Title

Faith: A Journey towards Friendship with God- A Contemplative Model Retreat Based on the Works/Spirituality of St. John of the Cross for the Consecrated Persons in Kerala, India.

Date of Award

2020

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

Department

Theology

First Advisor

Fr. Jose V.C. Quilongquilong, S.J., S.T.D.

Abstract

This study attempts to develop a contemplative model retreat based on the works/spirituality of St. John of the Cross in order to strengthen the faith of the consecrated persons in the Catholic Church, specifically Kerala, India. In the past, consecrated persons in Kerala were examples for faith and moral life, and embodiment of selfless service to the society. They were well accepted, appreciated, and respected by the Indian society because of their Christ-centered life and holiness. But today, the credibility and authenticity of the consecrated are questioned because of land and financial scams, sexual abuses, disobedience, and disharmony among them. It is in the light of this context that this writer attempts with this study to develop a contemplative model retreat for the consecrated, based on the works/spirituality of St. John of the Cross, one of the masters in faith. According to the teachings of the Church, the consecrated are placed at the heart of the church. They are representatives of holiness and are called to imitate the first Christian communities who lived together in one mind and one heart. The Catholic Church has already made many attempts to renew consecrated life through its documents especially on matters of faith. Based on the Scripture and the teachings of the Church, faith is a personal relationship and a journey towards friendship with God. The faith life of St. John of the Cross and his guidelines are of great importance in order to deepen the faith of the consecrated and to face the challenges of faith. The results of the survey undertaken for this study points out the weakened faith of the consecrated and the urgency of developing profound faith in Jesus through contemplation. By expanding their knowledge and conviction about the matters of faith, the consecrated can grow in their personal relationship with Jesus. v This personal relationship with Jesus enables the consecrated to face the challenges of faith. By doing so, they become friends of God and make others also friends of God. Based on the findings of this survey and the contemplative model retreat developed on the spirituality of St. John of the Cross, this researcher is convinced that the consecrated can face the challenges of faith and be genuine friends of God.

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