The First Merton Fellowship Retreat of 2013!

Dear Friends,

The next Merton Fellowship day retreat will be held on Saturday 9th March 2013 at University Road Moravian Church, Belfast (http://www.moravian.org.uk/pages/congregations/belfast_uni.html)

The topic of the retreat is ‘Practicing Lectio Divina & Contemplative Prayer’; it will begin at 10am and finish at 4pm, with refreshments provided (please bring a packed lunch).

As with all of our activities, it is open to all, regardless of denominational/faith group affiliation or knowledge of Merton and his work. An interest in peace and contemplative prayer/meditation is all that is required.

To book your place, please contact me at scottpeddie@talktalk.net.

Peace & Blessings,
Scott

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Merton On Contemplative Prayer

‘ We should not look for a ‘method’ or ‘system’, but cultivate an ‘attitude’, an ‘outlook’: faith, openness, attention, reverence, expectation, supplication, trust, joy. All these finally permeate our being with love in so far as our living faith tells us we are in the presence of God, that we live in Christ, that in the Spirit of God we ‘see’ God our Father without ‘seeing’. We know him in ‘unknowing”.

Thomas Merton in Contemplative Prayer.

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January 21, 2013 · 10:52 pm

Forthcoming Merton Fellowship Retreat

Dear Friends,

The next Merton Fellowship day retreat will be held on Saturday 10th November 2012 at McCracken Memorial Presbyterian Church,  161 Malone Road, Belfast, Co. Antrim, BT9 6TA (www.mccrackenchurch.org).

The topic of the retreat is ‘Encountering Merton: Personal Reflections‘; it will begin at 10am and finish at 4pm, with refreshments provided (please bring a packed lunch).

As with all of our activities, it is open to all, regardless of denominational/faith group affiliation or knowledge of Merton and his work. An interest in peace and contemplative prayer/meditation is all that is required.

To book your place, please contact me at scottpeddie@talktalk.net.

Peace and blessings, Scott

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Is Contemplation Boring?

‘So contemplative silence really is boring—at least, if we do it right. It bores down beneath all the psychic defenses we normally employ to distract ourselves from the presence of God in our lives. Because, well, if we can distract ourselves from God’s presence, we can persist in the illusion that we are actually in control of our lives, are managing our conflicts just fine, and are fully justified in the ways we judge, reject, and try to defeat others’.

So claims Carl McColman, a Lay Cistercian, blogger (www.anamchara.com) and the author of ‘The Big Book of Christian Mysticism’.

You can read his entire article here: Is Contemplation Boring?.

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This is from my main blog, but given that the book I have reviewed contains poetry from Merton, I thought that I’d reproduce it here. Thanks! Scott

Rev. Dr. Scott Peddie

I have accumulated thousands of books over the years, but I would hazard a guess that perhaps only a handful of those would fit into the category of ‘must haves’  or ‘books that are so enriching/life-affirming/insightful that I could not do without them! Roger Housden’s For Lovers of God Everywhere: Poems of the Christian Mystics’ is one such of those books though.  In it he offers 98 of the most compelling poems from both historic and contemporary Christian writers, commonly referred to as mystics on account of their relationship with God and how they articulate this to the wider community.

The variety of authors and the breadth and depth of their poetry is a wonderful reflection of the range of experience and style of recounting that experience that is extant. And so, through Housden, we have access to the wisdom of the Desert Fathers, the fire of St. Augustine, and on through…

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Centering Prayer: An Introduction

With roots in the contemplative tradition of the Desert Fathers, books like ‘The Cloud of Unknowing‘ and the writings of Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross and Thomas Merton, centering prayer has a distinguished pedigree.

You may find this short introduction to ‘Centering Prayer’ by its founder, Fr. Thomas Keating, useful:

 

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Contemplating Contemplation

The question is often asked: ‘do we need contemplative monastics in the modern age?’ Merton was the prime example of the perfect answer to such a question: without contemplation, Merton’s activism would have atrophied and his stance on peace and non-violence would have lost the spiritual pillars that supported it.

The renowned Protestant theologian Jurgen Moltmann made this astute observation:

Christian responsibility for the world requires an ethics for changing the world, based on the righteousness and peace which we believe in and try to live, in the discipleship of Christ.  For that reason Catholic worldwide Christianity needs the Christianity of the monastic orders, and Protestant Christianity needs the historical peace churches as orientation for the far-off goal from which the immediate goals must take their direction. Without the great alternative, small steps in the direction of more justice and righteousness and more peace in the world will have no orientation, and will lose hope; but without practical changes in the world the great alternative will become irrelevant. (Jurgen Moltmann, 2012: Ethics of Hope).

I would add that the Protestant contemplative tradition also needs to be reinvigorated, working hand-in-hand with their  Catholic brothers and sisters.  The Merton Fellowship in Ireland is a good start at doing just that.  So whatever your background, please consider joining us!

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Day Retreat: Exploring Unity

The deepest level of communication is not communication, but communion.  It is wordless.  It is beyond words.  It is beyond speech, and it is beyond concept.  Not that we discover a new unity.  We discover an older unity.  My dear Brothers and Sisters, we are already one.  But we imagine that we are not.  And what we have to recover is our original unity.  What we have to be is what we are. (The Asian Journal of Thomas Merton)

The nest day retreat of the Merton Fellowship will be held at Tobar Mhuire, the Passionist Monastery in Crossgar, Co. Down (website: http://www.tobarmhuirecrossgar.com/) on Saturday 2nd June 2012 from 10am to 4pm.  The cost of the retreat will depend on final numbers, but will be in the region of £15 per person (and including teas/coffee and a light lunch).

The topic of the retreat will be ‘Exploring Unity’; there will be time during the day for discussion, walking, silence and group prayer/meditation.

As always, our retreats are open to all.

Should you require and further information, or to book your place, please contact me via e-mail at: s.peddie@pattersonpeddie.com.

Peace and blessings, Scott

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No Need For Words

I’ve put together a short meditation entitled ‘No Need For Words‘ – the title speaks for itself.  Sometimes we feel compelled to talk too much and to think too much, when in fact what we really need is to sit back and observe. Here it is:

No Need For Words.

 

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Merton and the Dalai Lama

Here is an interesting short piece on Merton and his relationship with the Dalai Lama, including an interview with the latter. A real example of substantive inter-faith dialogue:

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