Joseph Martos
Part Two of the Course, First Assignment, Question 2
by Dr. Joe Martos - Friday, 17 February 2012, 1:43 AM
 

Analyze a religious or spiritual experience that you have had, using the concepts of sacred time, sacred space and sacred meaning.

Picture of arnetta sims
Re: Part Two of the Course, First Assignment, Question 2
by arnetta sims - Monday, 16 July 2012, 1:56 PM
 

A few years ago I was invited to a healing mass. I was very hesitant to attend because I was weary both spiritually and physically. The newness of the Charismatic movement was also a factor. I decided to attend and see what happens in a healing service.

At the major elevation I started weeping I had entered that sacred place. At this place I felt the presence of God. I was not sure if it was pure exhaustion or had I surrendered to a power greater than my frail body. As the mass continued I experienced peace and joy beyond my ordinary limit. It was at this moment that I cried holy. I began to worship God and I felt His love. The beauty and awe of the moment was so mysterious there was no words to describe it.

The rituals in this celebration ushered me into a state of prayer and worship. The sacramental rituals and symbols in the liturgy set the tone for my healing. Afterwards Father did an altar call I pressed my way to the altar. He anointed my head with oil and laid hands on me. The choir appeared to be miles away with voices of angels. I rested on the floor in a heavenly sleep and when I woke up from this state I felt new.

Since that experience at each major elevation in the mass I am renewed. The sacredness of that symbolic action gave meaning to sacrament.

GRADE 3 (Excellent example, but shorter than required length.)Edited by Dr. Joe - original submission Friday, 22 June 2012, 07:52 PM)

(Edited by Dr. Joe - original submission Monday, 16 July 2012, 08:53 AM)

Picture of Monica Okon
Re: Part Two of the Course, First Assignment, Question 2
by Monica Okon - Monday, 16 July 2012, 1:59 PM
 

Analysis of a Spiritual Experience with sacred time, Space, and meaning

Sacraments should not be received just for fun. There should be an outcome of every sacrament irrespective of which religion. It is now I am beginning to ask myself what happens when I receive a sacrament. Martos’ response is, “When sacraments in all religions function as “doors to the sacred,” that is an invitation to religious experience” (7). This statement seems to confirm my earlier understanding in the first part of this course that sacraments involves rituals, ceremonies and symbols which reveals the sacred or which leads to God. The chain is not broken until it takes the person to sacred time, space and meaning. I therefore think that if one is in a sacred space, time and has sacred meaning, the person is there to meet the sacred- God. In other words, sacraments give rise to religious experience, from religious experience we enter into hierophanies which means a manifestation of the sacred. The manifestation of the sacred therefore is another way of saying one has a vision, or a revelation, or an apparition. When one has this experience, it is a sacred time. A sacred time then is that very special time when one is aware of the presence of the sacred or the Holy one whom we call God. Such moments are not described as wasted time. Instead it a time that is countless and it is a meaningful time.

It is the same thing that happens with sacred space and meaning. Sacred space is where someone is having the experience of the sacred. It is a precious space, a wonderful space where the sacred is grasped with special meaning. A sacred space is a very important space since it connects the person having this experience with God. Sacred space as Martos reminds us is not an ordinary space of square foot. It is an important space that connects us with the divine. Sacred space to me is a space that gives me a deeper understanding of my beliefs. Sacred space gives meaning to what is sacred. It is a space that is different from the normal space. According to Martos, “Sacred space is spaceless space and sacred time is timeless time” (9) If one happens to be in sacred time, space, and meaning, he or she is never in a hurry to leave. It is never too long to experience the sacred just as space does not determine where to experience the sacred all that matters is one is able to find meaning that is sacred.

My Spiritual Experiences with Sacred Time, Space and Meaning

During my retreat last week, which is considered as spiritual experience, I could find myself in contact with sacred time, space and meaning. What made it a sacred time? Throughout the year, I have been so busy and tired from work to school. I did not have I was always in need of enough time to finish my home work, submit my final papers, research and do class presentation. I hardly had time to take care of my health. I could eat anything since I had no time to cook what would be good for me. My house has been in a mess without time to clean up. Hours of sleep was reduced to 4 hours. Above all, I had no time for regular spiritual exercises, prayers, mass, etc. Physically, spiritually, and psychologically I was tired and overwhelmed. When opportunity for a retreat came, there was no reminder to tell me how much this would be good for me.

When I finally turned myself in for the retreat, I had a chance to get in touch with myself, God, and other people. I was away from my phone, internet and all unnecessary conversation and communication with people for this short time. The retreat period was the most significant time I ever needed. It was a precious time and I longed for it. Why? I found myself in a whole new space, time and purpose or meaning (not necessarily physical). I found myself in what Martos describes as, “The space is sacred space, the time is sacred time, and the meaning is sacred meaning”(7). Even though I went into the retreat with many problems, I had time to deal with them in meditations, in prayers, in discussion during spiritual direction all without pressure of time. What could be more amazing that at meals, prayer, and sleep I did not have to look at the time to determine what I had to do next? It is a time I thought, should never end because this was time, “charged with importance,”(9) since it allowed me to discover myself in connection with my state of life as a religious and to find out what is really important and how I how I could make up in areas that have not been spiritually strong.

