Christian spirituality is 'how we live life before God.' It is an all encompassing way of life, self-emptying and transformation, reflecting the Pascal Mystery: the life, death and resurrection of Christ (Abbess Karen Ward)
Holy Eucharist (Mass) is at the core of our spirituality and common life. This 'eucharistic centering' is summed up by Anglican theologian John Macquarrie in his book, Pathways in Spirituality:
The Eucharist sums up in itself Christian worship, experience and theology in an amazing richness. It seems to include everything. It combines Word and Sacrament; its appeal is to spirit and to sense; it brings together the sacrifice of Calvary and the presence of the risen Christ; it is communion with God and communion with humanity; it covers the whole gamut of religious moods and emotions.
Again, it teaches the doctrine of creation, as the bread, the wine and ourselves are brought to God; the doctrine of atonement, for these gifts have to be broken in order that they may be perfected; the doctrine of salvation, for the Eucharist has to do with incorporation into Christ and the sanctification of human life; above all, the doctrine of incarnation, for it is no distant God whom Christians worship but one who has made himself accessible in the world.
The Eucharist also gathers up in itself the meaning of the church; its whole action implies and sets forth our mutual interdependence in the body of Christ; it unites us with the Church of the past and even, through its paschal overtones, with the first people of God, Israel; and it points to the eschatological consummation of the kingdom of God, as an anticipation of the heavenly banquet. Comprehensive though this description is, it is likely that I have missed something out, for the Eucharist seems to be inexhaustible.
* John Macquarrie. Paths in Spirituality, 2nd ed. Harrisburg, PA. Morehouse, 1992, 73.
All who are hungry and thirsty for God are welcome at Christ's table. This table is our unity in the Father, through the Son, and in the Spirit. We invite you and God welcomes you to join us in our weekly Mass.
Within Christian spiritual traditions, we express an Anglican spiritual temperment which is Benedictine in basic orientation. Our ethos and practices are 'emerging' Anglo Catholic.
The characteristics of Anglican spirituality have been outlined in the writings of John Westerhoff and summarize here:
Liturgical/Biblical: Anglican spirituality is rooted in communal daily prayer (Morning Prayer, Noonday Prayers, Evening Prayer, Compline) as laid out in The Book of Common Prayer. Thus, our way of praying tends to have structure and is shaped by the Scriptures, the divine reading of Scripture and the prayerful meditation on the psalms.
Communal: Communal prayer comes before and shapes personal prayer. Prayer is seen as an activity that connects us to God, to each other, to include the living to the dead. Communal prayer is a part of daily, weekly and yearly rhythms and both surrounds and informs community gatherings and meetings in which decisions are made.
Sacramental: We see the world, itself, as sacramental, that is, capable of mediating the grace of God. We are centered on the two primary sacraments of Baptism and Eucharist as along with other sacraments: confirmation, holy matrimony, reconciliation, unction, and ordination.
Incarnational: We emphasize the incarnation, God’s entry into human life and history. Accordingly, we have an earthy spirituality that affirms the goodness of life and the created world and believes that the extraordinary is to be found in the ordinary.
Mystical: We experience union with God as happening over time, bit by bit through a journey aided by spiritual discipline and prayer. Such a belief is consistent with the description of spiritual progress found in the mystics.
Comprehensive: We believe the truth is to be found in the tension between counter-opposites. We affirm both the sacred and secular, both the material and the non-material, both the mind and the heart, both the transcendence and the intimate closeness of God.
Ambiguous: We are not “black and white” thinkers, but instead affirm the ambiguity of experience and the value of learning to tolerate and embrace complexity and ambiguity in many aspects of human life and in the spiritual journey.
Open-minded: We are people of a questioning faith. We search for wisdom in many places and encourage people to listen to each other and to bring their honest questions to their spiritual life.
Intuitive: We are at home in the world of image, symbol, myth, ritual, and the arts. Very few Anglicans write systematic theologies. Instead we are writers, poets, pastors, and musicians.
Aesthetic: We believe that beauty is the doorway to truth and goodness and that beauty is a doorway to God.
Moderate: We avoid extremes, believing that a godly life is one that is disciplined, balanced and temperate.
Naturalistic: We have a reverence for nature and its rhythms. Anglicans believe in working to protect the natural world and its creatures.
Political: We believe that Christian life has political implications and that civic life is both a legitimate and important place for Christian’s apostolate to be expressed.
Benedictine spiritual life is about listening to the voice of God—through prayer, Scriptures, the depths of our own experience, and in listening to one another in community, through the lives of the saints and to the voice and experiences of the wider church.
Ordered and Regular:
Benedictine spiritual life is formed via an ordered rhythm of daily prayer that is Biblical and reflective: Benedictine prayer had a paricular structure and process. Monastic life is punctuated by the rhythms of prayer during the hours of each day. These prayers, which included the saying or chanting of the psalms, are experienced in the Daily Office. + Lectio divina involves contemplating Scripture, and being receptive to the presence of God, opening ourselves to being transformed.
Benedictines make a commitment to being intentional, as a part of a specific community and in a specific location as the context for spiritual growth and development. Stability in daily life calls for staying rooted 'where we are'—in relationship with ourselves, within our community, and our place/neighborhood/context in order to deepen our spiritual life.
Conversion of Life:
Listening and stability of life provide an environment where discernment can happen. We are ever engaged in discerning the way that Christ is calling us to follow day to day... Benedict called this lifelong process conversatio morum or conversion of life.
Benedictines hold that the life in Christ is best lived 'balanced' and within community. No single element - prayer, work, rest, learning, or recreation, prospers in the 'extreme.' Holiness of life is cultivated through a proper balance of these things.