- Jean’s talk to us had a profound effect on me. It was perhaps the best talk I have heard about the spiritual life, as you can imagine I have heard a lot of spiritual talks in my life. What he presented was so inspirational and full of the Holy Spirit and his vision of how people like you and me could grow in holiness following the examples of Our Blessed Lady and the saints. I felt that what Jean was doing in his School of Mary programme is of vital importance to the Church as we come into a changed post Covid world. (Fr. Michael Doyle, Allen Hall Seminary, London, UK)
- Having spent time on the Catholic circuit the School of Mary is by far the richest teaching I have encountered to date.
The following Testimonials are from Nuns after a 6 days silent Retreat:
- Very inspiring with a fresh approach to ideas and some wonderful new insights for me. This Course has certainly stimulated my desire to work harder on my spiritual life. Mary’s place has “opened” my eyes and it fills me with joy. “Prayer of the heart” is so uplifting.
- Excellent, inspiring and challenging and ‘mysterious’. Too deep for words on occasions. Greatly appreciated and needs digesting in many long hours and contemplation. Delightful delivery. Always arresting, and respectful of your audience.
- The Course has been a mine of information about God and Mary. A very learned and well prepared presentation which opened up a new world to me. And, yet, all these “discussions” are in the Bible which I’ve read almost every day of my life. But, it was only touching the skin. Each day I learned something awesome (and new to me). Lectio Divina will find an hour each morning and the Prayer of the Heart in the evening (not for an hour). I feel really renewed and refreshed after this week.
- Relaxed atmosphere. Language of the Bible interpreted in words understandable to a common person. The Content of the readings is explored to the profound levels – to the point that remain as imprinted in the heart. Always remains the longing fro more. The mysticism of the Old Testament and the New Testament was so far hidden from me. But now, I have gained so much of new insights of this penetrating light. How wonderful is this “radiant way through Mary” to love God and be fruitful through her. I am grateful to be affirmed in this daily transformation and the hope that the journey is under the shelter of Mary.
- “From where did he get all this wisdom”? Thank you for sharing your profound knowledge and insights so generously, giving us so much of your time, delivering your talks standing and with so much warmth and charm! I have gained so much from this Course, for which I thank you, and hope to find some good soil (not n°2) in which to enable it to bear fruit. Fruit that will last. I take away so many lessons, new knowledge and insights, which I hope to treasure and make part for my life. Your graphics are very helpful. Most of all I thank you for giving us our Lady in a new, wonderful light! May she continue to bless you as an instrument to make her better understood and loved.
- It will be 56 years on the 6thSeptember since I entered religious life. I feel very much like the labourer who came to the vineyard at the eleventh hour! A whole new “world” has been opened up for me this week and I am asking God to allow me to live long enough, if that be His Will, so as to enter into this world much more fully and enjoy growing in union with Him in a manner I have never experienced before. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
- Good, good, good! Loved it! A breath of fresh air… A moment of grace which has helped to set the fire of my heart of what “transformation” really means and how to pray. A great awareness of the Love of God for me and each human being. Un moment de “re-focusing” sur l’essentiel and bringing the mystics closer.
- This is a breakthrough for me, in my life. My family will be shocked to hear me say to them, like the woman at the well: “come and see the man (Jean Khoury) who told me about my spiritual experience and with the light of understanding”. Indeed, I physically sat in front of a man who described my spiritual life to me interiorly. I am deepened in my faith. My God has manifested and confirmed his love in such a profound way, or rather encounter to not only me, as an individual, but also to Jean. I love your absence of theological “catch phrases” they were wisely replaced by “live catch phrases”. The entire talks you gave brought the whole realisation of God to me, not only a Trinitarian God of fear and awesome wonder but as my eternal friend; One who is still loving me with all my negativities and faults, and calling me back home to Himself in Glory, so I pray and also for you Jean and all Mystics throughout the ages:- “Our Fahter, may your will be done in the Holy Spirit, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen” “Mary our mother, pray for us.”