Even though it was a silent retreat, we sometimes were able to eat together, the liturgy of the mass was celebrated together, and at the beginning and end of the retreat, we were able to socialize together. It reminded me about being in the community (convent) with my sisters where most of the activities are carried out in common. I guess this is the sacred space and sacred meaning described by Martos. During my retreat, I cannot boast of having any vision, but the fact that the retreat which was based on Ignatian spirituality was explained to me and the importance of silence was emphasized both verbally and in writing, it gave me that special meaning, space, and time in a way which I may not be able to explain. It was so satisfying and gave me that sense of renewal both physically and spiritually. It is amazing to discover how these exercises that I sometimes take for granted are powerful means of being in touch with God. This is why Martos remind us that, “A meaning can be sacred simply because it is significant to us personally, it is associated with some significant person or place such as parents, home, ---(10). He further explains that, “But what symbols does is draw us out of the world of our everyday concerns and into the world of meaning which is associated with the symbols. This class is making me to be more conscious of events surrounding me in the past, present and the ones yet to come. Certainly, not all the experiences are sacramental, but many of these experiences and spiritual exercises such as retreat, has allowed me to understand what goes on during sacramental rituals, ceremonies, and symbols. During my retreat, I was spiritually home with both my religious and natural families, and I was also home with God and myself.

GRADE 4 (Personal and thorough.)

(Edited by Dr. Joe - original submission Wednesday, 27 June 2012, 07:42 PM)

Picture of Eileen Rettig
Re: Part Two of the Course, First Assignment, Question 2
by Eileen Rettig - Monday, 16 July 2012, 2:01 PM
 
It was not as if I did not know my father was dying. He had been diagnosed with lymphoma a year before and after a brief remission the cancer was back. The family was discussing bringing Dad home for hospice care when he took a turn for the worse. My youngest sister had called the evening before to let me know what was going on, but I live a thousand miles away. It was not possible for me to drop everything and fly to Philadelphia. I had just been there the week before and my husband, daughter and job all required my attention.

At the time I worked as a parish nurse in my Catholic parish. My office was literally less than fifty steps from the chapel. I had gotten to work early that morning because I knew I would probably be flying back to Philadelphia that weekend. One of the parish deacons came into my office to check on how many parishioners were in the hospital for him to take Communion to that Friday. We chatted for a few minutes, he knew about Dad. After he left to go to the chapel to get the Hosts I felt an incredible call to follow him to the chapel.

As I knelt down before the Blessed Sacrament I became aware of others with me in the chapel. My Dad was with me, as were his parents and Jesus. At that instant I became aware that Dad had come to say good-bye to me and to let me know he was with his folks and the Lord. In a moment the deacon came out of the sacristy for the chapel and asked me if I was okay. As I tried to think of what to say I heard my telephone ring. All I could say is, “That’s for me. My Dad just died.” It was my sister telling me that Dad was gone. It was an experience of sacred time in a sacred place and clearly had a sacred meaning.

The place was sacred to me for several reasons. The chapel was small and intimate, only seating about thirty people and I had often attended daily Mass there. It was not unusual for me to slip into the chapel for a few minutes during my work day to spend a couple moments with the Blessed Sacrament. On those days when I made hospital visits or a call on a dying parishioner I would use that chapel to get the Eucharist to take with me. The experience probably lasted less than a minute and yet it lasted forever. It was an entry into sacred time, eternal time. In times of stress I can return to that experience and recover the sense of peace and comfort I felt. The sacred meaning was clear and yet a mystery. My father had entered eternity. He had come to assure his oldest child that he was safe and happy, no longer suffering. How could a man who was dying a thousand miles away be present in a small chapel in Mobile, Alabama? That will remain a mystery, a thing I will never completely understand.

To add to the sacredness of the event my sisters and I were given one more precious memory that in analysis qualifies as sacrament. Dad died the Friday before Thanksgiving. For various reasons it was not possible to schedule his funeral until the day before Thanksgiving. Our family had Thanksgiving dinner together that year. It was the last time all six of us girls were together with our mother. It was a wonderful get together with Dad’s presence felt by everyone. It was a time of family unity most definitely a sacred time.

GRADE 4 (Beautiful example, personally expressed.)

