A Comprehensive Spiritual Practices Resource at Your Fingertips

Andre Auger


www.spiritualpractice.ca

People who wish to take their spiritual practice seriously have access to a wide range of Internet resources. There is one in particular that is “homegrown,” so to speak. A few years ago I developed a website on spiritual practices and I have just added two significant new sections. This has prompted me to offer to take you on a tour, just to whet your appetite!

When I designed the site, I thought the best approach might be to address some of the questions we tend to hear from beginners on the spiritual journey. So a few of the ways into the site are precisely answers to these questions:
  • What is a “spiritual practice“? 
  • Why are spiritual practices important? 
  • What spiritual practice is for me?
  • What resources exist to help me?
  • Where do I start?

Then there are questions that address some of our hesitations:
  • But I don’t think I believe in very much 
  • A Guide for Seekers 
  • But I don’t have time!!!

Within the site itself are major resources:
  • A complete set of introductory spiritual exercises 
  • An inventory of a range of spiritual practices, both meditation practices and practices in daily life
  • An approach to spiritual practices by personality type 
  • An approach to spiritual practices through a look at the history of Christian spirituality 
  • An approach to spiritual practices through the eyes of a deepening relationship with God

Lately, I have been adding suggestions for spiritual practices based on life questions:
  • How can my aging become a spiritual practice? 
  • How can my dying become a spiritual practice? 
  • How can I find God in the new understanding of the universe? 
  • Meditations on the “Cosmic Christ”

You can also get a lay of the land, as it were, by referring to the Site Map, which presents everything on the website in a logical fashion.

This is not a website one can take in at a quick glance. As with spiritual practice itself, it requires time, quiet, patience, and openness. There's lots of material on the site. I'll be adding more as I find out what might be most helpful.

Try the site out.  Let me know what you think, and what you'd like to see.
"Walking on Sacred Ground with another is holy. There are no words to describe that experience."  Guide, 2022


Next Steps in Your Spiritual Journey

So you’ve acquired a taste for regular spiritual practice.... Or you have rekindled such a taste... How do you keep going? What resources are there available to you? Here is a partial list of what you might consider doing.

 

Upcoming events

Free book group with Kerry Wilson, based on Joanna Macy's Coming Back To Life: Practices to Reconnect Our Lives, Our World

  • March 21 - May 9, 2022, Mondays 7 to 8 pm EST (except April 18)
  • For those interested in learning more about The Work That Reconnects and the Spiral
  • Information and registration:  [email protected]  



Amazing Friendships Weekend Retreat   from June 3 at 7:00 pm to June 5 at 12:30 pm 
  • Facilitated by Kerry Wilson and Greg Kennedy, SJ and based on their book Amazing Friendships between Animals and Saints
  • Guided retreat that includes daily celebration of the Eucharist, presentations on a topic, time for personal prayer and reflection, and may allow for a short period of time for consultation with a spiritual director 
  • Through stories, artistic exploration, music, time in nature and multiple modes of prayer, it is hoped that participants will grow both in saintliness and creatureliness, so as better to inhabit and care for God’s good Creation.
  • information and registration:  https://ignatiusguelph.ca/event/amazing-friendships-weekend-retreat



Spiritual direction

In Guelph and area, a few churches have Covenanted Spiritual Companions: Harcourt Memorial United Church, Dublin St United Church, and Melville United Church (Fergus).

There are spiritual directors available at Loyola House.

To find a list of spiritual directors in this area, consult Spiritual Directors International at https://www.sdicompanions.org/find-a-spiritual-director-companion/



Ignatian Exercises

Ignatius of Loyola developed a comprehensive and intensive set of spiritual exercises which can be taken in a retreat setting over 40 days, at Loyola House for example, or over a period of 40 weeks in daily life. Harcourt Memorial United Church offers these Exercises every two years. The next offering begins in the late Spring 2022. For information, check Harcourt’s website or ask the Office.  www.harcourtuc.on.ca



Retreats

The Guelph area is blessed with at least four retreat centres within an hour’s drive. All four offer a place to get away for a self-directed retreat; at least two offer regular “days away,” or “days of prayer” once a month; two give regular weekend retreats; and one offers three-day, five-day and eight-day retreats.

