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Protestants consider Catholic prayer

Jesuit contemplation 'can meet growing need for spirituality'

Swiss Reverend Hans Jorg Fehle giving a lecture about the Ignatian contemplation prayer Swiss Reverend Hans Jorg Fehle giving a lecture about the Ignatian contemplation prayer
  • Stephen Hong
  • Korea
  • June 15, 2011
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A growing need for spirituality can be met with the help of Catholic traditional prayers, especially Jesuit contemplation, a Swiss Protestant pastor said yesterday.

Reverend Hans Jorg Fehle who has used St. Ignatius Loyola’s spiritual exercises to direct retreats for Protestants in Switzerland since 2001 made the remark during a lecture at the Korea Christian Building in Seoul.

St. Ignatius Loyola is the founder of the Society of Jesus.

The pastor was invited by the National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK) which is looking at ways of applying Jesuit contemplation into local Protestant prayer tradition.

Reverend Lee Keun-bok, director of the NCCK’s Ecumenical Mission Training Center, said the lecture can help local Protestants understand what contemplation prayer is and how to do it in a Protestant way.

Reverend Fehle told the gathering that the Bible presents God as the living one, relating with his creation and children, noting the Ignatian contemplative prayer is based on the living relationship between God and an individual person.

“Nowadays historical and cultural differences may hinder reading and understanding the Bible,” but the Ignatian method of biblical meditation could help overcome this,” he noted.

Citing Jesuit theologian, Karl Rahner, Reverend Fehle said:  “the believer of tomorrow will be a mystic, or he or she will not be a believer anymore.”

Meanwhile, Anglican Father Ambrose Kim Hong-il said that of the many Catholic prayer traditions, the Ignatian contemplative prayer is more familiar to local Protestants.

The coordinator of a Protestant prayer group, Shalem Korea, explained this is because Korean Protestants practice the so-called QT (Quiet Time) prayer, which is daily personal prayer based on reflections on the Bible.

Related report
Bible-reading ‘fuels the mind’
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