen those relationships becomes more purposeful.

Restorative dialogue focuses on harm and relationships, rather than blame and consequences. It involves conversations about inclusion, respectful challenge and learning. Its explicit nature helps us to better understand self and others.

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Course: The Mystics - Pathfinders to the Spiritual

JSr. Patty Andrew
Sr. Patty Andrew osu 
Starts 10am Tue Sept 3

Three sessions will be presented by Sr. Patty Andrew osu, featuring several men and women from the Christian mystical tradition who have illuminated the mystical path for those seeking a heart understanding of the divine.

The first session will offer a brief introduction to the nature of mysticism. It will then explore the mystical heart of Francis of Assisi and his desire to be continuously in the presence of the crucified one. Following this we will visit the mystical writings of Hildergard of Bingen and enter these through her frequently used Latin word “Viriditas.” Such a word for Hildergard conveys vitality, fecundity, fruitfulness, verdure, abundance and growth.

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Course: The Holy Spirit in the Gospel of St John

Dr Robert Tilley
JTrinity Window
Starts Wednesday Sep 25

John’s Gospel is often styled the ‘sacramental Gospel’ in that it has much to say about baptism and the Eucharist. And yet the odd thing is that this is the only Gospel not to include the words of the institution of the Eucharist, instead it includes an account of Jesus’ promises to the Apostles. Chief among these promises is that of the sending of the Holy Spirit.

But this sending, the Apostles are told, is dependent on Jesus ascending to the Father. Then, when He comes, the Holy Spirit will glorify the ascended Jesus and make Him truly and really present in the Apostolic Church.

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Course: The Poetry of Grace V

Sacred Silence in T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets with a special focus on “Little Gidding”.
JMichaelGriffith
Starts Wednesday Nov 6

This four part seminar series will explore the ways in which poetry seeks to express the inexpressible. In T.S. Eliot’s own words from “Burnt Norton” ( the first of the four quartets):

Words move, music moves
Only in time; but that which is only living
Can only die. Words, after speech, reach
Into the silence. Only by the form, the pattern
Can words or music reach
The stillness, as a Chinese jar still
Moves perpetually in its stillness.

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