I am getting on a plane in a few hours to attend a workshop on spiritual writing. The workshop is called Deepening Words. Twelve of us were accepted after submitting 3500 words of writing. Some of you know I have long desired to write the book of my story from Hollywood to priesthood and haven’t been sure how to get started. Or maybe even how to claim it. Or frame it. I have always been a writer of sorts.

When I was younger I kept journals and wrote poetry. This kind of writing seemed to connect me to myself, helped me learn what I thought, who I was when I wasn’t presenting myself to the world. I have always loved finding myself on paper, expressing myself through words and space on unlined pages. I didn’t realize at the time that was spiritual writing, but of course it was

When I write sermons, it is indeed a very spiritual process. I always do some research on the scriptures appointed for the day, but my heart and mind start ruminating early on. I begin by throwing onto a blank document notes, ideas, phrases that stand out, and things that have moved me recently. Then begins the process of developing, reshaping and sculpting. I start to rearrange and cut and add and carve away until the sermon reveals itself to me. And it’s often a surprise. Oh, that’s what this sermon wants to be about!

In preparation for the workshop, we have been asked to submit 20 pages of material that each of us will work on with the group and also to read an essay by Stephanie Paulsell, called Writing as a Spiritual Discipline.

The essay helped me to see that all of my writing is an experience of God working in me, what she refers to as “the struggle to unite human and divine creativity.” Writing helps me to understand God and to seek what is real and true in me and in the world. She also says that spiritual writing requires a combination of audacity and humility. Yikes, here I go. Pray for me!