STUDY GUIDES: COMPANIONING IN THE WAYS OF JESUS
Overview of Study Guide Series
These Study Guides are designed to encourage the ongoing formation of faith guides and companion
These study guides and their reflective content are drawn from my experience as a practitioner, educator, supervisors and formator. Much of this material has been used in classes. I trust it will encourage you as you journey along the way of Jesus. Most sections will begin with an invitation to reflect prayerfully on a Gospel passage. You are also encouraged to take time to ponder the material. When used in class, participants would work with a section over a week or a fortnight.
They can encourage us to be reflective and prayerful practitioners.
An example of a reflective and prayerful practitioner is taken from my book: Guiding Gideon (page 10). Gideon's guide and companion, Julian, would set aside time most evenings to reflecft and pray over his encounters with pilgrims. He would be attentive to the richness of these encounters and would note those aspects of a pilgrim's story that resonated deeply with his own. In such prayer and reflection he would discover God's invitations to walk more deeply and intentionally with pilgrims in the ways that Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, was opening to him. This is how he describes aspects of such times of prayer and reflection:
"Whenever I am confronted with distress and emotional turmoil in a pilgrim’s life and with the mysterious rhythms and flows of her inner stories, imagery, and parables, I seek the quiet of prayerful solitude, where I can hold both the pilgrim and myself within the tender and compassionate gaze of tranquillity and prayerful contemplation. Sinking beneath the worry-filled noise of ordinary, everyday awareness, I find calm waters as I rest in the love of the One who stilled the storms."
The Study Guides
A. INTRODUCTION & BACKGROUND: Jesus moves to the centre of my praxis
This introduction looks at how the way of Jesus moved from the periphery more to the centre of my guiding and companioning praxis. This enlivened my passion and offered a direction for my ongoing formation as both person and practitioner.
B. THE INVITATION OF JESUS: Responding to Jesus' "Come to me"
The three verses of Jesus’ ‘Come to me,’ (Matthew 11:28 – 30) contain, in a nutshell, the essence of what we need to enliven and to find purpose and passion for guiding and companioning pilgrims.
- Prayerful reflection on Jesus’ invitation of ‘Come to me”
- Jesus ‘Come to me’ as a Window
- Capacities we bring to our encounter with Jesus
- Your experience of Jesus’ invitation and welcome?
- Offering to pilgrims the invitation and welcome of Jesus
- Reviewing Jesus’ invitation to Come
C. SEEING INTO THE LIFE OF THINGS: May the eyes of our hearts be enlightened
We are encouraged to look deeper “into the life of things”: into the life which flows through Jesus’ responses in our gospel passage, where he refuses to judge or condemn any of the participants, but rather to liberate them, to reveal their value and beauty as human beings and as children of the Father, and to lead them to ever deepening relationship
D. ENCOUNTERING THE WOUND: Can wounds become windows?
In a gospel account, Jesus touches the eyes of a blind man twice; the second touch brings full sight. In this section we encounter a pilgrim, Sandra who is encouraged to be prayerfully attentive to the depth of her wounding.
We ask: Is the touch of Jesus on the eyes of Sandra’s heart akin to his second touch on the eyes of this man? In touching the deep wound of her soul, it become a window into the love of God the Father, a love that she is now able to freely share with others.
- Can wounds become windows?
- Following the story thread
- Experiencing deeper resonance
- Transforming touches
- Touching the eyes of our hearts
E. ATTRACTION AND RESISTANCE: Counter movements – Towards and Away from life
Encouraging movements in the direction of deeper life “in-God” will also be to engage with the counter-movements which will pull pilgrims away from what is life giving, growth oriented, healing, and restoring; there can be both attraction and resistance. There is much we can learn from Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan that will help us in creatively and lovingly engage in these movements which are part of our every day companioning.
F. PERSON, PRESENCE AND PRAXIS: Exploring our Guiding and Companioning Praxis
How do we articulate the essence of our praxis (our action-reflection-prayer-action) so as make it accessible for our ongoing formation? This is away a challenge. Much of this exploration involves an in-depth dialogue with an experienced practitioner. The questions posed could help open access into the deeper rhythms and flows of your own praxis. The voice of the pilgrim is also significant in this quest.
- Exploring our Praxis
- The person of the guide
- The relational presence of the guide
- The Praxis of the guide
- Person, presence, & praxis
- The manifest presence of Jesus
- The pilgrim reviews the encounter