This fall I will be heading to the monastery twice to offer retreats for people interested in exploring the intersection of money and faith. October 22-25, I will be visiting the Roman Catholic Calmaldolese community at the New Camaldoli Hermitage on the Big Sur Coast. November 12-15, I will be offering a retreat on Wisdom and Money in partnership with the Holy Cross Monastery, a Benedictine monastery in the Episcopal Tradition, in West Park, NY. In this short piece, I want to say a few words about why I think the monastery is an excellent setting for engaging with money as a doorway to transformation.
I draw in this piece on the wisdom of Harvest Time’s Boston Circle. Early on in its development, that circle made a decision to gather at Emery House in West Newbury, MA. There we shared our money stories and joined the monastic community in their daily practice of prayer and silence. The beauty, quiet, and liturgy of the Society of Saint John the Evangelist community provided a warm and nourishing container that held us as we dove deep into our longings and challenges with money and did our best to listen for the leading of Christ.
Later, one member of the Boston Circle, Helen Daly, a psychotherapist and long-time student of contemplative prayer and the world’s religions, began attending “Wisdom School.” In that context, she learned about a Christian path of wisdom that emerges from ways of life and prayer that have been at the heart of the Christian monastic tradition for centuries. (For more information about this path see The Wisdom Way of Knowing by Cythnia Bourgeault).
Helen brought back to us a very simple morning prayer ritual that included chanting, silence, and Lectio Divina. Helen also explained how these very ancient Christian prayer practices serve to “rewire” our brains, developing the part of the brain that is capable of empathy, compassion, and what some spiritual teachers refer to as “non-dual consciousness” (see, for instance, Richard Rohr’s The Naked Now.)
I was fascinated by these connections that Helen was making between contemplative Christian prayer and neuroscience because after years of sitting with people who are exploring money and faith, I have noticed that the place where most of us are in need of transformation is typically not in our thinking. Instead, the places where we are “stuck” are often connected to deep emotions and primal human desires, such as the desire for control, affection, or security – desires that are associated with the most primitive part of our brain. Money often seems to hitch a ride with one of these core human programs, thus blocking our ability to ground our financial lives in faith-filled love.
And yet, in the Gospels, Jesus continually invites us to shift from an ego-based, self-centered, and self-preserving way of using money to one that is rooted in trust in God, community, and sharing. How do we make that shift? One way that the Boston Circle has discovered to do so is by practicing contemplative prayer and ways of being alongside our talking about money because these are the spiritual technologies that can literally “change our minds” and open our hearts.
What better place to explore our relationship with money than the monastery where chanting, contemplative prayer, Lectio Divina, and silence are a way of life?
For more information about or to register for one of Harvest Time’s fall retreats, please contact Rose.
Into Silence Tuesday October 22-Friday October 25, 2013 New Camaldoli Hermiatge, Big Sur Coast, CA Join Rose on a journey into the contemplative silence of the New Camaldoli Hermitage on the beautiful Big Sur Coast. During the retreat we will join the monastic community in its daily prayer; meet once per day to talk about our financial lives and listen to others; rest; and take time for being in nature. Most of this retreat will be in silence. Suggested donation to New Camaldoli Hermiatge $220. Space limited to 6 people. Facilitator: Rose Feerick
This retreat is offered for people who consider themselves to be wealthy. Harvest Time defines “people of wealth” as people who come from a culture of wealth or who consider themselves to be wealthy in world where too many people do not have what they need to survive.
Registration Deadline September 30, 2013.
Wisdom and Money Tuesday November 12-Friday November 15, 2013 Holy Cross Monastery, West Park NY. Grounded in a way of knowing that is rooted in the heart, we will explore our relationship with money as a way to deepen our relationship with Christ and to more closely align our financial resources with our faith. During the retreat we will join the monastic community in its daily prayer; talk about our financial lives and listen to others; rest; take time for silence and being in nature. Space is limited to 12. Suggested donation to Holy Cross Monastery: $325. Facilitators: Rose Feerick and Brother Bernard Delcourt
This retreat is offered for all who are interested in exploring the intersection of money and faith.
Registration Deadline October 15, 2013.