Circuit Quiet day at Rearsby Convent

Circuit Quiet day at Rearsby Convent…. Jo Kay writes

On a bright but slightly chilly Saturday morning 22 folk from Leicester North and some folk from St. James’s, Birstall, gathered at Rearsby Convent for a quiet day led by James Shakespeare. The theme for the day was Refilling the Well. Rev James Shakespeare

This first session, based on the story of the Woman at the Well,  was all about “Rest, Rhythm and Awareness”. We looked at the perspective of Re-filling our wells with the fresh flowing water of the Holy Spirit. In our busy lives we tend to forget that God is within us and longing for us to speak to him and listen to him. There is a need to learn to “Be Still” in order to recognise this fact. We need to become “Human beings” and not “Human doings; to practise the presence of God and try to get into a disciplined rhythm of prayer. James urged us to create “Sabbath places of prayer” in our busy lives.  If we are still then it gives God a chance to minister to us and to refill us with the Holy Spirit.

At the end of the session James handed out sheets with a selection of Bible verses that we could use to practice Lectio Divina.  This involves reading a passage several times, reflecting on it, praying about it and finally resting with your thoughts and with God. We were encouraged in the time we had before lunch to try this or any form of meditation we preferred, to walk around the grounds using all our senses; sit in the beautiful chapel or talk quietly to each other in the designated “talking room”!!

After lunch we discussed Jesus stilling the storm from Mark’s gospel. James encouraged us to take a journey from restlessness to stillness—vital in these busy 21st Century lives we all seem to lead. We need to relearn the art of stillness. As St Augustine said “our hearts are restless, ‘til they find rest in you”. We were encouraged to spend time in one place and be still in God, and ready and open to listen to him. We were to try to pray with a good posture, listening and being aware of our breathing and perhaps using a short mantra, such as Come Lord Jesus.  The aim was to discover that place within us that can be filled only by God— knowing above all else that his “yoke is easy” and his “burden is light”.

Hopefully we left our quiet space” with a renewed mind and spirit, and new insights into how to achieve the sense of grace that is possible in deep stillness and prayer.  A straw poll afterwards said that everyone had enjoyed the day and that it had been deeply fulfilling.

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