Dr. Peter Mudge has authored three books in the Living Spirituality series. This section aims to describe the contents of each book briefly. His other book, Eternal Life Letters to Our Two Children, co-authored with his wife Gwendoline Wijenberg, can be found elsewhere on this website. Copies of all Peter’s resources, including books, articles, artworks, etc. can be ordered directly via his email at: email@example.com.
A full price and postage list along with sample artworks are attached on this web page & on the FAQs page.
The study, cultivation, and 'teaching' of spiritual formation in Australian Catholic schools, parishes, and online environments has faced many challenges, not the least being that it has been neglected and 'gone missing' in many contexts and environments. Its formal Australian genesis continues to arise from its 'First Peoples' – Australia's original Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander inhabitants. Influences have also transpired from the multiple First Fleet religious traditions arriving in 1788 and further back through the golden seams of mysticism and spirituality that can be mined within Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Eastern, Celtic, and other traditions.
Living Spirituality is unique in its capacity to propose a new approach to cultivating spiritual formation for teachers through a Quadrivial or 'Four Rivers' model of spirituality. The Quadrivial approach to spirituality is described as a 'meta approach' or way of proceeding that privileges four 'movements,' touchstones or markers of spirituality – Spiritual Traditions, Narratives, Disciplines, and Virtues.
Following its prefacing chapters, this text explores foundational topics in this Series 1 edition – an introduction to Christian spirituality, Ecological spirituality and conversion, Christian breathing meditation, the Jesus Prayer, the Jewish Jesus, and, finally, Lectio Divina. Each chapter integrates significant insights and practices from seminal figures, particularly across the Abrahamic traditions, as well as key disciplines such as resolving the Sabbath, and virtues such as humility and detachment. Three teacher-friendly icons point the reader to 'Teacher Tips,' 'Did you know' ideas, and rich academic insights from 'Scholars Corner.'
Review by Michael Vial, Coordinator Religious Education, Catholic Education South Australia (CESA) Living Spirituality is a vital resource for any school or community which seeks to support students and staff members in life's spiritual journey. When contemporary culture either ignores spirituality or offers shallow versions, Peter Mudge creatively and uniquely integrates the rich traditions of spirituality and wisdom that live in Catholicism and other Christian and religious traditions. With his quadrivial model in which the four rivers of spiritual traditions, narratives, disciplines, and virtues flow together, Peter enables easy access to spiritual wisdom that has been running deeply and evolving over millennia. This is a timely resource when many religious schools, communities, and institutions are naming the strategic importance of staff spiritual and religious formation. It will be invaluable for the teacher of quality religious education that engages the mind, heart, soul, and body.
The study, cultivation, and ‘teaching’ of spiritual formation in Australian Catholic schools, parishes, and online environments has faced many challenges, not the least being that it has been neglected and ‘gone missing’ in many contexts and environments. This Living Spirituality - Series 2 volume takes the introductory topics in Series 1 further, extending beyond spiritual foundations to a more in-depth treatment of new and timely topics.
The Living Spirituality series is unique in its capacity to propose a new approach to cultivating spiritual formation for teachers through a Quadrivial or ‘Four Rivers’ model (Spiritual Traditions, Narratives, Disciplines, and Virtues). Following its prefacing sections, this book explores more indispensable topics in this Series 2 edition through its six chapters – Introduction to Christian spirituality (Part 2), Prophetic imagination and social justice, You are God’s Beloved (Nouwen) and the Examen, A Spirituality of the Heart, A Spirituality of Leadership, and finally, Memento Vivendi and Memento Mori (‘Remember you must live’ and ‘Remember you must die’).
Each chapter integrates seminal figures' insights and practices, particularly across the Abrahamic traditions. Eight teacher-friendly icons (including an additional five compared to Series 1) point the reader to ‘Teacher Tips’, ‘Did you know’ ideas, rich academic insights from ‘Scholars Corner’, as well as icons linked to spiritual profiles, symbols, biblical texts, the arts, and music. A full range of materials for ordering and subscription is at www.thelivingspirituality.com.au
Review by Dr. Kevin Treston, International Consultant, Brisbane, QLD
The challenge of composing relevant and practical resources for spiritual formation is formidable in today’s Australian cultural environment. The Christian story, or any religious story, is no longer foundational in secular social consciousness. Dr. Peter Mudge has responded admirably to this challenge with his Living Spirituality Series 1, soon followed by a much-anticipated Series 2. What did I find appealing in Series 1? I could identify many features of this book but simply highlight a chosen few. Drawing from Dr. Peter Mudge’s impressive theological and Religious Education knowledge and pastoral experiences, the text integrates traditions, narratives, disciplines, and virtues.
