CHOOSE just ONE of these topics and produce a 500+ word and illustrated paper. Please take each topic seriously! Humans have been doing stuff like this for thousands of years. Describe your turn!

(1) Road trip!  Read about pilgrimage (pp. 150-153) and describe a journey you, you and a friend, or you and your family, took to a “sacred” or special place in order to see some sacred objects and/or have some sort of spiritual experience.  Describe this place or event, and why it is special to your and/or others.  Often the purpose of a journey is the journey itself (the challenges and setbacks on the way, the anticipation of arriving), more than the destination.   So, describe your journey: mention any guide books (or websites) you may have read or advice you received (warning of danger, or giving advice); the kind of clothes you wore, or any special equipment the pilgrim (you) brought along; the hardships of the journey itself and the anticipation thus created; and the kind of experience you had, truth you found, and souvenir you brought back.  How have you changed after having made this journey?

2) Describe a mystical experience (other possible terms: out-of-body, transcendent, spiritual, etc.) you once had.  First, read pp. 155-157.  Then, think of an intense experience you once had while on certain medications, listening to music, fasting, experiencing solitude or multiplicity, or engaging in repetitive or athletic movements (running, swimming, sports.) How did you prepare for your experience? What was the context of the experience? Be descriptive: the context and your expectations are the key.  Where were you, and what were you expecting? What kind of altered or liminal state did you attain, and what did you experience?  Try to use some of the paradoxical language of mysticism (“darkness clearer than light,” “a coincidence of contraries,” etc.)  Finally, did you connect with a higher reality, and/or what did you learn from this experience, and would you do it again?

3) Do you have the vocation to be a monk or a nun?  Find out! Read about monasticism on pp. 144-157, then go to: (Links to an external site.)

and take the “vocations” survey.  Indicate whether you are male or female, and then use the database to find the Catholic monastery or convent that fits YOU.  Learn the history (and rules) of one of these religious communities by following the link to their website.  Look up the meaning of terms like “ordination” or “novitiate.” Then, write a paper in the form of a letter (to your parents, family, or boyfriend/girlfriend) wherein you announce that you’ve decided to be a monk or a nun, and explain to them WHY!  Try to anticipate how they might react and what they might say in response to your decision, and defend your choice by criticizing the superficiality and materialism of modern life & the assholiness of guys, esp your boyfriend, while expressing your devotion to the poor and the sick.  Describe your goals and the daily life you will lead there ( instead of the life your parents  have picked out for you) as you imagine it from the description on the website.

WARNING: don’t actually click “submit” on the “vocation” site!