F&F NYC - Urban Contemplative Spiritual Direction Pilgrimage - An Anglo-Catholic Pentecostal Ref

F&F NYC - Urban Contemplative Spiritual Direction Pilgrimage - An Anglo-Catholic Pentecostal Reflection

The purpose of this paper is to explore the practice of contemplation in Spiritual Direction in Urban Prayer locations through Interdenominational Spiritual Practices. This assignment will build on the author’s previous writing on the Song of Songs entitled “Introduction to the Song of Songs - An Anglo-Catholic Pentecostal Reflection” and will draw on the experiences of a pilot Urban Pilgrimage in New York City from three different prayer locations.

These locations included the Chapel at the Pauline Catholic Book Store, the Anglican Church and Chapel in the Transfiguration Church and the Pentecostal practice of open prayer, discipleship and meditation in a coffee shops in our final selected location, the Ace Hotel. The final location was chosen due to its ambience, environment and lighting which created a similar worshipping environment to a Pentecostal worshiping community. The author will reflect on these experiences, the theory from the core textbook and the author’s selected faith traditions and texts.

The Catholic text will be focused on the walking practice of pilgrimages including “the Way of a Pilgrim and the Pilgrim Continues His Way” translated by Helen Bacovcin and the “Philokalia, the Complete Text, compiled by St Nikodimos of the Holy Mountain and Saint Makarios of Corinth”. The Anglican text is the selected core text the “Spiritual Direction, Spiritual Companion: Guide to Tending the Soul” by Tilden Edwards and the “Heaven on Earth: A Call to Community in the Book of Revelation” by Michael Battle. Finally, the Pentecostal texts include the “Heavy Rain” book by Kris Vallotton and the teachings at “the Global School of Supernatural Ministry New York City” a poem and a reflection by the author himself.

For the Urban Pilgrimage practice, the author selected three locations in their Spiritual homes, representing unique faith practices and with friends who had historically experienced these traditions. Through this experience the participants were able to complete three Spiritual prayer practices. Firstly, in the Catholic practice prayer focused on repentance and remembering past families who had recently passed. In our Anglican practice the prayer time focused on lighting a candle, writing a prayer and completing noon day prayer either privately in silence or aloud in the Chapel. Then the Urban Pilgrimage finished with an open Bible reading, discussion and coffee prayer for the Pentecostal spiritual practice at the Ace Hotel. All four participants on the pilgrimage had previously been members in one of the three faith traditions. One was an Anglican from the Church of England, the second a Pentecostal from the Greater New Jersey area and finally a converted Pentecostal believer from the Greater New York area.

At the first location on the Pilgrimage the author purchased the Catholic text of the ‘Way a Pilgrim and the Pilgrim Continues his Way.” Through this text, as Spiritual Directors or Spiritual Directees, we can learn, through the translation from Helen Bacovin, to establish the richness of the art of Catholic Spirituality. The practice of praying through continually without ceasing, meditating and reciting liturgical prayer. The author of the book, who is anonymous, talks about how he was a seeker to discover the answer to one core question “how do you pray without ceasing.” This was in response to the scriptural text 1 Thessalonians 5:17 which reads “pray without ceasing.” It was in the pursuit to answer this question that leads us to our first reflection.

First Reflection – Catholic Tradition -The Way of a Pilgrim – Translated by Helen Bacovin

When visiting elderly people at Nursing homes the practice of Catholic mas, using the rotary and reciting liturgical prayer is very common. Catholics pray, recite, meditate and rehearse scripture as part of their Spiritual practice. The author of this text is seeking to go further than the practice of religion, but to seek a deeper, more authentic and immeasurable understanding of God’s peace. Primarily through seeking answers to praying without ceasing, remaining in constant contact with God despite what is going on around you and being on earth (Bacovin et al, 1985, Chapter 1).

The difference for our brother pilgrim is that he seeks not to serve the world, but to be drawn near to God and to seek no finance for fulfillment of his life, but to know God more and to establish a more faith filled, prayer filled and fulfilled life in his creator in poverty. The contrast between one who simply carries a Bible, travels from town to town and preaches the Gospel is different to the modern-day Christian of today. Take a nurse working on accident and emergency shift, a Firefighter responding to a call or an emergency first aid responder. Those are Christians on the front line serving in the battle field, fighting for God, seeking God and pursuing God in their work. They, like the Pilgrim, are also on Spiritual pilgrimages, but different vocational pilgrimages serving where they feel called to be serving God and waiting patiently for God to come into the midst of uncertainty and to grant perfect peace in their everyday lives (Bacovin et al, 1985, Chapter 1).

The author of the Pilgrims Way refers to the Jesus prayer to be both his answer, the nurses answer, the firefighters answer and the first aid responders answer as to how to pray without ceasing. To simply recite the words of the prayer continuously as follows: “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me!” These words were instructed to be read by our brother pilgrim 3,000 times in one day so as to be at one with the prayer, to be at peace and to be able to return to it as a meditation, spiritual discipline and as a contemplation throughout challenging, changing and difficult transitions. This is imperative for all people’s in life, but especially in the walk of an urban city Christian (Bacovin et al, 1985, Chapter 1).

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