10 a
Recall a time when you experienced the presence of a person who was physically absent or the presence of a saint or the presence of God.

After my mother died, I felt bad because there were some things I had wanted to tell her but never got around to saying. A counselor suggested that I imagine my mother as I remembered her, and talk about those things with her. When I did that, I felt as though I was really talking with her and that she was really listening.

10 b
If you had to come up with some descriptive adjectives or phrases for the experience you just recalled, which ones would you use?

It was like I was talking with her in heaven, or like I was communicating with her spirit. It was surprising and also a relief.

11 a

Describe an experience in which space and/or time felt sacred, precious, or important (for example, an experience in nature, being in a historic building, or when something special happened in your life).

Visiting Washington DC as a boy, and going into the Lincoln Memorial, it was like going into a church or cathedral, and losing track of time as I read the inscriptions from Lincoln’s speeches on the walls. It was like getting in touch with what America was all about.

11 b

Name some things (objects, sounds, smells, writings, rituals, art, music) that can elicit spiritual experiences or experiences of the sacred for you.

When I was younger, looking at a picture of my girl friend when we were separated helped me to feel the love she had for me and the love I had for her. Also, every now and then I go into an older school building and it smells just like the public school I went to as a kid. Whenever I smell that smell, it’s like I’m a little boy again in the first grade.

12 a
What is something that has mana for you?

The American flag. The tabernacle where the Eucharist is reserved.

Name someone who has charisma in your eyes.

Some past U.S. presidents with charima were Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan. The way people respond to his presence shows that Barak Obama has charisma for many people in America and elsewhere.

In the area of religion, I would name Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II, when they were alive.

Sometimes the amount of charisma that people had can be seen in the outpouring of affection that occurs when they die, as happened after the deaths of Princess Diana and Michael Jackson.

12 b

If you think of a mystery as a spiritual reality that is experienced but only partially understood, what sorts of things would you consider mysteries?

Falling in love, certainly. That’s a positive one. And a negative one is loneliness. Sometimes you feel lonely and there's no special reason for it.

When are some times that you felt you were in the presence of mystery?

Once I was out in the desert far away from civilization, and at night the sky was so black and filled with stars that I felt like I was looking at the whole universe.

13 a
During his lifetime, how might Jesus have been someone through whom people experienced the presence and power of God?

Some people could have seen him doing things like curing sicknesses and figured that he must have some special power. The Pharisees thought it was the power of the devil, not the power of God.

How do images and stories of Jesus mediate the mystery of God to you?

Bible stories about Jesus, when I was a boy, gave me ideas about God. There have also been some movies and plays about Jesus that gave me a new understanding of Jesus’ humanity or his divinity.

13 b
How have you experienced difficulty finding God in your life or seeing God at work in the world?

I think I must have lost my faith three or four times when I was in college and questioning everything I had been taught! Today it’s hard to see how God could allow things like torture or genocide or killer hurricanes.

Which images or representations of Jesus don’t work for you?

Traditional pictures and statues, like the Sacred Heart, used to help me relate to Jesus, but they don’t any more. At the other extreme, really modern images that are very abstract don’t speak to me, either.











Last modified: Saturday, 16 May 2015, 12:41 AM