Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Building Bridges

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Building Bridges

Article excerpt

1 the theme

Each session is developed around a key principle of Merton's thought.

2 opening reflection

Each session begins with a Psalm passage and ends in prayer.

3 introduction to the texts

Each session has an introduction that provides continuity, context and connections between the theme of the session and the readings to follow. It says: "Here is what this session of your journey is all about. Here's the spiritual territory to be explored by Merton, by other spiritual writers and by you."

4 merton's voice

A carefully selected passage drawn from the rich abundance of Merton's writing leads us into deep places within ourselves and offers insights into the paradoxes of life. For some: the chosen passage will initiate a spiritual journey, for others it will lead to re-examination or recovery from a neglected spiritual life.

5 other voices

At the heart of each session is a reading from the works of Merton uniquely paired with another on the same theme from a different spiritual writer. Typical of the included voices are Pema Chodron, Rilke, Anthony de Mello, Kallistos Ware, David Steindl-Rast and Paul Evdokimov.

6 reflection and dialogue

Contemplative dialogue is meant to be non-threatening, a "safe place" for open sharing and discussion. The focus is on listening rather than thinking about how will respond to what we hear. We are challenged to listen more carefully and approach different points of view by looking at their deepest values.

7 a concluding prayer

End each session with a prayer. You may chose to borrow the words of Merton or those of another voice. Or you main choose to remain silent. "We who are in God find ourselves united in him, with all that springs from Him. This is prayer, and this is glory!"

8 solitude and silence

Whether a Bridges group meets once a week or once a month, the time between sessions is very important. This is when the content from the readings and dialogue becomes part of everyday living. …

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