BECOMING FRIENDS WITH GOD
A Workshop with
Sarah Lewis & Fr. Luke Buckles, O.P.
For many of us, the prayers of petition and intercession we pray in church satisfy our desire for connection with God. But some of us wonder if there is more. As it turns out, there is more. Over the centuries, people have found ways of praying that can open up a whole new experience of relating with God. These kinds of prayer have been called “mystical” although there is nothing strange about them, and those known as "mystics" are the people who have sought to get to know God in a more personal way than usually happens in communal worship settings.
To give yourself an opportunity to explore these types of prayer and ways of connecting with God, in a group with others who are interested in the same thing, consider coming to courses offered at St. Cuthbert’s Episcopal Church this summer.
PRAY LIKE A MYSTIC Part I - $125
July 11 - 15, 9:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
This is an introduction to the various types of prayer, including the Jesus prayer, lectio divina, Ignatian-style praying, centering prayer and mindfulness. The historical background, the saints connected with each type of prayer, and a chance to try each one are part of the course.
PRAY LIKE A MYSTIC Part II (Pre-requisite, Part I) - $125
July 18 - 22, 9:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Using the methods of prayer taught in the first week, we go deeper into connecting with God. We explore symbols, experiment with new images of God, explore Trinitarian mysticism, and encounter “Fusion Prayer”© -- a way of bringing mindfulness together with sitting in the presence of God.
Instructors: Sarah Lewis (Episcopalian) (All Souls in Berkeley) & Fr. Luke Buckles (Dominican)
+ Sarah is a spiritual director who has been working in Berkeley since 1993.
+ Luke teaches Spirituality at the GTU, and at the Angelicum in Rome.
They have been teaching these courses together since 1998. This is the first time the courses have been offered outside of the Graduate Theological Union.
These courses are open to people of every denomination and religion.
Suggested donation is $125/course per week.
Place of classes:
St. Cuthbert’s Episcopal Church
7932 Mountain Blvd.
Oakland, CA 94605
Free parking available
Directions: (Take Rt 580 East, exit Keller Ave., go left over freeway - the church is on the corner of Mountain Blvd and Keller Ave.)
To sign up: send us an email, with your first and last name and phone number. Please indicate which class you would like to attend.
For information and registration contact: Tom Slocumb (510) 978-2886: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sarah Victoria Lewis
Sarah was born in Fort Worth Texas in 1947, and baptized in the Episcopal church. Because her father was a choir director, she was exposed to several different Protestant denominations as a child, but joined the Episcopal girl’s choir at St. Michael and All Angels in Concord, Ca and was confirmed. She finished a B.A. in Italian at Cal Berkeley in 1968, and became one of the many young people in her generation seeking spiritual truth.
She stayed at a Cenacle Retreat House (Roman Catholic) in Carmichael Ca for 3 1/2 months in 1971. There she was introduced to the basics of prayer and discernment. This experience was a revelation and set the direction of her life. She returned to the Cenacle a year later to make the Ignatian Exercises. After that, Christ became the focus of her life. She lived at a Christian commune in Northern California for 2 ½ years.
Later she went back to school at CSUH in Religious Studies. She studied Systematic Theology (Buddhist and Christian) at Pacific School of Religion (M.A. 1992) and also Applied Spirituality at USF (M.A.S. 1996). People started coming to her for spiritual direction in 1993 and that has been her primary occupation ever since. She lives in Berkeley, gardens and loves cats. In 1990, she joined All soul’s Episcopal Church in Berkeley.
She met Fr Luke Buckles when she took his course in Christian mysticism in 1989. They have enjoyed teaching together since 1998.
“I felt I received the secret treasures of the church at the Cenacle, and sharing those gifts with other people has been my joy ever since.”
The sisters drilled two things into me: God likes people and really wants to communicate with them, and, everyone can learn to perceive Him/Her. I was amazed that I didn‘t have to be ‘holy‘ or a ‘saint‘ or someone special. I was just me, and that was enough.”
“Also, because I didn’t know anything about prayer or listening for God, and they taught me, I have a lot of confidence anyone can learn.”
To read a whimsical paper by Sarah entitled: “Drop Kick Me Jesus though the Goal Posts of Life” visit the following website http://www.pcts.org/meetings/dropkick.html
Fr. Luke Buckles, O.P.
Luke was born April 22, 1949, in Des Moines, Iowa. Raised a Lutheran, he had his first exposure to Catholicism at age 10 and was received into the Church in his late teens. On his way toward a career in medicine he heard the call to priesthood and the Dominicans. After completing his B.A., in Anthropology and Psychology at UCSD 1972, he entered the Dominicans in September, 1972. He was ordained to the priesthood March 17, 1978. He continued his education, concluding with a Doctorate in Theology, 1985. He then began teaching at the Dominican School in Berkeley, CA. In 2005 he was invited to teach at the Angelicum in Rome, and returns to Berkeley only to teach the summer course “Pray Like a Mystic” with Sarah.
Luke has a deep devotion to St. Thomas Aquinas and speaks of Thomas’ teaching that it is “God’s will to be our friend,” and also his understanding that “the spiritual life is the real life of the Christian.”
Luke believes that the most important thing about prayer is that it is a relationship, a dialogue, not a monologue.
He wrote the chapter on Christianity for The Complete Idiot's Guide to World's Religions by Brandon Toropov and Luke Buckles.
