School of Prayer – Level II
ABOUT THE COURSE
The School of Prayer is intended for those who realise the importance of prayer in their lives and are seeking a deeper relationship with God and support and encouragement in their search. It is not intended as an academic programme; the course will be mainly experiential. Participants will be invited to take an active part in spiritual conversation, workshops and small group sharing. It will also include essential reading, intended as a framework and support for the ongoing process of prayer, reflection and growth. For participants, it will offer the opportunity to be nourished by the rich treasures of Christian prayer with particular reference to the Carmelite tradition – and at the same time to explore their own prayer journey and share this experience with others.
The School of Prayer comprises Level I and II. Each level stands alone. You may take Level I and then a break to return to Level II at your own convenience when next it is offered. Level II builds on the modules explored in Level I.
To form people of prayer. The course draws primarily from lived Carmelite spirituality and prepares course participants to be a prayerful presence in the world. The course may also enrich and deepen the prayer life of those who are more at home in other Christian or Catholic traditions of prayer or spiritual formation.
AIMS OF THE COURSE
- To form people of prayer in a ten-week course over ten months
- To encourage an experience of living and praying with an online praying community
- To encourage intimacy with God
- To broaden an understanding of the variety of approaches to prayer
- All graduates of the course will have a deep and comprehensive understanding of the experience of prayer in a way that is enriching and empowering
- An understanding of prayer as an experience of intimacy with God
- The ability to help people to grow in their prayer and spiritual life
- A deep knowledge of the contemplative tradition of Christian spirituality
- An appreciation of our core identity as Beloved of God, informed by insights from Carmelite saints
The School of Prayer is open to all who wish to deepen their experience and knowledge of prayer and to explore the journey of prayer with others. Requirements for the course are:
- Commitment to one’s prayer life
- Heartfelt desire to draw from the rich tradition of Carmelite spirituality in deepening one’s prayer experience
- Attendance (we understand that life does sometimes get in the way)
- Level I must be completed but if you would still like to participate in Level II please contact the administrator.
The following are the key features of our unique programme.
- Online: All sessions are delivered online making access to it from anywhere in the world possible.
- On demand: As all learning resources and videos of recorded sessions are available online, this makes it possible for people with various jobs and other commitments to have access to the programme anytime and from anywhere without needing to give up these other commitments.
- Focused in Structure and Approach: The course modules taught over a ten-month period by seasoned experts explore in depth the essential aspect in the topic of prayer and spiritual formation. They are delivered with sustained momentum which facilitates continuous learning while allowing dedicated time for exploring and experiencing the key features in the contemplative practice of prayer.
- Contemplative in Focus: The programme is intent on introducing participants to, and immersing them in, formats of learning and the practice of prayer that will encourage them to grow in intimacy with God and in their own capacity for contemplative awareness, which is a way of being, living, seeing, listening and perceiving reality in an integrated and holistic fashion.
- Authentically Catholic: Our Programme is based on an understanding of prayer in the Catholic Tradition rooted in Sacred Scripture.
- Ecumenical in Outreach: Christians of all faith traditions are welcome on the Programme and our selection process deliberately encourages this diversity. Our Programme recognises that the Spirit is at work in all Christian traditions and so offers a a forum where the mutual enrichment of Christians from diverse faith traditions, ministerial experiences, as well as educational and cultural backgrounds, can be made possible.
- Carmelite Tradition as Foundation: Our Programme is founded on a tradition with an 800-year history from which has emerged a host of great saints and writers who have enriched the Church and guided countless pilgrims along the road of prayer. Saint Teresa of Avila is officially known in the Church as the Doctor of Prayer in recognition of her eminent teaching on prayer and the spiritual life. Her work and those of other saints in the Carmelite tradition such as John of the Cross, Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection, Thérèse of Lisieux, Elizabeth of the Trinity and Edith Stein illuminate so compellingly the disciplines appropriate to the life of prayer: solitude, silence, community, contemplation, presence, listening and discernment.
- Led by Seasoned Practitioners: All who contribute to our programme – speakers, mentors and facilitators – are experts in their fields with many years of experience in striving to lead a dedicated prayer life. Each member of the team has completed the required formation in the Carmelite contemplative tradition and is faithful to living a contemplative lifestyle (a mindful attunement to the Divine Presence and integration of prayer practices into their daily lives).
- Accompanier-Guided: Throughout the Programme, personal and interpersonal care remain in view. The accompanier’s role is to support and assist course participants, both one-on-one and in a small group. Accompaniers help to facilitate participants’ engagement with the learning process, integration of the insights from shared guidance and discernment of the journey towards ownership of the gift of prayer.
- Experiential and Practical Learning: Each course module facilitates experiential and practical learning by providing opportunities for growth and integration gained from personal reflection and communal activities.
- Individually Guided Prayer: Online prayer guidance will be offered as an essential part of the School of Prayer, and the Week of Online Individually Guided Prayer will be an integral part of the course.
THE EXPERIENCE OF PRAYER
September 18th 2021 – Praying in the Company of Mary
October 2nd 2021 – Praying with St Paul
October 16th 2021 – Discerning Growth /Regression in Prayer
October 30th 2021 – Feelings, Mystical Experiences and Prayer
November 13th 2022 – Contemplative Listening: Lectio Divina
November 27th 2021 – Contemplative Vision: Praying with Art/Photography
December 11th 2021 – The Three Ways of the Spiritual Life and Prayer – The Fiery Nights
*December 21st 2021 – The Living Flame of Love: Encountering the Mystery
January 8th 2022 – The Eucharist: Source and Summit of Prayer
January 22nd 2022 – Transformed by Prayer (Graduation Day)
*January 10th – 14th 2022 – *Week of Individually Guided Prayer
Saturdays 3:00-6:00pm Ireland/UK time (US time 7-10 am Pacific / 10am-1pm Eastern)
2:45pm – zoom opens
3:00pm – 3:05pm Welcome, Introduction and Opening Prayer
3:05pm – 3:40pm Session One
3:40pm – 3:50pm Break
3:50pm – 4:25pm Session Two
4:25pm – 4:45pm Break
4:45pm – 5:15pm Small Group Conversation
5:15pm – 5:40pm Guide/Silent Prayer
5:40pm – 6:00pm Feedback, Questions and Closing Prayer
Registration and Next Steps
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