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explaining IPF to Grandma

Even though I was in my room with food poisoning, a brother seminarian recorded the class for me.  The first hour was Fr Jim Rafferty in the Hall, asking the question to all of us … “How do you explain IPF to your Grandmother (or any non-seminarian)?” Since we’re about half way through the summer program, today was a summary to remind us of what we’ve experienced so far and not to forget the essentials.  He received several good possible responses to the question, but he helped us see an even greater integration of all the different parts of IPF by speaking on “Liturgy.”

We’re beginning a new course titled, “IPF 504: The Mystery of the Liturgy: Receiving in Celebration and Life.” Since we’ll be discussing “Liturgy” in the “big picture” sense, we needed to remind ourselves that Liturgy is not limited to simply liturgical celebration and Mass, but “Liturgy” permeates our lives.  In the Mystery of Liturgy, we don’t just acknowledge the Trinity exists, but live in celebration of that mystery in the Mass and beyond it, encountering the Trinity in all things and responding in our own generosity.  God’s activity is outward toward us beyond our celebration of ritual — it spills out and over into all of life.

Fr Rafferty shared a recent experience stuck in Detroit on a connecting flight to Scranton.  There was a oil leak on the plane, an overbooked flight, a request for volunteers to give up seats, a group that prayed together for volunteers, and more.  Through the stressful situation, a series of people and events brought him to a realization that he “lost his expectation that God was doing things for me.”  That loss of consciousness of God’s Presence in all brought an opportunity to refocus on God instead of self.  Similarly, we come to the liturgy to experience God and receive all the love of the heart of Jesus for us.  My experience of liturgy is enriched by my integration of prayer to my whole life in growing in consciousness of God.

Goal #3 for the Liturgy course is “To equip the seminarian with practical personal skills for deepening the receptivity of that Trinitarian life (interpenetrating liturgical celebrations, personal prayer, and daily life and ministry).”  This is where we reviewed the more prominent “prayer tools” in our IPF Toolbox that we’ve been integrating all summer.

A.R.R.R. …… (a structure for personal prayer) Acknowledge (thoughts, feelings & desires), Relate (to God), Receive (from God), Respond

Lectio Divina …… reflecting on daily readings, Pope and church documents, events of the day, etc.

Spiritual Senses …… the way we are aware of the invisible reality of the spiritual life.  Many times related in the language of poetry.

Repetition …… returning to a place of deep affective movement weather consolation or desolation to receive more.

Discernment of Spirits …… assisting of our interior movements, recognizing their origin — from God, ourselves, or the evil spirit.  Remembering our principle foundation is “I want to be as close to God as possible” so I cooperate with that which is from God and reject that not from God.

Colloquy …… personal conversation with God (may be written in journal), reflecting on today’s journey in receiving the continuous Liturgy

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