Posts Tagged ‘Jesuits in Canada’

Jesuit Taking a Scientific Approach to Prayer

Jesuit Father Chris Rupert brings a systematic mind to prayer. // Photo by Michael Swan

Believers in every religion and through every century of human history have done something they can’t quite describe, justify or do without. They pray.

They may meditate, contemplate, recite, babble or immerse themselves in silence. They may seek solitude or seek company to pray with others. They may follow the rules of a liturgy, improvise or seek a simple, direct encounter with God.

Jesuit Father Chris Rupert brings a systematic mind to the subject. His PhD combined Scripture studies with statistical modelling and social sciences. For the last 30 years as a pastor, theologian and retreat leader, now at Manresa Jesuit Spiritual Retreat Centre in Pickering, Ontario, Canada, Rupert has thought scientifically, systematically and precisely about what people are doing when they pray.

“When people get a sense of God in prayer, it depends on their social situation,” Rupert told Canada’s Catholic Register in a wide-ranging discussion of his research. “If my life situation changes, prayer will change.”

As Rupert taught people classic Ignatian prayer techniques he began to think about the way expectations and terminology were predetermining how people experience prayer.

“The question I ask myself in my examination of conscience determines often what I get out of it — or what I don’t get out of it,” he said.
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