“Advent is the season of the God-seeker. . . . May God help us to wake up to ourselves and in doing so, to move from ourselves toward God.”
— Alfred Delp, Advent of the Heart, Seasonal Sermons and Prison Writings
It might be said that the spiritual journey is a series of consents, an accumulation of our Yes to God in big and small ways, day after day after day. Our practices, which start out as structures to encourage and assist our softening to Yes, over time become a way of life, a way of being in constant relationship with our Beloved. Then, like Fr. Alfred Delp, we might exclaim that “all of life is Advent,” a time of quickened awakening to new possibilities and new experiences of quiet, joy-filled and expectant living.
“The spiritual journey is a training in consent to God’s presence and to all reality. Basically this is what true humility is. The divine action invites us to make the consents that we were unable to make in childhood and growing up because of the circumstances that surrounded our early lives. [The four consents are] a paradigm for the spiritual journey that shed a great deal of light on the positive aspects of grace, which not only heals the emotional damage of a lifetime, but also empowers us to enter on the path of unconditional love. . . .
“This gradual training in consent is the school of divine love in which God invites us to accept the divine plan [and] to share the divine life with us in a way that transcends all that the human imagination can foresee.”
— Thomas Keating, Invitation to Love
The four consents are invitations to welcome all of life – birth, growth, suffering, dying and death – as God’s precious gifts and to appreciate the universe with all its beauty and potentialities.
- First consent: Our basic goodness
- Second consent: Participation
- Third consent: Diminishment
- Fourth consent: Transformation in Christ
This e-course for Advent is an updated version of a course first offered in 2014. It includes Scripture and specially recorded teachings by Thomas Keating on the topic of the four consents. Other mystical writers will also be quoted as meditations to inform and enrich the contemplative life.
The course consists of:
- Nine emails sent on Monday and Thursday each week, beginning on Thursday November 24.
- Monday emails will link to the audio recording by Thomas Keating and include transcripts for your convenience.
- Access to an online Practice Circle to share your responses to the teachings with others from around the world.
- Two live, one-hour prayer groups each week on Monday and Thursday which will include 25 minutes of silent prayer, a time of Lectio Divina and a time of sacred sharing and holy listening.
– Monday 8 – 9 pm Eastern (London GMT midnight, 7pm Central, 6pm Mountain, 5pm Pacific)
– Thursday 9 – 10 am Eastern (London GMT 2pm, 8am Central, 7am Mountain, 6am Pacific)
These prayer groups will be recorded, so if you can watch them at another time or rewatch them.