Soul Care Trellis- A guide to contemplate the nearness and our likeness to Christ.
” I am the vine; you are the branches” – John 15: 5
Jesus is the vine; we are the branches, and the trellis, a picture of a contemplative life practices. The trellis is like a contemplative prayer practices framework towards Christ-likeness.
Trellis is a metaphor I adopted from the Benedictine monastic spirituality- a Christian spirituality of the study and practice of the contemplative life ( a life of contemplation and action ). The monastics describes the contemplative life as a prayer life of ” BEing” ( contemplation ) and “ DOing ” ( the active life- living in and through the community- e.g., the activist, the servant, entrepreneur, artist, pastor, teacher, parent ). Cultivating the contemplative life makes the active life contemplative and the contemplative life active. A double-helix oscillating, ascending towards Jesus.
The prayer life of Jesus are both BE-ing and DO-ing prayers. Jesus prayed for healing (doing) and withdrew (being) from the crowd to be with the Father and with his disciples.
The “doing” prayers (e.g., intercession, petition, thanksgiving, healing) are the most common prayers practiced and a great number of Christians are proficient in the said “doing ” prayers also called kataphatic prayers. When our prayers are mostly “doing” prayers, we will tend to live daily on ‘ I have to be productive’- produce and consume – if I were to find happiness, meaning and fulfillment. To practice just “doing” prayers without the practice of “Being” prayers, our pursuit of an intimacy and union with God through Christ Jesus will be found short and wanting.
The “Being” prayers (e.g., centering prayer, breathe prayer, silence) are the least practiced and understood prayer practices caused by science’s pre-eminence in our thought life, our post-industrialized capitalistic society, and the rise of artificial intelligence technology. These 21st century frameworks shapes our spirituality and prayer life model of “Doing” or kataphatic prayers. BEing prayers are mystical in nature, ancient, archaic, and an outlier. We can say “Being” prayers as apophatic prayers- a prayer just to be still, and be in the presence of God. Apophatic prayers are prayers beyond words, feelings, imagination, images and does not expect instant answers, rationale or anything at all at the end of a particular prayer time. These prayers are practiced mostly by monks, hermits, mystics and contemplatives. We are grateful that we are discovering these soul care practices gifts for our busy, non-stop, tech-world and virtual community we live in today.
Our Soul Care Trellis ministry focuses our efforts on the contemplative “BEing” prayers.
Why apophatic prayer?
T.S Elliot gives an insight in his poem Choruses from the Rock.
“Endless invention, endless experiment
brings knowledge of motion, but not of stillness;
knowledge of speech, but not of silence;
knowledge of words, and ignorance of the Word
Where is the Life we have lost in living?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?”
Stillness and silence can give us the space and time we long just to be in the presence of God where our instant, and smart-tech world might fall short. The smart-tech world can help us find God only so far as giving us companionship. Smart technology guiding our spiritual life is like a docent talking about a work of art, or a museum curator giving what art lovers wants. Technology no matter how smart are still tools, the same as silence and solitude, they all are (prayer ) tools in pursuing God and in helping us cultivate the very grounds and depths of our spiritual life- the ground of Jesus.
Silence and solitude are companions of the contemplative life that processes informations gathered and knowledge obtained out from the daily and ordinary living into wisdom and understanding of our true self, our community and our God. A contemplative life brings comfort where our own understanding and wisdom fails. When a soul is weary, lost or confused in the cloud of unknowing, contemplative spirituality is a way that goes beyond what we know, see, touch and feel. To be in these clouds of unknowing will be enough by faith to accept the unknown yet known and to continue to carry our cross to follow and be like Jesus. These gifts of God opened by Our Lord Christ Jesus, and learned by the Desert Fathers, Mystics and contemplatives are gifts we desperately need in such a time as this.
Soul Care Trellis offers :
Spiritual Life Mentoring-
- Spiritual Direction- (In-person, Skype, Google Hang-out, phone call)
- Retreat program planning- daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly
- Prayer practices coaching -prayer of examen, lectio divina, centering prayer, breath prayer.
- Guided contemplative prayer retreat for 2- 30 persons (children, youth , youth workers or church group) ranging from one day to a week long retreat.
- Choose a retreat center or we can recommend a retreat center, camp ground, your church, home or backpacking in the wilderness.
Experiential prayer space- We curate or consult to help you create a contemplative multi-sensory, experiential prayer space for you at your home or at your church.
Please contact us about cost and other inquiries
Archie Honrado, is a missionary, retreat guide, spiritual director, teacher, speaker and writer and a member of Youth With A Mission International since 1984.
Archie Honrado has served with Youth Specialties, Urban Youth Workers Institute, DeVos Urban Leadership Initiative, Youth For Christ SoCal, American Baptist Churches of Los Angeles, DC/LA, Wild Goose Festival and has guided retreat for youth groups.