(Edited by Dr. Joe - original submission Saturday, 30 June 2012, 03:04 PM)

Picture of Marvin Fitchett
Re: Part Two of the Course, First Assignment, Question 2
by Marvin Fitchett - Monday, 16 July 2012, 2:06 PM
 

The most sacred spiritual occurrence I recall with clarity is a personal encounter experienced with the voice of God. This encounter with the voice of God occurred as my marriage swayed towards divorce. About year four into our marriage, it was evident that our concerns were on everything else but our marriage. My interests were in providing for my family, I volunteered for any assignment that would position me for the next promotion. My wife’s interests were focused on the world’s partying scene. The disparities in our interests lead to many verbal arguments and the deterioration of our relationship. As the verbal arguments and deterioration escalated, I realized we needed help in restoring our marriage. First, I arranged for our parents, and her God father to talk with us, this effort was futile. Next, we sought professional marriage counseling, this effort was in vain. Finally, we started the divorce proceedings, however in my soul, I was desperate for help to save my marriage. Shortly, thereafter, I decided to seek God’s for his direction concerning my failing marriage. My thought was, I tried everything and everybody else, I might as well try God.

Sacred Encounter

The same evening we started the divorce proceedings, my wife went out and I put our son to bed. After putting our son to bed, a feeling of desperation for help overwhelmed me. I went into the living room and began to petition God earnestly to save our marriage. While praying the feeling of desperation subsided and calmness enveloped me. I became quite and still in my soul, and at this point I heard God’s one word response, “WAIT”. Hearing this response, when there was no one in the room but me was mysterious, perplexing, and frustrating. The one word communication from God frustrated me because I was on the verge of losing my marriage, and He sends one word, “WAIT”.

Analysis

The sacredness of my personal encounter with the voice of God is revealed through God’s sacred timing, the place, and sacred meaning.

The sacredness of the time refers to God’s timing when He intervenes and marks the time as He begins to change our hearts, thoughts and attitudes concerning the direction of our marriage.

The place was the apartment we resided in September 1992, more specifically the living room, where I can recall the furniture and it arrangement. The significance of the place was its where God invaded my world and gave me an opportunity to commune with him, even if it was just one word, “WAIT”. Furthermore, that apartment was the place where God initiated his transforming work in my wife and me. I witnessed the change in her, where she no longer had a desire to go out. She witnessed a change in me, where I put my family before my desire for a promotion.

The sacred meaning to my personal encounter with the voice of God is God is the author of marriage. Marriage and family are foundational element to God’s design. Although, our marriage appeared on the verge of divorce, my petitions to him gave him a place in our marriage which initiated the restoration process for our marriage.

The sacred one word communication between God and me has made me living epistle that God restores marriages.

GRADE 4 (Your use of the terms "sacred time," "sacred space," and "sacred meaning" are not quite the same as those presented in the chapter, but your understanding is developing in the right direction.)

(Edited by Dr. Joe - original submission Wednesday, 11 July 2012, 12:25 AM)

Picture of Tim Talbott
Re: Part Two of the Course, First Assignment, Question 2
by Tim Talbott - Friday, 13 July 2012, 2:01 AM
 
Wow, that's an awesome story.
Picture of Tim Talbott
Re: Part Two of the Course, First Assignment, Question 2
by Tim Talbott - Monday, 16 July 2012, 2:09 PM
 

My parents had a formal living room in their house, and prominently displayed over the piano was a picture of the Sacred Heart. My father always had a devotion to the Sacred Heart so this may have been the reason I tended to pray before this image in our home. This was also the room where my parents would have a traveling statue of Mary placed, where visitors would congregate to recite the Rosary. The room had French doors which did a very good job to make the room more private. Being the youngest of eight children, although only four were still at home during my middle school years, this room also proved to be the quietest in the house. This place seemed to be a sacred space for me. Other than in Church or the Adoration Chapel, this was probably the next most sacred place I knew of.

On one particular instance, someone I knew called me to ask me if I would pray for someone who they were close to. They told me that they were very distraught over that person and in God’s silence they were uncertain of God’s love for them. Shortly after getting off of the phone, I really felt compelled to go pray in front of the image of the Sacred Heart. I was actually kneeling in front of it, asking Jesus to touch the other person and let them know that they were loved. While doing so, I seemed to lose track of time and became transfixed on the image. I say that this would be an example of sacred time, because there truly was no sense of time. I can’t really describe the feeling or what exactly occurred, but I felt an extreme sense of peace and trust and the image seemed to almost illuminate. After this went on for a little while, my phone rang and interrupted me. It was the person who had asked me to pray for them, and they asked me if I was just praying for them. They said they had just felt with absolute certainty that I was praying for them and Jesus was comforting them. I had not said anything to anyone about it and the affirmation I received from it was so surreal. This whole instance is an example had a sacred meaning to me.

GRADE 2 (Excellent description of sacred time. Additional descriptions of sacred space and sacred meaning needed. Shorter than required length.)

(Edited by Dr. Joe - original submission Thursday, 12 July 2012, 10:00 PM)