To read an article by Luke about dealing with injustice and forgiveness entitled: “Naming the Nails: The Pain of Injustice and the Gift of Compassion”.
Course Descriptions and Syllabus
PRAY LIKE A MYSTIC I
Fr. Luke Buckles, o.p., and Sarah Lewis, (Episcopalian)
July 11-15, 2010, Monday through Friday, 9:000 AM to 12:30 PM
This is a user-friendly, hands-on course. We will cover the traditional methods of mystical Christian prayer, and link each type of prayer to one or more of the well-known mystics associated with that form of prayer including: the Desert Fathers, Benedict of Nursia, Ignatius of Loyola, Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Thomas Merton, Jonathan Edwards, and Seraphim of Sarov. We will seek to understand how the styles of prayer fit with the historical and cultural settings as well as with the personalities and ministries of the mystics.
Prayer techniques will be taught in class, with time to try them and discuss them. Class members will be encouraged to adapt the methods in ways that help them feel more connected to God.
Day 1: Definitions of mystic, mysticism.
Theology of Christian mysticism.
Evagrius Ponticus, Anthony of Egypt--Desert Prayer.
Jonathan Edwards--Experiencing God in nature.
Day 2: St. Seraphim of Sarov--Jesus Prayer.
St. Benedict--Lectio Divina.
Day 3: St. Ignatius of Loyola--Interactive Scripture prayer
(Praying with the imagination).
St. Teresa of Avila--Intimacy with Jesus.
Day 4: St. Catherine of Siena--Contemplative Prayer.
St. John of the Cross--Apophatic prayer. (Centering Prayer)
Day 5: Thomas Merton: Infusion from the East
-- Mindfulness, Walking meditations.
PRAY LIKE A MYSTIC II
Luke Buckles, o.p. and Sarah Lewis (Episcopalian)
July 18-22, 2010, Monday through Friday 9 AM to 12:30 PM
PREREQUISITE: Pray Like A Mystic Part I
We continue investigating methods of encountering God in activity and silence: exploring discernment; interpreting spiritual experience; working with fears and playing with doubts in the context of the Christian mystical tradition. We look more deeply into the theologies of several of the mystics of “Pray Like a Mystic I,” and meet Therese of Lisieux, Margery Kempe, Bonaventure, Mother Teresa, and John Maximovitch. Certain aspects of the lives or writings of these mystics exemplify each point we cover. Buddhist and Christian practice are brought together in “Fusion Prayer” © - a form of mystical prayer that unites contemplative Trinitarian mysticism with the holistic human experience of mindfulness. There is more time for prayer and reflection. We encourage treating the course as a retreat.
Day 1: Concepts of God; Transference -- Exercises
Catherine of Siena -- Exercise: Symbols of God
Day 2: Discernment: Hearing God's voice
Interpreting Spiritual Experience
John of the Cross -- Apophatic prayer
Day 3: Getting Real with God: Surrender to "What Is"
Thérèse of Lisieux -- Mindfulness
Margery Kempe -- Take a Risk with God
Day 4: Trinitarian Life
Elizabeth of the Trinity -- Prayer Exercise
Bonaventure -- Fusion Prayer
Day 5: Integrating Spiritual Life and Social Activity:
Mother Teresa -- Fusion Prayer
St. John Maximovitch of San Francisco
PRAY LIKE A MYSTIC PARTS I & II 2011
SUPLEMENTARY READING (NOT REQUIRED)
Prayer: finding the heart's true home, Richard Foster
When in Doubt Sing, Jane Redmont
Finding God, Ken Kaisch (Out of print, but findable)
Any book on personal prayer by William Barry, S.J.
Ascent of Mount Carmel. St. John of the Cross
Autobiography. Interior Castle. St. Teresa of Avila
Autobiography. Ignatius of Loyola
Autobiography of St Therese of Lisieux: The Story of a Soul.
Dialogues. St. Catherine of Sienna
Spiritual Narratives. Susan Houchins: Schomburg Library of Black Women Writers.
Autobiography of Margery Kempe
Collected Works. St. John of the Cross
Dialogues. St. Catherine of Sienna
Enduring Grace. Flinders
Ignatius Loyola the Mystic. Harvey Egan
Life of Anthony, Athanasius
Mother Teresa. Gjergji, Lush
Mysticism. Evelyn Underhill
Rees Howells Intercessor, By Norman Grubb
Russian Mystics. Sergius Bolshakoff; intro. by Thomas Merton.
Kalamazoo: Michigan; Cistercian Publications, 1980, c1976.
St. Seraphim of Sarov. Valentine Zander
The Way of a Pilgrim.
Women mystics in medieval Europe. [edited by] Emilie Zum Brunn, Georgette Epiney-Burgard, New York, NY : Paragon House, 1989.
The Foundations of Mysticism, The Growth of Mysticism by Bernard McGinn
Christian Spirituality, ed. McGinn. In three volumes
TECHNIQUE AND PROCESS
Cloud of Unknowing.
Open Heart, Open Mind. Thomas Keating (or other centering prayer instructions)
The Practice of Prayer. Margaret Guenther
Sadhana, a Way to God: Christian exercises in Eastern form. Anthony De Mello
The Soul's Journey into God. Bonaventure (trans. Ewert Cousins)