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Writing Your Spirituality

BELIZE CITY -- This past May 24th and 25th, the Jesuit Community hosted Eric Clayton and MegAnne Liebsch from the Communications office of the Jesuit Conference of the United States and Canada in Washington, D.C.  for a workshop called “Writing Your Spirituality.”


The workshop focused on writing as a spiritual exercise or form of prayer that allows a person to connect with the Spirit of God at work in that person’s heart.  “It felt like a prayer through writing,” commented Melissa Espat, one of the workshop participants, “with God speaking to me through the movement of my pen on paper.” 

 

The workshop began by reflecting on the power of journaling to begin to recognize God at work in one’s life.  As Yvette Holland reflected, “Eric asked us to write three pages without stopping, and that early morning writing segment clearly revealed that writing can also serve as a form of prayer.  In my favorite segment, we wrote about seemingly mundane activities and basically used that journal entry to see God in everything.”  That the movements of God’s Spirit can be found, not only in powerfully dramatic moments of life, but also in the mundane and ordinary moments, too, is an insight characteristic of Ignatian Spirituality.


From reflecting on the spiritual practice of journaling, the workshop expanded its focus to talking about how one might begin to write about his or her spiritual experience for the purpose of sharing with wider audiences.  By taking the risk to share something as personal as our experiences of God, we might well find that we touch aspects that are common, if not universal, among all people.

 

But workshop participants also spent time reflecting on the interior voice of the “censor,” which is that voice in our heads telling us to give up, that our writing is no good, and that no one will care.  By applying the Rules for Discernment from the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, we begin to see this for what it is: the voice of our insecurities and past wounds, trying to derail us from drawing closer to God and sharing ourselves with others.

 

Samantha Terry remarked, “the dreaded ‘censor’ is always looming to quell our voice… nevertheless workshops like these are a reminder to all that God and humanity wants us to use our voices and writings to share our experiences…to highlight mercies and graces… and to showcase the beauty of this life.”


Perhaps it is time for new voices to emerge in the Church, Belizean voices witnessing to God very much at work in this land.  The voices of the artists – be they writers, actors, painters, or musicians – are the ones that will give voice to the soul of Belize and, in so doing, they will secure a hopeful future for this nation. 


To paraphrase the Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky, beauty, the universal desire for a better world, will indeed save the world.



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