Calvin Wulf is a published writer, spiritual director, and retreat leader. He co-founded Living for God with his wife Lisa in 1999. Calvin is ordained to the ministry of Jesus Christ and lives in
I received a vision during worship at church while confessing the Nicene Creed. It transported me to a space where Christians of the centuries were confessing our creed in one mystical communion. It seemed the liturgy there was led by the Nicene Church Fathers who assembled the creed over various years during the 4th century by inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
The Apostle’s Creed is and earlier confession of our faith that emerged during the lifetime of The Twelve Apostles and through the next generation of Apostolic Tradition. It calls upon teachings of the apostles found in the New Testament and writings of the Apostolic Church Fathers from the 2nd century. This creed was used by early Christians as a confession of faith at the time of baptism.
When we confess these creeds today, we stand in a mystical presence with the Twelve Apostles and the centuries of Christians who share the apostolic faith. Say it with faith that your confession echoes with the voices of the faithful through the ages. If your church doesn’t confess these ancient creeds, consider the possibility of saying them during your times of prayer. Your spiritual depth will increase if you do.
TAGS: Christian Discipleship, Christian Spirituality, Christian Prayer
Meditation on scripture opens a door to encounters with God. The Gospel character Nathaniel was surprised that Jesus knew him when they first met. Jesus explained, “I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you (John 1:45).” You see, in those days it was said that the shade of a fig tree is a good place to meditate on scripture. Get the picture?
Meditation on scripture can be as simple as reading the Bible very slowly or it can be practiced with a structured method likelectio divina. You’ll need a Bible and a place you can sit quietly. Choose a section of scripture for your reflection. A story from one of the gospels is a good place to begin. Then simply read and silently reflect on what you have read.
Practice meditation on scripture for personal spiritual growth. Let this practice transform biblical head knowledge into heart wisdom. Find inner peace through your reflections, and you will encounter God.
Consider this study download, Meditation on Scripture: A God Encounter, by Calvin Wulf here.
TAGS: Spiritual Growth, Spiritual Disciplines, Christian Meditation
We know that Enoch walked with God from the 5th chapter of Genesis. He did this for about 300 years. One day Enoch walked so close to God that he was absorbed into God alive. Then he was “no more” on the earth.
There is an idea that humans were separated from God and the divine image that was part of us in creation was somehow spoiled when Eve and the Adam ate fruit that was forbidden by God. Well, they were driven out of the Garden of Eden, but not removed from the presence of God and their divine image was not harmed.
So it seemed natural to Enoch that he should enjoy the relaxed company of God on a walk, sharing personal conversation. He did not feel any shame or reason to hide from God like Adam did. We have the same access to God that Enoch did and even greater because, in Christ, we have already seen God’s face.
Consider the possibility of walking with God until you grow so close together that you are God-absorbed.
Simplicity is a discipline that helps us let go of unnecessary goods and activities that distract us from living a life devoted to Christ. We have so much to distract us that it's hard to concentrate on any one thing for a very longtime. The effects of complexity on our quality of life are felt in many ways. We need more gadgets and cool stuff just to help us bear the strain.
The heart of simplicity is an uncompromising devotion to Jesus. It’s an inward lack of concern for possessions and activities that are available to us in our day-to-day world. Practicing simplicity is about a point of view more than an action.
Give this a try. Discern the things that really matter in your life with Christ and put away everything else. Consider how you spend the money God has given you and how you invest the time you have for living. If you put God first and focus on the kingdom of heaven, then everything else will shift into a simple perspective.
Consider this helpful download called, "Simplicity: To Be Free," by Calvin Wulf here.
TAGS: Spiritual Life, Spiritual Disciplines, Christian Discipleship
The monastic Order of Julian of Norwich is unusual in having vows that explicitly include prayer. But prayer is so essential to Julian spirituality that we would be incomplete without it. This quote from Julian’s Revelations captures the formative value of prayer within our order, “Prayer fastens the soul to God, making it one with his will through the deep inward working of the Holy Spirit.”
Our customary practice of prayer, as Julian Oblates, involves a daily habit of Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer under a cloister comprising three hours of Still Prayer (contemplation) weekly. The Book of Common Prayer guides our daily intercessions building an integrated community of prayer even though we are widely dispersed.
