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Number of Pages: 324
Vendor: WestBow Press
Publication Date: 2014
|Dimensions: 9 X 6 X 0.73 (inches)|
Author: Milton E. Lopes
Located in: Athens
Submitted: January 20, 2015
Tell us a little about yourself. A native of Newport, RI, Milton E. Lopes I am a Spiritual Director and Dream Group Leader in Athens, GA. My training in Spiritual Direction is from the Carmelite Center for Spirituality at Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada and my Certification in Dream Group Leadership in the Jungian tradition is from the Haden Institute in Kanuga, NC. Iam a long-time Lay Associate of the Cistercian (Trappist) Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, GA. I am also a member of Spiritual Directors International, an international and inter-faith community of men and women dedicated to the ministry and service of spiritual companionship. After attending Catholic seminaries in Rhode Island and Maryland I received my AB from Loyola University in Chicago, an MBA from the University of Dallas, and a PhD in Public Affairs from Virginia Tech. I have more than forty years of academic, government, and corporate experience. My wife and I are the parents of four children and grandparents of four grandchildren.
What was your motivation behind this project? I have always wanted to go beyond the usual oversized pamphlets or collections of readings about Lent or collection of devotions appropriate to the season. I thought that a historical and theological background together with a clear pathway through the traditional forty days would prove useful to those for whom spirituality was central to their being and who found little solace in simply giving up chocolate or some other pleasurable item during Lent. Hence this book written for the mature and discerning layperson.
What do you hope folks will gain from this project? From the book: Lent is an opportunity to go deep inside ourselves to find the spark of God within us, to find out who we are. It is a time for each of us to discover the I am who I am. This is not easy. Fortunately, there are maps or guides that have been provided us. It is my prayer that in some small way this book might serve in a similar capacity. First each one of us is unique. There is no one else in history or on the planet quite like you or me. Yes, there are similarities, but deep down we are all different. It is up to each of us to discover our own uniqueness and to build on it. By the same token we are told that each one of us was created in the image and likeness of God. Is this contradictory to the first assertion? I think not. We are not able to plume the length, breadth, or depth of our God. Yet it is possible that each of us in a unique way reflects some aspect of God. Hence, our second task is to get in touch with that aspect and to allow God to nurture our deepest reality. It is in the desert where he purges us of our evil and sinful inclinations and cleanses or illuminates us so that we emerge as a new creation at the resurrection of his Son from the filth of the world, the flesh and evil personified by Satan. In a word, through the desert experience we become Christocentric. We experience a new and higher dimension of consciousness.
How were you personally impacted by working on this project? The writing of this book has been a seminal experience in my personal spiritual journey. It has been a stimulating labor of intellectual joy that deepens my appreciation of my role as a spiritual director. Many people who come to me seeking spiritual direction are bothered by questions like: Who am I? Where have I come from? Where am I going? What does my life mean? Why does simply going to Church leave me so empty? Is there a way to help me realize my potential? Where is God in my life? Often they are struggling with a major life decision and are trying to discern Gods will. Several have reached middle age or are retired. Others are simply seeking meaning and relevance in their senior years? Still others find their prayer life to be dry and unrewarding. It is for these for whom this book is written. It is they who have inspired me. The Lenten season seemed to be a fitting framework within which to reflect upon these questions and concerns.
Who are your influences, sources of inspiration or favorite authors / artists? I am a product of Catholic education, the Sisters of Mercy in parochial school, the Christian Brothers in high school, preparation for the Catholic priesthood in Seminary, an undergraduate degree from a Jesuit university, a masters degree from a Cistercian university, and certifications in both Spiritual Direction and Dream Group Leadership. I am also an inactive member of the Lay Cistercians of a Trappist Monastery where I completed a novitiate prior to making my profession and promises. I am a voracious reader of things spiritual and have seen and kept the Lenten season and its practices for over 70 years.
Anything else you'd like readers / listeners to know: I truly believe that his book is relevant in todays society. It should appeal to the reader who is not only inquisitive about the historical and theological roots of Lent, but is also serious about his or her spiritual growth. I have attempted to provide such a reader a perspective of spirituality that is challenging, yet true to the teachings and example of Jesus. The season of Lent speaks to this spirituality i.e. love of God, love of neighbor, and love of self. It warns one of sin that violates this love and provides mechanisms to mitigate this our sinfulness, i.e. the sacraments, the ten commandments, the proviso that we must perform the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, the teaching authority of the Church, Scripture, spiritual readings, etc. Indeed, this spirituality demands that we must become mindful of our sinfulness and thereby undergo a change or metanoia or a turning away from our sin. This leads to a sense of sorrow for our sinfulness and a determination to return to God, to be as He would have us be, to be truly ourselves, to be holy as our Father in heaven is holy. Over the centuries this season has proven to be a time of growth and renewal for millions of persons. It underscores the basic elements of spirituality as stewardship, relationships, authority/discipline, community, balance, work, simplicity, prayer liturgical and contemplative, and spiritual and psychological development.