I will lead her into the desert and speak to her heart.
— Hosea 2:16
Easter, with its grace of interior resurrection, is the radical healing of the human condition. Lent, which prepares us for this grace, is about what needs to be healed, [forgiven and celebrated].
— Thomas Keating, The Mystery of Christ
For many, Lent has a gloomy, heavy air of the negative — rules, observances, abstentions, do not's, have not's, can not's. Repeating this over and over again each year can seem life-depleting, even superficial and mechanical. What is lost is the deep listening, the atmosphere, you might say, of Lent without which the ascetic practices lose much of their meaning. But another climate — a state of heart, being, and spirit can permeate our entire life for these seven weeks — all in the preparation of softening our heart to open to the joyful reality of the Resurrection, our personal union with God.
This online retreat, originally created for Lent in 2014, aims to create a Lenten atmosphere of silence, stillness, and a quiet inner joy of alert receptivity. You are encouraged to partake of the particular beauty of the season viewing Lent itself as an artful preparation to a slow and sustained intentional journey where the heart is awakened into a new life in and through divine love. Here we are purified not only by what we give up and surrender, but also by how we are inspired and experience illumination.
"There are Christians whose lives seem like Lent without Easter. I realize of course that joy is not expressed the same way at all times in life, especially at moments of great difficulty. Joy adapts and changes, but it always endures, even as a flicker of light born of our personal certainty that, when everything is said and done, we are infinitely loved."
— Pope Francis, Apostalic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, November 2013
This journey explores the foundations of the contemplative life necessary to live the path of divine love. It will consist of a combination of emails and video and audio teachings.
Here's what you can expect in this Lenten program:
• 20 emails with readings for your reflection.
• Images from artist Frederick Franck's series "The Tao of the Cross" with instructions for contemplative meditations on the art.
• Selected Guidelines for Christian Life, Growth and Transformation from Fr. Thomas Keating's Open Mind, Open Heart, with new commentaries and reflections to ponder for inspiration.
• Excerpts from the beautiful film Invitation from God, featuring Father Thomas Keating at St. Benedict's Monastery in Snowmass, Colorado.
• Audio recordings to support the themes of Lent and living the contemplative life, as well as writings from Fr. Thomas Keating and other contemplative and mystical voices.
• All elements of the course will encourage a contemplative engagement with Scripture and the liturgical themes of Lent as a way of seeing, listening, reflecting, and then living it into your own life.
To take this e-course for Lent, schedule it to begin on Ash Wednesday and choose the M-W-F delivery schedule.
(6 CEHs for Chaplains available.)
(choose your own start date and frequency)