Churches offer people deep spiritual renewal
I once lived in Williamsville, not far from the Main Street area that was featured in the March 13 article about the proliferation of spas and places of “pampering” in the village. In my work, I also spent a lot of time and energy trying to give spiritual care. Not “spiritual self-care,” a concept I find foreign to my Christian spirituality. But pastoral care, part of a tradition of over 2,000 years. Yes, the self is pastored but not the center or focus.
A lot of what I offered to people happened in a small, rather dark space. It’s called a confessional. Instead of floating in a tank and focusing on sensory deprivation, we prayed for the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ to remove the “stress” of sin, guilt and pain. People came for forgiveness, which flows from our ever-generous Lord. We preached the Word of God (and I still do, in another parish 8 miles away) and offered life-affirming experiences in community.
At the same time, at St. Gregory the Great (and also, up Main Street at Christ the King Church) chapels of Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration offer silent time in the presence of Christ, not alone. Not deprivation, but meditation and a beautiful sense of communion, an enriching experience away from the noise of daily life. Prayer is free, and freeing!
In the vicinity where these pampering services are offered, I know that a number of places called churches offer deep personal, spiritual renewal. It matters not whether your brows are arched or not. We make every effort not to sugar-coat. (Though at a coffee and doughnut hour, there’s an occasional sugar high.) My hope is that this coming Easter, people will also visit these places, and let the one who rose from the dead renew them in a profound way.
The Rev. Bill Quinlivan
Blessed Sacrament Church