Within each project and resource offered by the Center for Family Life Formation, participants are guided through self-examination and opening themselves to the work of God in their lives. This process has been developed through reflection on Sacred Scripture and the writings of various saints. It is most easily understood through the acronym, SOW-REAPP.™
Silence – Time in silence to clear away from our minds and the distractions of the world.
If you have not spent time reflecting on who you are, you cannot know where you are going, what your purpose is, or why it matters. In silence, you begin to see yourself as you really are. If you are honest, you will come to know your wants, your needs, your joys, your sorrows, and the deepest longings of your own heart.
Openness – Vulnerability and openness to the other.
Once you are aware of who you are, you can interact more honestly with others. The deepest and most intimate relationship we should seek in life is a relationship with Jesus Christ. The Center seeks to help people grow toward wholeness and holiness in life in every aspect of the human person, including spiritual, physical, intellectual, communicative and emotional.
Waiting – Actively waiting for the other.
Relationships can be difficult. Intimacy develops over time. Sacred Scripture is filled with times of waiting for the Lord to come to his people. He comes and goes at His own appointed time, often waiting for us to be properly prepared for his coming. This period of waiting often includes times of confession, penance and restitution for sin. Regardless, what we are waiting for here is a recognition that there is something better, a readiness for change.
Receive – Actively receiving the encounter with the other.
At this point in the process, it is our hope that individuals have decided to go on an intentional search. They have recognized a deficiency (or several) in their lives and they begin to actively seek Christ’s healing. They are ready to receive in a new way and begin to seek out Jesus. Their seeking leads them to an encounter in which they can grow closer to Him. Receiving requires active engagements, study and intentional awareness. True reception of the other becomes possible when one is humble, placing even the poor on a higher status than oneself. We understand our shared humanity as pilgrims on a journey toward Heaven.
Examine – Time to reflect on what is received.
We have received an experience of the light, but did we recognize it for what it was? While experience is a great teacher, lessons are typically forgotten without time spent reflecting on the experience. The Center uses a process of spiritual self-examination called “examen.”
Assimilate – Understanding and integration of one’s own story with the story of salvation history.
In Christianity, the term metanoia is often used to express a life-changing moment. This involves an intentional turning away from the darkness in one’s life and turning toward the light of Jesus Christ. Jesus hopes to lead us on a new path. Will we follow him or go another direction? This is the moment where we choose. Will our story embrace the possibility of receiving the blessing that God wishes to give us, or will we seek a blessing of our own making?
Pray – Modeling and practice of prayer.
Prayer at the Center is seen as a means to give intentional voice to the desires of one’s heart and mind, and discern the next right step on one’s path in the presence of God the Father, His Son Jesus Christ and with the power of the Holy Spirit.
Plan – Develop practical steps to change one’s life in accord with this new experience.
No change in direction can take place unless you actually take steps to make that happen. Even the Gospels tell us it is easy to begin on a new path, but difficult to complete the journey. A good plan, followed with discipline and accountability is a great way to overcome any obstacle.