In our first issue of Xaverian Spirituality we explored Jan van Ruusbroec’s image of the Valley of Humility through art, writing, and reflection. In this issue, Volume 1, Number 2, we ask how the image of the Valley of Humility informs our spiritual practice day-to-day.
All of our contributors from the first issue have returned to encounter this question of integrative spiritual practice. To speak of spiritual matters is one thing, but to attend to the Spirit within, to cultivate humility through spiritual practice–whatever that may mean–is something, perhaps, more enigmatic in its thirst to become concrete. Is it not easier to speak of spiritual matters than it is to live a life of and in the Spirit?
We like to toil with ideas, to create paths to God in the abstract. This is, on the one hand, a human gift. On the other hand, if we are to make the claim that we are spiritual beings, then we must encounter and manifest the Spirit’s call within us. We long for a more immediate contact with the divine and we struggle to find ways to facilitate this contact in our lives.
Our contributors have discovered that if we are to have this immediate contact with the divine, then it can only happen in the ordinary experiences of our daily lives. In “God on the Run,” Brother Joseph Pawlika, speaks of how we “lift the veil” that covers the divine presence in our ordinary lives, through an honest and humble self-examination. In addition to offering another beautiful interpretation of the theme through his painting, Brother Ed Rice, in “Attentiveness to God’s Presence,” also reflects on appraising his relationships with others, especially those relationships that are challenging. Cathy Reynolds, in “The Sunflower Dilemma,” reveals how the simple act of gardening awakens her to how the weeds of her life choke the Spirit and block her ways to God. Gail Dennig analyzes her early morning prayer practice in “Daily Prayer a Work in Progress,” humbly disposing herself to pathways of spiritual growth which her daily life offers her. Jeanette Suflita, in her reflection “The Dance of Prayer” describes her experience of learning to pray as the endless rehearsal of the dancer, an image both ordinary and filled with humility.
At the end of her reflection, Jeannette asks to hear about your prayer rhythms and the ways God moves in your lives. And so we invite you not only to respond within the comments on this website, but also to submit to us for review and possible publication those personal reflections, thoughts, or artwork that your dialogue with this theme evokes.
Our hope is that we may help each other discover a way that is ours, perhaps even uniquely Xaverian, through our ongoing shared dialogue and reflection.
Alice Hession, Christopher Irr, Brother Lawrence Harvey, Brother John Hamilton
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