Loyola House http://www.loyolahouse.ca/

Five Oaks http://www.fiveoaks.on.ca/

Crieff Hills Retreat Centre http://www.crieffhills.com/

Eramosa Eden http://www.eramosaeden.org/

Loretto Maryholme, Keswick   www.lorettomaryholme.ca  

Sisters of Saint John, Toronto   The Sisterhood of St. John the Divine (ssjd.ca)



Local meditation groups

Buddhist sangha: Avalokiteshvara Kadampa Buddhist Centre https://akbc.ca/

Dublin Street United Church s prayer group   www.dublin.on.ca

Harcourt United Church Women’s spirituality   www.harcourtuc.on.ca

Harcourt United Church Holy Listening Circle   www.harcourtuc.on.ca



Alternative Worship Experience

Uncommon Ground is a local, Guelph initiative by various Christian denominations.  This group offers different spiritual experiences and growth opportunities for people seeking a deeper, more meaningful relationship to God.  These events offer people an opportunity to share their spiritual experiences with others so that transformational community is created and supported.  Finally, Uncommon Ground events create opportunities for unity within the local Christian tradition.  To find out details about Uncommon Ground events please check www.uncommongroundguelph.org



Reading

There is no end of reading material available on practices in a range of spiritualities. While they differ in the details of their practice, most spiritual traditions have more similarities than differences.  Here are a few beginning books that may be useful or enlightening.

 

  • Ways to deepen your experience of the Christian tradition

Buechner, Frederick.  The Sacred Journey.   Harper Row, 1982.

                                    The Faces of Jesus.   Paraelite Press, 2005.

                                   Secrets in the Dark.   Harper One, 2006.

Housden, Roger.   for lovers of god everywhere.   Hay House, Inc., 2009

Ladinsky, Daniel.  Love Poems from God.  Penguin Compass, 2002.

Linn, Dennis, Sheila Fabricant Linn, Matthew Linn.  Sleeping With Bread:  Holding What Gives You Life.  

Nouwen, Henry J. M.  Life of the Beloved:  Spiritual Living in a Secular World.

                                    With Open Hands.

                                    The Wounded Healer.  Doubleday, 1979.

                                    Return of the Prodigal Son:  Doubleday, 1991.

                                    Home Tonight.  Doubleday, 2009.

Postema, Don.  Space for God.  CRC Publication, 1977.

Ronald Rolheiser, Ronald.  The Holy Longing. Doubleday, 1999.

Rupp, Joyce.  Cup of Our Life.

 

  • Exploring Ignatian spirituality:

Barry, Wm., S.J. Finding God in All Things: A Companion to the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. Notre Dame:  Ave Maria Press, 1991.

De Mello, Anthony Sadhana. A Way to God: Christian Exercises in Eastern Form. New York:  Image Books, 1978.

English, John, S.J.  Spiritual Freedom.:From an Experience of the Ignatian Exercises to the Art of Spiritual Guidance.  Chicago:  Loyola University Press, 1995.

Gallagher, Timothy.  An Ignatian Introduction to Prayer.  Crossroad Publishing Company, 2007.

Vaney, Neil, S.M. Christ in a Grain of Sand: An Ecological Journey with the Spiritual Exercises. Notre Dame:  Ave Maria Press, 200.


  • General introductions to other Christian spiritual traditions:

Barton, Haley, Ruth.  Sacred Rhythms.  IVP Books, 2006.

Keating, Thomas, OSB. Open Mind, Open Heart: The Contemplative Dimension of the Gospel.  New York:  Continuum, 1986.

Main, John, OSB.     Moment of Christ: The Path of Meditation. New York: Crossroad, 1984.

                                Word into Silence.  New York:  Paulist Press, 1980.