- The best thing I can say is that this Course was a tremendous gift from God, through you, at this stage of my life. I thank you for sharing yourself, your knowledge, your experience with me. The talks were a joy to listen to; the material so well presented, clear, precise and your English too was tremendous! Appreciated your willingness to help us individually to spend your time and energy with us.
- Thank you so much for a wonderful Course. I have never had such nourishing spiritual food in my entire life and I’ve attended many Courses. Now it’s up to me to use it but the great thing is that your showed us how! You made it sound simple! Again, many many thanks and love.
- I appreciate so much the depth and spirituality of my Retreat guided by you. Many thanks for the life and energy you put into the Retreat, it was all so helpful.
- I am very impressed by your insight into the Scripture. I am asking myself like the people who lived with Jesus: “Where did he get this wisdom from”? May the good Lord continue to bless you abundantly always.
To embrace ‘Deeper Mystagogy’
St. Augustine in his Confessions famously observed in the beginning of that great work that “You arouse him to take joy in praising you, for you have made us for yourself and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” This statement alone to me sums up the situation of the faithful Catholic living in the world today. Having long had such “restlessness” and taken a number of courses with great teachers in university years ago on Catholic history and intellectual life, as well as having widely read contemporary authors on Catholic faith, I was craving a practical course that addressed the spiritual life, what it means, how to grow in it, and how to know I am making progress. All too easily, faithful Catholics “settle” for accepting a faith consisting of partaking of the sacraments, merely attending mass and being on the right side of the Ten Commandments, believing this is the extent of what Jesus meant when he said “I came so that you might have life and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). Understandably, getting Catholics to regularly come to mass weekly or attend confession can already be an achievement in itself for clergy. But for those of us who already do that, yet remain “restless” and want to grow further in the “abundant life”, there is little guidance on what to do next or what such growth looks like.
The story of Catholicism for those who do not yet know Christ is not merely promoting a 2000 year old institution of dogma, doctrine, theology and liturgy, but also a Church that actively encourages the faithful to embrace a deeper mystagogy and the means for the new and current faithful to approach Mary and Jesus more spiritually and confidently.
As part of the New Evangelisation sought in Vatican II, this should change.
Holiness is the goal of all the faithful, not just for those ordained or religious. Vatican II’sLumen gentium(40, 41) states that
all Christians in any state or walk of life are called to the fullness of Christian life and to the perfection of love, and by this holiness a more human manner of life is fostered also in earthly society….The forms and tasks of life are many but holiness is one….Therefore all the faithful are invited and obliged to holiness and the perfection of their own state of life.
With the above in mind, this is why the course from the School of Maryon “Ensuring Steady Growth”, answered a need in me providentially at just the right time and the lectures provided by Jean Khoury helped me pull together many disconnected strands on Catholic history, faith and the rich mystical experiences of the Church’s great spiritual masters – a treasure of the Church that should be made more accessible to the faithful.
I thoroughly enjoyed the course and came away with three quite profound insights.
- The notion of “triggering” the Grace of God in one’s spiritual life through loving as Jesus loved and by engaging in certain spiritual practices done by the Church’s spiritual masters
- The experiences of the Church’s spiritual masters (Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Therese of Lisieux, etc.) are consistent with each other – they may be described, or different aspects emphasised, in different ways – but there is a reassuring consistency on what it means to grow in spiritual life as a Catholic regardless of the era.
- God designed all human beings with the inner capacity to know Him, to be nourished by Him and to grow closer to Him and that such capacities are not reserved for those like Moses and the “burning bush” or those ordained or religious persons like monks or nuns. All Catholics, lay or ordained, are obliged to “wake themselves up” to such inner capacity (see Lumen Gentium above “obliged to holiness and the perfection of their own state of life”) through practices like lectio divina and Prayer of the Heart, encouraged by the experience and insights of the Church’s spiritual masters.
I hope this particular course of the School of Mary is more widely promoted in the Church, at least in London; it answers the restlessness of the faithful and gives them the applicable tools and context by which to approach God in the “burning bush” of their lives and in the process open up God’s graces so that, as Jesus promised, we “might have life and have it more abundantly”. “
Carlos De Vera
The course on “Ensuring Steady Growth” was one of the best I have ever taken on Catholicism, thank you for the great lessons.