"Without any understanding of man's deep-seated urge to self-transcend, of his very reluctance to take the hard, ascending way, and his search for some bogus liberation either below or to one side of his personality, we cannot hope to make sense of our own particular period of history or indeed of history in general, of life as it was lived in the past and as it is lived today. For this reason I propose to discuss some of the more common Grace-substitutes, into which and by means of which men and women have tried to escape from the tormenting consciousness of being merely themselves. .... human beings have felt the radical inadequacy of their personal existence, the misery of being their insulated selves and not something else, something wider, something in Wordsworthian phrase, 'far more deeply interfused'." (Aldous
Huxley, "Appendix" from The Devils of Loudun, Penguin Books, 1971, 313f.)

Course: Developing Your Own Spirituality, Unit I

Mystery & Freedom, Participation & Possibility

JMarieWEB201401JMichael Whelan 2
Starts Thursday 6 August

The aim of this course is to assist participants to develop an approach to everyday living which will promote a well-grounded personal spirituality. Spirituality is first and last about relationships – with God (however you name God), yourself, other people and the events and things of the world. Spirituality is never private though it is always personal. It begins by listening effectively – “with the ear of the heart” as St Benedict says – to what is going on.

Listening enables awakening, Awakening enables freedom. Freedom is at the heart of being fully alive. Spirituality comes as gift, not conquest, by facilitation, not mastery. Spirituality is graced emergence, a being loved into freedom!

Specifically Christian spirituality is an awakening to Jesus Christ at the heart of life, “the Way”.

Participants will be given notes to read in preparation for each session. They will also be encouraged to do listening exercises to facilitate the integration of the material in the notes. Sessions will blend input with conversation. Throughout, the assumption is that adults bring a wealth of experience to the table.

Facilitators/Presenters: Michael Whelan SM PhD and Marie Biddle RSJ MA MTh
Where: Aquinas Academy, Level 5, 141 Harrington Street, The Rocks, Sydney
When: Four Thursday mornings, 10am - 12noon, 6 - 27 August, 2020 
(Note: This is a repeat of the February 2020 Course)
Cost: $150/person (including notes)

PLEASE register before the course starts so that notes will be available.
For more information: Tel 02 9247 4651 or Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Policy concerning payment of fees: No one shall be excluded for inability to pay fees. Under these circumstances, a donation will be accepted without question.

Week 1 – Life is a mystery to be lived not a problem to be solved: We are questioning beings. We will never be without questions. If we allow it, our questioning brings us to wonder, awe and reverence. The inexhaustible intelligibility of creation draws us, not to “answers” but to “presence” – into the Presence that pervades all things – if we allow it! Spirituality is about awakening to this natural process and facilitating its life-giving potential.

Week 2 - Spirituality is about freedom: Freedom is of the essence! Our capacity to participate freely in the world is dependent on a number of factors. Freedom can be expanded or diminished. It is up to us. The Christian vision of life may be summed up as follows: As God is loving you into freedom, be in the world in such a way that God may love others into freedom through you.

Week 3 - Spirituality is about participation: The human journey takes place within a dynamic context of five interacting poles: pre-formation (the givens with which we are born), intra-formation (the inner mental, emotional and spiritual needs, possibilities and limits), inter-formation (the relationships with have with other human beings), immediate situation-formation (the influences at work in our immediate environment) and remote world-formation (the influences at work in the wider world); a rich and life-giving journey acknowledges all five poles of the field of formation.

Week 4 - Spirituality is about our best possibilities: A metaphor will be used to explore our best possibilities: How we appear (“apparent form”), the stages of development and growth (“current form”), more or less lasting form developed early in life and confirmed by life’s experiences and personal choices (“core form”) and in terms of the deepest truth of one’s being (“foundational life form”), all grounded in and expressive of the Eternal Form; the challenge is to develop increasing freedom and transparency at all levels so that the Eternal Form may emerge in and through our unique and communal form.

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