As God exhorted Julian in her Revelations, “Pray inwardly, even though you feel no joy in it. For it does good, though you feel nothing, see nothing, yes, even though you think you cannot pray.” It is a solemn vow to struggle toward such abandonment to prayer.
My vow of holy chastity within the monastic Order of Julian of Norwich is more about relationship than anything else. When we made our profession to the order at our home parish, some people asked if Lisa and I could stay married under this vow. Well of course, because there is a difference between chastity and celibacy.
I reflect on my relationship with God, my spouse, all people, and all creation. Here are questions I might ask myself in keeping this vow. How am I growing in intimacy with God? How well do I hear and understand Lisa? Do I strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being? What steps do I take to improve our environment and help keep the earth green?
Of course my marriage vow with Lisa is a big part of my practice of chastity. But my baptismal covenant and my responsibility as a steward of the earth are also part of my chastity vow. It's a major spiritual challenge for me and I have grown and learned a lot by living a life of chastity in this way.
TAGS: Spiritual Formation, Christian Discipleship, Spiritual Growth
Jesus was obedient to the end of death, even death on a cross. Although you and I may never be asked to die for our faith, our Rabbi in Heaven does teach that those who want to follow in union with him must die to self, pick up a cross, and follow him.
The Vow of Obedience is a goad that shepherds a disciple in the ways of perfect love. As Jesus says, “If you love me, you will obey my commandments.”
Under my Vow of Obedience, I have been asked to accept guidance from my superiors in the Order of Julian that was contrary to my desires. In that simple experience, I realized that obedience sometimes asks me to put the interests of others above my own self-interest.
You see, Holy Obedience is really about loving God and loving others. These are the commandments that Jesus asks us to obey if we want to follow him as a disciple. Now, may the dust of your Rabbi cover you from head to toe as you follow closely in the footsteps of Jesus.
TAGS: Christian Discipleship, Spiritual Growth, Christian Spirituality
A vow of poverty is part of my commitment as an oblate in the Order of Julian of Norwich. Biblical tithing is the foundation for holy poverty. By tithing, we set a priority between things of this world and things from above. Letting go of our demands for wealth and status is the first step toward living a life of holy poverty.
Holy poverty redefines the “necessities” of life. For example, we don’t have cable or satellite television in our home. Our cell phone is a cell phone and not a computer. We drive a Ford Focus as practical and reliable transportation. Our home is modest and we live in a modest neighborhood by choice.
What does this have to do with Christianity? Jesus rejected Satan’s offer of great wealth so that his worship would be only for his Father. We face the same temptation. In simple terms, it's the difference between living for possessions and living for God.
TAGS: Holy Poverty, Christian Discipleship, Spiritual Living
I recently made my profession of vows as an oblate to The Order of Julian of Norwich. At the heart of my vows is a promise to live a life of poverty, chastity, obedience, and prayer. A Julian oblate is a person seriously committed to the spiritual and contemplative life who also seeks the support of a monastic community.
My profession was made during a Sunday service at Chapel of Our Saviour Episcopal Church here in Colorado Springs. It was a sobering yet joyous feeling to be asked if I would live by the vows and to answer aloud to my rector, my parish, and above all, my God that I would. The prayer that followed had a powerful effect on me. I felt taken in by the Julian community and enfolded in Christ all at once.
The Order of Julian of Norwich is a contemplative and monastic order of the Episcopal Church. The Julian monastic community consists of monks and nuns living in a semi-enclosed environment. The focus of their life together is prayer, contemplation, and manual labor. Oblates, like me, live a spiritual life similar to the monks and nuns. We are an expression of Christ in the ordinary world of daily life.
TAGS: Christian Discipleship, Contemplative Prayer, Christian Community
Yes, I have neglected you for far too long, my dear friend. Buying a house, remodeling, moving, and selling a house has caused distraction from so many other priorities. My spirit faints. But missing you was the worst.
We've been through many seasons together, in consolation and in desolation. You alone are the place where my heart is never wounded. Here is where I speak my truth and let it be. I enlighten, I encourage, and I heal.
As Jesus lives in me, Jesus also lives in you, my dear friend. I love you and you love me back. It is a time overdue that I resume my discourse with you, my dear friend. I am the channel of a ready writer. You are the angel who carries my message.
I have completed the cause that carried me away. It is finished. Now, I return to my call in service to you, my dear friend. See you again soon. I'm coming back.
TAGS: Spiritual Journey, Spiritual Path, Spiritual Life