I am going to write about education for Chaplaincy. This is not that blog entry. However, as we enter Advent with a deep awareness of preparation, hope and anticipation, I would like to present an exercise of reflection for all who offer pastoral care. I do this myself and I give this exercise to my divinity students who come to the hospital to focus on pastoral care. This reflection is based on the path of action/reflection/action. This means that after this has been done, formally or informally, go forward again in prayer, holding your pastoral identity on your walk and following the direction of what you have learned and how you have grown. Spending time with this offers a preparation and discernment of God’s presence and call, and your own pastoral identity as we care for and serve each other. And then do it again. It is all about practice and seeking the presence of God, responding from our own gifts, learning how to care for ourselves and helping us to give to others safely and with authenticity. Please share your own thoughts, or questions, about the exercise.
1. Presentation of a Ministry Experience
This is to be a pastoral experience in which you were actively involved. Describe the event in as much detail as needed to provide a helpful orientation for yourself and anyone who might reflect with you. A portion of the dialogue would be helpful. Note the specific moments when there was a learning in the situation. The invitation is to explore the situation more deeply with a desire for a greater understanding.
2. Significant Moments
Outline what you feel were the significant moments in the ministry experience. Did you have a God moment? Describe it.
3. Spiritual Analysis of the Event
What writings come to mind as you reflect on this event (scripture, poetry, etc.)?
What values, beliefs or convictions was your behaviour in the situation based on?
To what parts of your spiritual life did the event speak?
What images of faith can you use to help understand your pastoral identity.
4. Develop the Spiritual Content
Reflecting on your ministry event describe how it affects your own beliefs. Can you articulate the intersection of what you did with what your behaviour was based in – spirituality, belief systems, and values. Have these beliefs changed – as a result of your experience? – as a result of your reflection here and now?
Please write a short prayer arising from this event.
5. Spiritual Growth
In what ways has this experience challenged you to rethink your spiritual and religious fundamentals, or your view of yourself as a someone giving pastoral care?
Was this event confirming, transformational, or both? How?
6. Implications for your Ministry – areas for growth.
What does this Spiritual Reflection tell you about your ministry?
What have you learned about yourself, personally, pastorally?