Welcome to The Society of Saint John the Evangelist

41. The Maturing of our Minds in Christ

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Read by Br. Geoffrey Tristram

Read by Br. Geoffrey Tristram

Our pursuit of knowledge is an expression of love for God’s world and the riches of revela­tion.  As we bring our gifts of imagination and intellect to maturity we are able to glorify God more and more.  Since our gifts and ministries vary, we need to encourage one another to value not only reading and study but many other ways of learning, every method that helps us become more responsive in heart and mind to the whole creation.  As our faith matures we come to recognize Christ’s hidden presence everywhere:  “All things have been created through him and for him.  He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”

We cannot fulfill our mission without a lifelong engagement with the riches of Scripture and the Christian tradition.  We need therefore to encourage and train one another to explore this great tradition at first hand.  It is important to absorb classics of Christian spirituality and theology, and  valuable for each of us to develop a personal interest in certain schools, periods or figures to which we might be specially drawn.  We need knowledge of other faiths, and a sound grasp of religious history to which good biographies have given richness and color.

The Spirit calls us to be alert and open to our own time.  Some of us will be drawn to con­temporary explorations of theology and spirituality and engage in studies that throw light on the changes now taking place in the world.  Our aim is to maintain a lively, critical interest in the cultures in which we are situated, and seek to expand our perspectives globally so that we can empathize with other societies and religious traditions.

All our ministries, whether of preaching, teaching or personal encounter in the Spirit, call for a penetrating understanding of the mysteries of the heart and human relationships.  For this we need many resources.  Psychology and the human sciences are sources of insight, and some of us will find in literature, philosophy, drama, film, music, dance and the visual arts springs of vital truth if we approach them keenly in the Spirit.

We commit ourselves to maintaining ample libraries in each house as well as devoting funds for further education and the enrichment of the imagination.  The community is to hold regular events of corporate education so that our learning can be a shared experience.  Individual commit­ment to learning in a disciplined way is equally essential.  Study does not have the same attraction for all of us, and even those who enjoy it find that the pressure of other responsibilities distracts them.  Unless we grasp the truth that it is both a labor of love and a spiritual discipline, we are likely to neglect study.  We should therefore support one another in setting aside time regularly for reading, and encourage one another to take advantage of opportunities for training, enrichment and further education.  Our sense of common endeavor will be stimulated when we discuss with one another what we are learning and take a mutual interest in our discoveries.  Our goal is to arrive at the maturity that enables us to plan our study so that it can be focused, regular and supported.  We shall not always be able to reserve time for study every day, but each week should include it.

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1 Comment

  1. Polly Henninger on April 7, 2009 at 02:20

    This mature approach to study is so attractive. I long for a group of people who would read and meet regularly to discuss religious literature, or do other activities with a focus on the Spirit and discuss them. I wonder if I would be willing to form such a group. Food for thought.

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