By NANCY CZABALA
SAVANNAH, Ga. Bishop David B. Thompson and priests from the Diocese of Charleston, along with clergy throughout the Atlanta Province, attended the Provincial Assembly in Savannah Oct. 27-29. This year’s speaker for the annual Assembly of Bishops and Priests was Dr. Robert J. Wicks, a nationally recognized speaker and author, who spends his time lecturing and providing spiritual direction to priests.
Wicks talk, “The Simple Care of a Hopeful Heart: The Art of Replenishing the Self,” offered religious guidance to attending clergy, and how they can, in turn, help parishioners. Wicks expressed that “unlearning is the cornerstone of the spiritual life of the priest.” He encouraged priests to maintain the “Circle of Grace” a balance between prayer and contemplation and ministry and compassion.
Wicks said priests run the risk of becoming “either totally rigid and disconnected in just prayer and contemplation, or social workers in only ministry and compassion.”
Wicks stressed the ability to grow from an experience, understand and let go, placing trust in God that he will guide us through the rest. He asked the question, “What am I holding in my life that keeps me from being happy?”
Finally, Wicks discussed creating a healthy prayer life. He said, “To be authentic and bring everything to prayer both the good and the bad. With God, we don’t have to worry about image.” Don’t hide the shameful, but be honest, so you can be free. He also says to “spend at least five minutes a week just reading Scripture that is unrelated to anything you are doing.”
He asked that the clergy, as well as laymen, remain emotionally awake, accept friendships truly love for they are the shelter in which we live and allow God to show through in daily life. “Be yourself, project what God has given you. When you experience God, when you are at peace, you will be upheld in experiencing God in the dark moments of life.”