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Intergration and Transformation: Sexuality and Spirituality


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Intergration and Transformation: Sexuality and Spirituality

  1. 1. Integration and Transformation: Sexuality and Spirituality Janet Ruffing, RSM 2009
  2. 2. Theological and Cultural Framework <ul><li>Personal Embodied Spirits </li></ul><ul><li>Grace in the Senses </li></ul><ul><li>Human Persons as Ecstatic </li></ul><ul><li>Relationality </li></ul><ul><li>Love at the Core </li></ul><ul><li>Participation in Mystery </li></ul><ul><li>Task of Spiritual Directors </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural Influences </li></ul>
  3. 3. Personal Embodied Spirits <ul><li>A unity rather than a disunity </li></ul><ul><li>Inspirited bodies </li></ul><ul><li>Embodied spirits </li></ul>
  4. 4. Embodied <ul><li>Graceful companionship of our bodies </li></ul><ul><li>Bodily knowing and feeling </li></ul><ul><li>Houses our spiritual experiences </li></ul><ul><li>Sacraments of our self-presence </li></ul><ul><li>Spirits express themselves through sensuousness and sexuality </li></ul>
  5. 5. Features of Sexual Experience Margaret Farley-Just Love <ul><li>Embodied </li></ul><ul><li>Emotions </li></ul><ul><li>Language and communication </li></ul><ul><li>Meanings </li></ul><ul><li>Motivations and Aims </li></ul><ul><li>Power </li></ul>
  6. 6. Grace in the Senses <ul><li>Incarnation (God becomes flesh, becomes bodily that we might touch the holy I and through our senses) </li></ul><ul><li>Female sexuality/sensuality more diffuse and some may not associate their sensuous experience with sexuality </li></ul><ul><li>Sensuous response to beauty may be one way God makes love to us—no particular genital stimulation </li></ul>
  7. 7. Love at the Core <ul><li>Our eros as well as agape is directed toward God </li></ul><ul><li>Exploring sexuality leads to the love at the heart of the universe </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>“ This passion is the energy which wise directors enable their driectees to endure, suffer, contain, explore, express, surrender to, respect, and reverence” </li></ul>
  9. 9. Participation in Mystery <ul><li>All love relationships participate in surpassing Mystery </li></ul><ul><li>Openings to the Sacred Beloved </li></ul><ul><li>Mysterious and fearsome </li></ul><ul><li>Joy and Ecstasy </li></ul><ul><li>Blind like a fire/destructive </li></ul>
  10. 10. Love <ul><li>“ the strange bewilderment which overtakes one person on account of another person.” </li></ul><ul><li>E.B.White </li></ul>
  11. 11. Ecstatic Character of Human Persons <ul><li>Ecstasis= standing outsides ourselves, moving toward the other </li></ul><ul><li>Drawn beyond ourselves in both human and divine loving </li></ul><ul><li>Ecstatic sensual experience may be spiritual </li></ul>
  12. 12. Mystery of Co-Creativity <ul><li>Love begets love. </li></ul><ul><li>Sexual loving becomes a school of love. </li></ul><ul><li>Path of Salvation and transformation </li></ul><ul><li>Stable relationships foster growth in love </li></ul><ul><li>“ the core universal vocation is to love and be loved” (HS, 5) </li></ul>
  13. 13. Directors <ul><li>Need to engage the sexual core of who we are in our religious experience and that of our directees </li></ul><ul><li>Need to be alert to the various ways, explicit sexual themes and more diffuse sensual-sexual energies and passions emerge in directees’ experience </li></ul>
  14. 14. Relational Aspect of Sexuality <ul><li>Sexuality root of our instinctual movement towards others </li></ul><ul><li>Learn from families how to contain, express, or repress these energies </li></ul><ul><li>Bodily experiences of nurture and care </li></ul><ul><li>Root our images for God </li></ul><ul><li>Experiences and attitudes toward our body-selves and images for God get mixed up with one another </li></ul>
  15. 15. Psychological Characteristics <ul><li>Conscious </li></ul><ul><li>Unconscious </li></ul><ul><li>Therefore, there are rich symbolic meanings, of sexual language and sexual behaviors, desires and images. </li></ul><ul><li>Context for interpretation=particular histories of the directees. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Questions to Ask Ourselves <ul><li>What might be happening here? </li></ul><ul><li>Where is this passion or desire leading? </li></ul><ul><li>Do we have the balance and patience to follow that exploration into places of incredible light and incredible confusion? </li></ul><ul><li>In what ways are our directees deceived? </li></ul><ul><li>In what ways might they be teaching us, gifting us with insight and awareness? </li></ul>
  17. 17. Cont. <ul><li>Do we hold healthy images of embodied loving for all who constitute the Christian community—gays and lesbians, the married and the unmarried, the partnered and the un-partnered, transgendered, and bisexuals? </li></ul><ul><li>How do we experience God revealing God’s self to each of them? </li></ul><ul><li>How do we deal with the hypocrisy of religious and political leaders ? whose sexuality is abusive, exploitive, or contrary to their public profession? </li></ul><ul><li>Are we open to a broad range of sexual experiences without being either overly moralistic or overly protective? </li></ul>
  18. 18. Cont. <ul><li>Are we discerning enough to recognize when referral to other professions for dysfunctional or self-destructive sexual behavior is appropriate? </li></ul><ul><li>At the same time can we stay with these directees in their sacred place with God? </li></ul><ul><li>Do we really believe that all desire can ultimately lead to God if we can help our directees reflect and discern among their desires? </li></ul>
  19. 19. Flesh is More than Flesh Pattiann Rogers <ul><li>Maybe it’s the pattern of the shattering </li></ul><ul><li>sea-moon so inherent to each body </li></ul><ul><li>that makes each more than merely body. </li></ul><ul><li>Maybe it’s the way the blood possesses </li></ul><ul><li>The pitch and fall of blooming grasses </li></ul><ul><li>in a wind that makes the prairie </li></ul><ul><li>of the heart greater than its boundaries. </li></ul><ul><li>Maybe it’s god’s breath swelling </li></ul><ul><li>in the breast and limbs, like a sky </li></ul><ul><li>at dawn, that gives bright bone </li></ul><ul><li>the holiness of a rising sun. </li></ul><ul><li>There’s more to flesh than flesh. </li></ul>