Faith at Work II

September 2004

My last fling, as it were, before entering the Church of England at my Ordination in Lichfield Cathedral in July was to attend a retreat workshop at Douai Abbey. This is home to a community of Benedictine monks in Berkshire who also serve the local parish and used to run the adjoining school. The focus was on "developing a spiritual practice" and it was one of a series directed at Spirituality in the Workplace.

Father Dermot has prepared the weekends to explore issues that arise not just in the workplace but also in everyday life. He likes to develop his topics quite broadly, drawing the group's interests and concerns into the sessions so that the material is relevant to those present and earthed in the everyday. A valuable part of the process is to make connections with the Rule of Benedict that provides the basis for the life of the community to which he belongs.

Because the sessions are embedded within the life of prayer and the five daily offices that the monks sing, visitors are drawn easily into community life and it is a joy to belong there, if only briefly. There is ample opportunity to reflect on life away from the daily pressures, perhaps to see things in a new light and maybe to gain insights on how to effect change in life's great challenges. In principle, it will always be helpful to find a discipline within which to conduct life. The difficulty perhaps is how to choose it.

One diagram that Fr.Dermot uses quite often has a pair of axes with our self at the centre.
On the vertical axis, we go down and listen to the spirit stirring in our inner being inspiring us to reach up to God, our creator. On the horizontal axis, we learn on the one hand from the perceptions of the world by others and on the other hand from our own. Balancing all this, we grow as we reach further and further out through our family, our community and our world. Nothing and no one is excluded. It is as though he is describing God's heavenly kingdom.

Benedict ends in similar style:

Are you hastening towards your heavenly home? Then, with Christ's help, keep this little rule that we have written for beginners. After that, you can set out for the loftier summits of the teaching and virtues we mentioned above, and under God's protection you will reach them.

This site was developed to contain work by Mike Fox relating to the WMMTC course
and subsequent experience during ministry in the parish of Codsall and the BCUIM.
This page was last updated on 2004-07-21

Copyright 2004 Mike Fox
All Rights Reserved