This week was the third session at St. Hubert’s in Chanhassen of the Fall Prayer Series I’m offering this Fall at both the University of St. Thomas and at St. Hubert’s. (The UST one has already concluded.) The series is designed to introduce participants to different prayer forms and styles (although even those with some familiarity and experience with the particular styles and forms of prayer can benefit from hearing something they have heard before in a different way).
One of the topics at St. Hubert’s that was not part of the UST series was the topic of last night’s session – Praying with the Mystics. Although the terms “mystic” and “mysticism” scare some people, there is much in the experience of the mystics that we can learn from. In the talk I gave at the session, I spoke of one of Thomas Merton’s foundational religious experiences and also a little about one of the great mystical writers of the 14th century, Julian of Norwich. After the talk, the participants spent some time in silent reflection, using Julian’s famous image of a hazelnut as an image for how all in creation is held in God’s loving hand.
You can access a recording of the talk I gave here. (The podcast runs for 27:14, and ends at the point at which participants engaged in their silent reflection.) At the end of the session, I distributed a handout with suggestions for their prayer during this week, which you can access here.