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Time to examen your H.E.A.R.T?

Dear Middleway Urban Monastery friends,

Whether or not you're the type to make resolutions this time of year, maybe a kinder, gentler way of reviewing your life every day could become a new habit. People who review the highs and lows of each day -- then think about how the next day might be handled prayerfully -- often experience more peace and spiritual growth. One of our leaders, Rev. Rich Nelson, has come up with a new version of the 400-year-old self-examen using the acronym HEART. Find out more about it below.

Also be sure to check out our new booklist for the book club and tap into the daily meditations for Epiphany, plus all of our regular offerings.

Read about what's in store below. Make a note to check them out on our Facebook group page or website.

Examen your H.E.A.R.T

The Ignatian Examen is a spiritual practice we might use at the end of the year as we prepare to cross the threshold to a new year. The Rev. Rich Nelson, a spiritual director within the Middleway community, created a version using the acronym H.E.A.R.T.

"The Examen is a very simple, very effective form of prayer. It was originally taught by St. Ignatius of Loyola over 400 years ago. It helps us to reflect on the events and emotions of our day, look for evidence of God’s presence and guidance, and prepare with hope for the day to come. It is perhaps best to use this prayer at the end of the day or in the morning, reflecting on the previous day. It is suggested you allow at least 20 minutes, spending a few minutes on each step. The more time you put into expressing and listening, the more space you allow to get to the heart of the matter. There are several slightly different ways to pray the Examen, but they all have five basic steps. Below is a version using the acronym H.E.A.R.T. This prayer can take as long as you need it to take."

Find out how to use this method here.

Book club to select reading list on Jan. 5.

Middleway's book club has chosen the first five books for the year. We will consider one per month, with weekly meetings to discuss a pre-designated number of chapters. Participants feel like this gives time to work in a book in a busy life and to delve more deeply into the subject.

The book for January is "The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World" by Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu. At the Jan. 12 meeting, we will discuss the first section, Day 1, of that book.

Books for coming months are:

  • February - The Magnificent Defeat by Frederick Buechner

  • March - Streams of Living Water by Richard Foster

  • April - Soul Making: The Desert Way of Spirituality by Alan Jones

  • May - Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning

Please join us at 7 p.m. Central, Jan. 12 via zoom. No matter where you live, you're invited to join us for great discussions and sharing.

Meeting ID: 862 8991 8385 Passcode: 164675

or call in 1 346 248 7799

Reflections: Meditations on Epiphany

Daily meditations on Epiphany are being offered at 3:30 p.m. These meditations on our Facebook group page offer peaceful visions and a soothing reading by Dr. Amy Thompson from "A Daily Spiritual RX for Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany" by Joanna Seibert. Listen to a sample. Then go to our Facebook group daily for more.

How to Visit Middleway Urban Monastery

If, for whatever reason, you feel "spiritual but not religious," or you no longer have a church or you are just "done" with organized religion, no worries. We do not ask you to join the FB group page in order to participate. Just come to the monastery online as often as you want. We're about providing you space to seek hope, comfort and peace as you explore ways of experiencing God’s love. You're a "member" if you are receiving this newsletter. All are welcome, so share with others you know.

Imagine our Facebook public group page as a physical building. When you enter our URL,, it is like opening the door of a physical building, because you will find all that is offered there.

Likewise, you can come to our website and explore the offerings, including links to our Twitter and Instagram accounts, if you like those formats and want to follow.

For the time being, our monastery is online only. We plan to eventually offer a physical space in Bryan, Texas. Even then, however, we will continue to offer our prayer times, meditations, centering, contemplation and various workshops and retreats online and led by spiritual directors and leaders around the Bryan-College Station, Texas area. Participants are welcome from around the world.

If you know others who would like to "join," ask them to subscribe to our weekly newsletter by going to and entering their email address at the Subscribe button on the lower right.

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