Joseph Martos
Personal experiences related to concepts in this chapter
by Dr. Joe Martos - Tuesday, 24 November 2009, 1:10 AM

Reflections by Deborah Zeni (posted with her permission):

Sacred time and space have been part of my experience from childhood, when time in prayer was for experiencing the presence of God. Initially, this was limited to grace before meals and evening prayers, but then going to church and reading the Bible also became sacred time for me. However, my first experience of ritual as sacred time was my confirmation (as an Anglican), when I experienced not only being in relationship with Jesus – but, a personal responsibility to nurture and respect this new way of being. Sacred space I initially associated with church – including the kitchen and hall where we gathered to be community. However, as my faith and prayer life deepened, many places became sacred – set apart as special and precious for they afforded me the possibility of entering deeply into the love of God. When I first visited an atrium [visit], I intuitively recognized the sacredness of the space, and I removed my shoes. Since then, as a catechist, I am always telling others that within the atrium we offer children, and adults, sacred time and space in which they can meet and ‘fall in love’ with God.     

As a teenager, following reception of Communion at a school Mass, shortly after my grandfather’s death, I had an overwhelming feeling of God’s healing love and the limitations of our own lives and love. Tears pouring down my face, I left. At the time, I had no words to describe what I had felt and how it had changed how I saw myself and others in relationship to God, so when asked to explain my abrupt exit, I claimed I was sick. Today, I would describe this as the first of a number of ‘peak’ experiences. I remember clearly each experience – the time, the surroundings, and most particularly the transcendental understanding I was given. Though the affective intensity of the experience fades with time, the reality of each encounter is indelibly etched in my being and transforms the way I relate to people and God.