[RivCompanions] Something to read

Christine Gilson rector at tecedk.kscoxmail.com
Fri Jul 12 00:20:20 UTC 2013

Dear Noel and other Companions,
I'm responding to the below, which I pasted from the June 20 email of  
yours - in particular I'm responding to question #2 with what I think  
is near to "mandatory" or at least highly recommended - not only for  
postulants, but for all of us.

I'm recommending this because I believe it takes the community back to  
its roots - which, after all, were just a few people who longed to  
pray together and to engage in holy discourse and friendship.  And,  
our Rule asks that we spend considerable time in prayer, corporate,  
and private silent prayer.  For me, this has been "the right book for  
the right person at the right time" and I would hope it would be the  
same for everyone.  (In fact, most of the founders may have already  
read it - it seems like the kind of book that would have inspired them).

The title is "Clinging: The Experience of Prayer" by Emilie Griffin.   
It was first published in 1984, then in a second edition in 1994; and  
has been reprinted by Eighth Day Press in Wichita.  It is quite short  
(73 pages) and succinct, yet deep.
Griffin's sources are many - scripture, first of all; George Herbert,  
Evelyn Underhill, Andre Louf, "The Cloud of Unknowing," "A mirror for  
simple souls," Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen, C.S. Louis, among others.

I found something that resonated on almost every page, but the chapter  
on spiritual friendship, "Hoops of steel" was especially meaningful,  
as I recalled the early stories of our community.  Here is one example:
"Prayer, it seems, disposes us to friendship in that it more and more  
lays us open to experience from any source, makes us sensitive to  
every aspect of existence...  and because of prayer, it somehow  
becomes possible to take up each friendship into ourselves and meke it  
part of our own way of loving, so that the next experience of a loving  
heart becomes an expansion not only of ourselves, but of all the loves  
we already bear within us, enriching all those affections already  
embedded in our hearts."  She speaks of Christ glowiing in the center  
of our friendships that are friendships "not of the flesh but of  

She addresses the reluctance we have as we begin to pray, the yielding  
to God, darkness, fear, clinging to God in prayer.  Since part of what  
we are about is "transparency," I found her chapter on this very topic  
moving and meaningful.  I learned that "transparency" does not mean  
being open to all about our thoughts and feelings and let everything  
be known, as it were.

"Transparency," she writes, "is neither light nor illumination,  
precisely.  It is that experience of going beyond ourselves and our  
limitations while at the same time being conscious of the definition  
of ourselves.  It is the grasp of reality that comes about not from an  
effort to master circumstance, but instead from a full admission of  
our powerlessness and our inability to comprehend events."   
"Transparency overturns our notion of God as there-and-later, whiile  
everything else is here-and-now.  But, through prayer, we begin to see  
God as her-and-now within and during and as part of (everything that  
is).  Moreover, transparency opens us to love.

And - I would of course put this little book under Unit D.

Thanks for listening.  I plan to read it again - and again.


on June 20, Noel wrote:
"As we discussed at General Chapter, the formation process for current  
postulants who all are in Texas will be a bit different from the past  
where we may have had a one-on-one relationship with companion and  
posutlant working through the study guide together.  I am beginning to  
formulate some ideas and am certainly open to your suggestions and  
feedback to what will be proposed.  For now, what I would love to have  
(even if you've already told me or submitted information last year)  
are the following:

1. Which unit(s) in the Study Guide would you like to work on with  
A - Rhythms of Sacred Time and the Daily Office
B - Our Story and The Story: The Rivendell Motif and the Journey
C - Eucharistic Living
D - Deepening Our Life of Prayer
E - Hospitality and Community
F - Central Intentions
2. What readings (books) outside the Study Guide do you feel are  
"mandatory" reading for community membership.....sort these by Unit.
3. What readings were especially instrumental in your formation that  
you would also recommend but not "require"....also by Unit or if not  
related to a particular unit....just list "general".....I am realizing  
that the volume of these is excessive for me, so a representative  
group is fine."
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