In today’s blog I reveal the topic of my upcoming book, Authentic Freedom – Claiming a Life of Contentment and Joy which is being released this April through St. Johann Press! The theme? Spiritual Growth. Spiritual Guidance. Christian Mystical and Contemplative Practices. In a word: Enlightenment!
As most of my readers know, I was blessed (I know, some might call this a curse) with twelve years of Catholic school education. I was one of those weird kids that actually liked going to mass and learning about God, Jesus, etc. I continued to enjoy my Catholic faith into my adulthood and even pursued advanced education in Catholic theology, etc. What I did not know was the part of my post-undergrad education that would dramatically alter my life.
Hiding in Plain Sight
In my first year of formation as a Lay Pastoral Minister, I had the great opportunity to take a class called Integrative Spirituality with Sr. Marie Schwan, CSJ. In this class, I learned of the mystical tradition of my Catholic (btw, Catholics don’t own this tradition!!!!) faith. We had the opportunity to learn and put into practice specific techniques of contemplative prayer and meditation that empowered us to discover and cultivate a deeply intimate and personal relationship with the Divine. These tools, I discovered, were the tools of the Christian tradition that provided for those who adhered to these tools the path to enlightenment. What I further discovered was that these tools were not readily accessible to lay people (like myself), and that the majority of men in the ordained diocesan priesthood had ABSOLUTELY NO TRAINING OR EXPERIENCE in using these tools. These tools had been guarded and preserved primarily by the men and women in religious orders (ie; Benedictines, Norbertines, Dominicans, Franciscans, Sisters of St. Joseph, Sisters of Mercy, etc.) and were rarely if ever known by anyone else.
So here is what I found when I put these tools into practice:
- I experienced more peace and less stress in my life
- I discovered answers to questions, life decisions, the struggles in my life
- I came to experience more joy
- I discovered I could forgive more freely and love more deeply
- I discovered my own unique gifts and was led to ways in which I could use them to help others
It was totally awesome! As I put these tools into practice I could not wait to share them with others…. so I did. First I shared them through small groups of friends who were interested in sharing these tools together, then I shared them in my ministry at the Newman Center Catholic Campus Ministry where I was employed, then I went out to share them in the world.
Enlightenment for Everybody
This is how the Authentic Freedom series of classes came about and Authentic Freedom Ministries and now the book, Authentic Freedom – Claiming a Life of Contentment and Joy. I have shared this curriculum now for nearly ten years not to mention the 10 years prior of working toward the development of this curriculum while still employed in the Catholic Church. This is what I hope people will find when reading and engaging in this book:
- An increase in peace and contentment in their lives
- The ability to forgive more freely and love more deeply
- MORE JOY!!!!!
- An invitation to recognize their own magnificence and that they have been uniquely gifted and called to reveal love, compassion, joy and mercy in the world
- The inner freedom to openly and generously share their unique truths in the world
- Healing from the fears and false perceptions that keep them from experiencing authentic spiritual freedom
- That scripture is a fantastic source of wisdom literature and speaks deep and profound truths when we rescue it from dogmatic and doctrinal interpretation. 😉
- That Jesus was really a cool dude after all
- That God is loving and compassionate, not wrathful or vengeful
- A new perspective on what institutions have called sin, original sin, temptation, Satan, hell – a new perspective that frees us from the fear and attempts to manipulate inherent in these institutional terms.
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Authentic Freedom Ministries