Newell, J. Philip. Listening for the Heartbeat of God:  A Celtic Spirituality. New York: Paulist Press, 1997.

 

  • Introductions to the spiritual disciplines as daily disciplines:

Buechner, Frederick.  Listening to Your Life.  Harper and Collins, 1992.

Foster, Richard, J.  Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth. San Francisco: Harper, 1978.

Nouwen, Henri.  Bread for the Journey.  Harper One, 2006.

Taylor, Brian C.  Becoming Christ:  Transformation through Contemplation.  Cambridge, Mass: Cowley Publications, 2002.

 

  • Psychology and spirituality:

De Mello, Anthony.  Awareness.  Doubleday, 1990.

May, Gerald, MD.  Will and Spirit.  Harper and Son, 1982.

Riso, Don and Hudson, Russ.  The Wisdom of the Enneagram.  Bantom Books, 1999.

Ruiz, Migael, Don.  The Four Agreements.  Amber-Allen Publishing, 1997.

                                The Voice of Knowledge.   Amber-Allen Publishing, 2004.

Williamson, Marianne.  The Gift of Change.  IVP Books, 2006.

                                      Everyday Grace.  Riverhead Books, 2002.

 

  • Introductions to eastern, generic, or eclectic spiritual traditions:

Bayda, Ezra.  Being Zen:  Bringing Meditation to Life.  Boston:  Shambhala, 2003.

Fowler, George.  Learning to Dance Inside: Getting to the Heart of Meditation.  San Diego: Harcourt Brace, 1996.

Harvey, Andrew. The Direct Path:  Creating a Personal Journey to the Divine Using the World’s Spiritual Traditions. New York: Broadway Books, 2000.

 


On-line Spiritual Resources


Prayer Bench https://prayerbench.ca/


Spiritual Practices, an introduction to Christian spiritual practices. This site is maintained by Andre Auger. It consists of material to get started and to confirm you on your way, presenting a variety of meditation practices. www.spiritualpractice.ca


Ignatian Exercises: the Collaborative Ministry at Creighton University has been offering the Ignatian Exercises online for some time. For those who cannot find their way to do the exercises with a spiritual director (recommended!), this is a useful alternative. http://www.creighton.edu/CollaborativeMinistry/cmo-retreat.html 

 

John Veltri, SJ, the founder of the Guelph Ecumenical Week of Guided Prayer has developed a very comprehensive website with materials from his publications, Orientations. http://www.jesuits.ca/orientations/

 

The Irish Jesuits have developed an excellent website for daily prayer and meditation. Material is fresh each day, and the meditation they offer requires about ten minutes a day. http://www.sacredspace.ie/

 

For those who value their mp3 player, the UK Jesuits have developed an excellent website which offers free downloadable mp3 files offering a ten-minute meditation for each day of the liturgical year.  http://www.pray-as-you-go.org/

 

Henri Nouwen Society offers daily and weekly inspiration via email, online book clubs and other resources based on the work of Henri Nouwen, author of “With Open Hands”, “Return of the Prodical Son”, “Reaching Out” and many other Christian books.  http://www.henrinouwen.org/home/about


The Enneagram Institute offers an extensive amount of information on the nine personality types of the Enneagram.  This personality typing is centuries old and is based on spiritual transformation for everyone.  The Enneagram Institute site offers a free, short personality survey as well as a longer version for a nominal fee.  Finally, you can sign up for a daily insight/reflection called an Enneathought specific to your personality type.  www.enneagraminstitute.com

 

The Center for Action and Contemplation (CAC) is focused on empowering individuals to live out their sacred soul task in service to the world through contemplative programs and resources.  Richard Rohr is a Franciscan priest who founded the CAC.  The site offers a lot of information on spirituality as well as a daily meditation.  https://cac.org  



This Mustard Seed Grew!  A Personal History of the Week of Guided Prayer

John Buttars' history of Guelph's Week of Guided Prayer can be downloaded (free) at http://orientations.jesuits.ca/weekofguidedprayer(1).pdf