Thursday, July 24, 2014

Training the Soul

What’s up y’all!  First of all I want to thank everyone who has donated to my trip so far.  Words cannot describe how thankful I am to all of you.  God is truly showing his grace through the wonderful support that I have received from all of you.  I am almost halfway to my goal of $10,000 and could not have done it without all of you.
About a month ago I spent two weeks at the Holy Cross Monastery  in in West Park, New York for missionary training.  It was absolutely incredible to meet fellow young adult Episcopalians who are making the same year long commitment to service overseas that I am.  We all had our own spiritual baggage from our pasts but looking to the future many of us had the same fears, anxieties and excitement about the upcoming year.  During this time we had different seminars on cultural awareness, prayer and reflection.  Personally I have been through many varieties of diversity training in the past few years so these were a little on the boring side for me because I knew most of the material that they were teaching us.  However I came back with a completely new outlook on prayer and my spiritual life as a whole.  In a sense I was training my soul for this experience rather than my mind.  One of the most important practices I took away from this “soul training” was centering prayer.  This form of prayer has been around for thousands of years and it first came about in the early monasteries of the desert fathers in Northern Africa.  It is a very mystical form of prayer and resembles many Eastern forms of meditation.  However, where Eastern mediation is more about emptying yourself to reflect on your soul, contemplative prayer is about emptying your soul of everyday thoughts in order to let God in.  I highly recommend all of you doing some more research and practicing this form of prayer on a daily basis.  Letting go of all the stressors of life to be with God seems to be something that is lacking in this society.  I feel that it is hard for me to build a personal relationship with God while wondering about past and future events.  My relationship with God has become much stronger from just a month’s worth of practicing contemplative prayer.  I have been reading a large amount of Thomas Merton, and for anyone who would like to begin this practice I highly recommend his books.  I challenge all of you who read this to take 15 minutes out of your day (it is not that much time), find a silent place, and just listen to God.  He is trying to give you a lot of insight but sometimes you just have to sit and listen.
Once again I just wanted to thank all of you for your constant support and prayer.  I will be updating this blog more often when I get to Hong Kong so please check back often and look for Facebook updates as well.  If you are on Instagram follow me @justin_davisiii for picture updates.  I am also still fundraising so if you feel moved to donate please send all checks to Grace and Holy Trinity Episcopal Church at 8 N Laurel St, Richmond, VA 23220, with Justin Davis YASC in the memo.  Thanks for all the support.

Peace Justin