Friday, December 14, 2007

Keating & Freeman Conference

This past weekend ( 12.7.07--12.9.07)Rickey and I went to a conference in Sarasota. The theme was peace. Fr. Keating and Fr. Freeman spoke together. (Do you remember they are both Catholic priests, but they each have their own group with a specific approach to Christian mediation?) The whole event was deeply meaningful to me personally. I was encouraged and strengthened. It was significant to me that both men of God were received with honor and respect. It was unifying to share meditation periods together. (We prayed once Friday evening before the talks began. We prayed three times on Saturday and twice on Sunday.) Rickey returned to Lakeland on Saturday for SEU graduation and missed 2/3 of the day. He particularly missed the talk Fr. Freeman gave on education and contemplative spirituality. If you'll give me room, I'll try to say with honesty that Fr. Freeman described Rickey's philosophy and practice. (Our friends gently joked with him about what he had missed, but together they said he would have agreed.) It was meaningful to me for a whole room of contemplative folks to hear what is vitally important in education being articulated clearly from a respected voice. He pulled things together by saying a proper view and practice of education cuts across fear. If we can cease being fearful, we can cease being violent. (Be assured I am leaving out a significant amount of nuance.)

At lunch on Saturday, a stranger joined our group for conversation. She was particularly interested in how we shared the contemplative life. We all spoke articulately about the goals and specific teaching sessions we (as Representatives of Contemplative Outreach of Tampa Bay) made available to our larger church communities. We told about the importance of retreats and how difficult they were to finance. I briefly mentioned Rickey's investment in students at a Christian university. So when Rickey was introduced to her on Sunday, she had a whole set of questions ready for him. It turns out she is the director for a charitable trust that has funded both groups, CO--Contemplative Outreach and WCCM--World Community for Christian Meditation. It's interesting, but we don't know what it means.

Fr. Freeman spoke about us all being monks. "A monk," he said, "is one who seeks God." But we must realize deep spirituality is not about withdrawing. It is about integrating wisdom into every part of our lives. He closed with a quote from the beatitudes; "The pure of heart shall see God." Purity of heart is what we need to cultivate. Amen

Anna Cotton


living stones said...

Thanks for sharing. Can you tell us about taking Keating to the airport? We'd like to hear about that. Also, I'm interested (as I'm sure others are) in hearing more of what Freeman said about education and fear. No pressure, but if you get a chance, can you elaborate? --Paul Corrigan

Sarah said...

I agree with Paul--this post has made me hungry to hear more about the conference. Whenever you get a chance, I'll be eagerly awaiting more elaboration as well!

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