Discussion Questions, Storytelling, Sharing

  • Share a story about the ways in which your desire has expressed itself in a relationship, in a creative project, or at work.
  • What recent experiences, books, or workshops have enabled you to see more clearly the connections between sexuality and spirituality?
  • Have you ever had an experience of ecstasy, other than a sexual one? What was it like?
  • Nowadays people talk about desire as a key to inner growth. What were you taught about your desires when you were young? How has your view of yearning changed over the years?

Imagery Exercise

In Sadhana: A Way to God, Anthony de Mello recalls a phrase used by the founder of the Jesuit Order, Ignatius of Loyola — "prayers and holy desires" — by which he meant to encourage young priests to do great things for God and for the good of the community. This exercise catches both kinds of desire.

Place before God the desires you have for each one of the people you wish to pray for . . . See each one of them as having the things you desire for them . . . You need not make an explicit prayer for them. It is enough to expose God to your holy desires . . . and to see those desires fulfilled.

What you have done for individuals, do now for families and groups and communities . . . Have the courage to overcome all defeatism and pessimism, and desire and hope for great things . . . and see these great things as actually fulfilled by the mighty power of God.

Now place before God the desires you have for yourself: Expose him to all the great things you desire to do in his service . . . the fact that you will never actually do them, or that you feel incapable of doing them, is irrelevant . . . what is important is that you gladden the heart of God by showing him how immense your desires are even though your strength is very small . . . it is thus that lovers speak when they express the immensity of their desires which far outdistance their limited capacity.

Journal Exercises

  • Use your journal to explore your heart's desires. What do you most want? Who do you want? Do a brief history of your yearnings and see how they have evolved or changed over the years.
  • Write a dialogue between Your Self and Your Desire. Discuss how they each limit and expand the other.