Christian Spirituality is our life with God, our awareness of God and a lifestyle that responds to God’s love. Reflection and prayer are the tools to “find God” in our lives. Spiritual friendship and community helps us to find direction, be accountable for our spiritual growth. As we grow spiritually we reach out to others, especially those in need.
- I can create a space for God in my life.
- I can seek spiritual friendships and community that can enrich my relationship with God.
- I can build my capacity to live a spiritual life from the heart and in service with others.
Key Learning Points:
- It takes time and commitment to create a sacred space in your life in which God can act. Take time for quiet reflection.
- A spiritual life needs friends and community that will hold us accountable to discipline and spiritual formation. Find trustworthy “soul friends”.
- True faith leads me to act with compassion towards others. Discern the ways you are called to serve others.
- Christianity is not a religion or a philosophy, but a relationship and a lifestyle. Rick Warren Purpose Driven Life
- “Nothing is more practical than finding God, than falling in Love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, whom you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in Love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.” Source: Pedro Arrupe, SJFinding God in All Things: A Marquette Prayer Book © 2009 Marquette University Press
- Carve out a time and a place to spend quiet time with God each day. Perhaps use the Examen or similar prayer tool to reflect on your day and how God is present in your life.
- Seek out a spiritual director or trustworthy spiritual friend. For ideas read, “How to Find a Spiritual Director” by Rebecca Laird in Spiritual Direction: Wisdom for the Long Walk of Faith
- As your heart expands in relationship with God it will lead you to serve others. Ask yourself “How can I be of service? For ideas read the chapter, “How Can I Be of Service?” from Spiritual Direction: Wisdom for the Long Walk of Faith by Henri Nouwen,
3 C’s, adapted from Henri Nouwen:
- Contemplation is the simple, yet profound act of reflecting on our life experience, on sacred scriptures, on the writings of those who’ve loved before us, on nature, and more to see God, to know love, and to connect with our source.
- Community is a way of living: you gather around you people with whom you want to proclaim the truth that we are the beloved sons and daughters of God; the gathering of others who are aware of, or seek an awareness of this love, to support one another, to be accountable to one another, to clarify our calling both as individuals and as a group.
- Compassion—to suffer with; sharing the love of God we experience with those who struggle with situations that make it hard to know that love, it can be as simple as listening to someone having a rough day, or as challenging and risky as advocating for the change of an oppressive system.
- Rick Warren is another spiritual author, he describes spirituality with 3 B’: believing, belonging and becoming.
Exercises for Older Teens and Adults:
- Mirror Image
- Share, “Now and then I find something that I can’t help but think, ‘This makes God happy.’ It’s just so incredible that if I ponder it long enough I can see the image of God in it.”
- Ask, “Do you want to see what I’m talking about?”
- Hand the person a box to open with a mirror facing him or her upon opening it.
- Scripture says God made you in his/her image and likeness. You are a child of God. Just like he said of Jesus at his baptism, God says to you, “You are my beloved, in whom I am well pleased.”
- God’s Love Notes
- View the youtube video “Who Am I?”
- God loves you! He loves each one of us and longs to be in relationship with you.
- Read over “God’s love notes” and choose at least one that speaks to you. Memorize it. And share it with others.
- The Examen
- We need to take time to be silent and listen to God
- Watch video “The Examen Prayer for Teens” (Videos)
- Distribute The Examen Prayer Card (Tools)
- Choose some questions from the card and talk with God about it in silence
- “Soul Friends”
- We need friends who will help us grow spiritually.
- Watch video “Three Types of Friends”
- Who are your “soul friends”, confidants? (If you can’t identify anyone, how can you find one?)
- How Can I Be of Service?
- Mother Teresa of Calcutta was known for the great things she did for others yet she said, “We can do no great things, only small things with great love.”
- Show video “If You Give a Little Love You Can Get a Little Love of Your Own”
- Sit in silence for a moment and think of ways God may be calling you to be of service.
- Take part in a mentoring session (Mentor can gain insights from “Spiritual Mentoring” guide listed in tools)
- Take part in service learning project (organize service learning opportunities using “Guide to Service Learning listed in tools)
Exercises for Younger Teens (13-16):
- Same as above
Questions to Encourage Critical Thinking:
- Is my life too busy to take the time to spend quiet time with God?
- How can I carve out a time and place for God in my life?
- Who in my life will hold me accountable for real spiritual growth?
- Who can help me be sure that what I hear in the silence is God speaking and not my own idea of what God should say to me?
- How can I be of service?
Tools and Templates:
- Examen Prayer Card
- Spiritual Mentoring: How to Help Others Grow in Their Relationship with Christ
- Guide to Service Learning
- Spirituality. Source: Life in the Spirit, Phillip Sheldrake, S.J.
- Spiritual direction. The practice of being with people as they attempt to deepen their relationship with thedivine, or to learn and grow in their own personal spirituality. Source: Wikipedia
Web Articles/Short Stories/Essays:
- Spiritual Direction: Wisdom for the Long Walk of Faith by Henri Nouwen
- The Examen Prayer for Teens on MakingAllThingsNew.com see video!
- Who Am I? on YouTube, song by Casting Crowns
- My Love Letter to Him on YouTube by Angelina Ramos
- Three Types of “Friends on YouTube by Bishop T. D. Jakes
- Does Anybody See Her? on YouTube by Casting Crowns
- If You Give a Little Love You Can Get a Little Love of Your Own on YouTube by The Corpfa
- ”Spiritual formation requires taking an inward journey to the heart. Although this journey takes place in community and leads to service, the first task is to look within, reflect on our daily life, and find God and God’s activity right there. Source: Spiritual Formation by Henri Nouwen
- “It may seem easier to be holy when no one else is around to frustrate your preferences, but that is a false, untested holiness. Isolation breeds deceitfulness; it is easy to fool ourselves into thinking we are mature if there is no one to challenge us. Real maturity shows up in relationships. We need more than the Bible in order to grow; we need other believers. We grow faster and stronger by learning from each other and being accountable to each other. When others share what God is teaching them, I learn and grow too. by Rick Warren in The Purpose Driven Life
- “At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done….We can do no great thing, only small things with great love.” ― Mother Teresa
- “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” ― Mahatma Gandhi
- “Life is for service.” ― Fred Rogers, Life’s Journeys According to Mister Rogers: Things to Remember Along the Way
- “Service is the rent we pay for being. It is the very purpose of life, and not something you do in your spare time.” ― Marian Wright Edelman
Summary 2-page Lesson Examples:
- None at this time.