During our first meeting of the year our formation group shared about what we had learned so far and what we would like to get out of our short time together for the rest of the year.
Everyone had done bits and pieces of the Philippines program and progress is uneven. The resounding message I received was that we all need to learn more about PRAYER.
Here are some of the things we said about prayer:
I can’t meditate
It doesn’t come easily
I feel like I don’t pray enough
I don’t like set prayers
I love going to Mass and go every day but don’t like saying the Office alone
I can’t focus
I lose concentration
Is my prayer good enough?
If I’m not doing mental prayer then I feel like I am failing at being a good Carmelite
How do I find time for prayer?
What about the prayer requests, how should I incorporate those into my prayer?
I feel inadequate
I can swing between being rigid with my prayer routine or being slack
My mind is always wandering
I meditate in bed, last thing at night. Is that sufficient for mental prayer?
I like to converse with God and don’t like set prayers
We can’t do everything
I like to pray with my i-phone
I feel like everyone else is so much more knowledgeable and prayerful than I am
The plan I conceived after this meeting was to spend our sessions this year looking at prayer. It’s too important to be rushed and forms the foundation of everything we do in Carmel.
I discussed with Les whether this was okay in light of our responsibility to work through the Philippines syllabus. We agreed that we mustn’t forget the formal program but we need to ensure that everyone has the appropriate booklets first so we can find a way to work that into our reading. The formators will collect the books and discuss a workable curriculum of formation that is not as heavily content based as the Philippines program.
The plan for 2013
Each month the meeting will start with the larger formation group including enquirers. Les will be in charge of this session and currently we are watching videos and discussing the seven sins in relation to our vocation in Carmel.
The groups will then split and have about 25 minutes for a session tailored to their level of formation.
For my group which includes Brett, Georgina, Pat and Jeanne, we will look at prayer. My goal is not so much to present information but to help each member of the group grow in confidence and trust more deeply the Holy Spirit who guides us into God’s presence.
This is how I see our sessions unfolding
1. Setting out in prayer – what’s it all for? do we understand and remember why we pray? what are we seeking? what are we yearning for? [This was our March meeting - post following]
2. Mental prayer (1) – when are we doing mental prayer? when are we not doing mental prayer? do we need to sit formally for 30 minutes? if not, why would be asked to do this? if yes, what is the value of this exercise? what should we do during this time?
3. Mental prayer (2)
4. Divine office (1)
5. Divine office (2)
6. Mass and adoration
7. Carmelite way of life – does doing all of the above make me a Carmelite? what happens when we are not fulfilling our daily prayer duties?
This is all open to change and I will be guided by the Holy Spirit as my own prayer life grows along with our group. Please comment if you would like to add anything.