Growth in Prayer and Reflective Living (GPRL) is an acadmeic year course in Ignatian Spirituality which I am taking as part of a (academic) year-long sabbatical process - not a massive chunk of time 'out of harness' to spend in splendid isolation, but a 'portfolio' (as the trendy word has it) of shorter sabbatical spaces.
Although I missed two sessions (on the 'Examen' and 'Lectio Divina', each of which I am already quite familiar with) we have now completed six out of thirty-four and have a 'pause week' next week.
Last night was a marmite session, I guess - praying with art. Some will loathe it, and they did. Some will fear it, and they did. Some will love it, and I did!
The image is my meditation on the parable of the mustard seed (the set text for the evening) and is the result of 45 minutes industrious endeavour, thought, prayer, reflection, feeling and being.
There is good scientific evidence that humans think/process/pray differently if their hands are occupied, whether doodling, 'telling' beads, making things with lego, sewing or knitting. It's why people can knit (even complex patterns) whilst watching television or reading. It's why some people think by writing. It's why people use fidget toys.
I am really enjoying the course so far. The articles we are given to read are interesting, the exercises wide ranging, the sharing meaningful, the 'space' helpful.
Most people probably won't ever get into art (or craft) as prayer, and that's fine. But for those of us who do, it is a real gift of God.