Thursday, July 5, 2012

Give Me a Word...

It's summertime, time to pack for a few days of vacation. What shall I bring to read? When I'm sitting by the water catching some rays, or on the porch of the cabin in the shade, what do I want to think about, learn more about during this quiet time I cherish? What would you choose?

Maybe something about meditation or spiritual direction? Maybe you already have a spiritual
friend, someone with whom you meet once a month and talk and pray through your concerns. It's a great blessing to have a friend like that. I know.

But, if you are interested in learning more about spiritual direction, perhaps you have questions such as: how is it done, how does one find a spiritual director, how much time is involved, how does one open up to a director one hardly knows? And you may have many more questions besides these.

A new book on the market called Abba, give me a word, the path of spiritual direction by L. Roger Owens (Paraclete, $15.99, http://www.paracletepress.com/) might be just the one to add to your Nook or Kindle or whatever you use. It is also a real book that will fit easily into your carry-on or suitcase.

Owens thinks of his book as an "introduction to the practice of receiving spiritual direction," and he shares his experiences of "finding the God who has been there all along," while he learns to "live well in the mansion that is God's love."

His director, Larry, reminds him of Mr. Rogers (because he sits down and takes off his shoes before they begin to pray) but Larry always seem to have the appropriate comment or question for Owens to think about and apply to his situation.

After his introduction, Owens' chapter titles are: Longing (for God), Finding, Releasing, Offering (ourselves), Trusting, Attending, and finally, Go Well.

He quotes from the Scriptures, the Desert Fathers and Mothers, St. Benedict, Thomas Merton, Kenneth Leech, Denise Levertov, Margaret Guenther, Henri Nouwen, Parker Palmer, Julian of Norwich, and others. Even Dr. Seuss gets a word or two in.

I just finished reading this book and found it helpful and interesting, funny and wise.

---Lois Sibley