I cannot think of any other contemporary resource that has brought together these four dimensions of spiritual formation in the way that Peter has done. I especially enjoyed the many references to the rich treasure chest of Catholic spiritual traditions from my own historical bias.
My consultancy experiences with teachers over the years have led me to conclude that such knowledge is all too often lacking or at least scarce. Another commendable feature of the Series is how the profound spiritual traditions of other religions and indigenous people, such as Australian Aboriginal culture, remind us how the Great Spirit hovers over and within all creation and us. I very much look forward to perusing Living Spirituality Series 2, where the overarching themes of spiritual formation are explored in-depth and expanded.
While each of the six chapters will have appeal to me, I especially anticipate taking reflective time with Chapter 2: Prophetic Imagination and Social Justice and Chapter 4: A Spirituality of the Heart.
Congratulations to Dr. Peter Mudge for composing such a valuable resource on spiritual formation, a resource attuned to contemporary consciousness and thoroughly researched by the author.
Two Commendations From Series 2 – Bernadette Gibson and Jane McDonald
Each chapter in Series 1 and Series 2 of Living Spirituality provides an opportunity to encounter the beauty of the infinite mystery of God. This is enabled by the conversation between the four Quadrivial foundations identified by Dr. Peter Mudge.
Be prepared, though, in his usual fashion, Peter calls us through discerning questions, to go deeper at every turn: a mature spirituality requires work. In Series 2, he continues the ongoing creation of a dynamic and differentiated experience that facilitates hospitality between the four foundations, and a companioning of each of us, as pilgrims, on a holistic, spiritual journey.
The complete series (with the final Series 3 to come) acknowledges the complexity and complementarity of the interplay between religion and spirituality in a highly secularised and sometimes dislocated Australian soul scape. A helpful, practical, yet often astonishing tool for all formators, this series assists its readers by providing a map from the visible into the invisible.
Bernadette Gibson, Head of Religious Education and Spirituality, Maitland Newcastle Diocese
Living Spirituality is aptly named as it will assist RE teachers in Catholic schools in understanding some of the spiritual traditions within Catholicism [and wider Christianity] and how these may be simply introduced and offered to their students. This book identifies the richness of the Christian story through its significant mentors in spirituality, its spiritual disciplines, and the virtues for living that Christianity proposes.
Furthermore, Aboriginal spiritualities, the wider Christian tradition, the Abrahamic religions, and Eastern religions are included that attest to the spiritual quest in the human experience. The array of resources and ideas in Series 1 and 2 will prompt educators to consider further developing this area of their work. The fruits of Peter Mudge’s study are received with gratitude. Significant conversation and further study can hopefully be generated from this unique publication.
Jane McDonald, Religious Education Coordinator, St Mary Star of the Sea College, Wollongong.
The study, cultivation, and 'teaching' of spiritual formation in Australian Catholic schools, parishes, and online environments has often been honed more in theory than practice. The modern challenge is to actually 'impart spiritual practices and virtues' to our school students and teachers as well as our tertiary students and lecturers. This Living Spirituality - Series 3 volume further extends the topics in Series 1 and 2 with its scope beyond spiritual foundations to a more in-depth, practical treatment of new and timely topics, including a COVID-19 reflection designed for each chapter.
The Living Spirituality series is unique in its capacity to propose a new approach to cultivating spiritual formation for teachers through a Quadrivial or 'Four Rivers' model (Spiritual Traditions, Narratives, Disciplines, and Virtues). This 200-page Series 3 book explores six more indispensable topics following its online preface. These chapters, along with selected sub-topics, are listed below. The book concludes with an online Afterword on 'How to Maintain Spiritual Vitality after Series 3'. Each chapter integrates seminal figures' insights and practices, particularly across the Abrahamic traditions.
In addition to the four foundational icons introduced in Series 1 for STs, SNs, SDs, and SVs, eight other teacher-friendly icons are included in both Series 2 and Series 3 which point the reader to 'Teacher Tips', 'Did you know' ideas, rich academic insights from 'Scholars Corner', as well as icons linked to spiritual profiles, symbols, biblical texts, the arts, and music. A full range of materials for purchase can be found at www.thelivingspirituality.com.au
Orders can be sent directly to firstname.lastname@example.org
Series 3 Chapters – Selected Topics at a Glance
Chapter 1: A Catholic Guide to Reading and Interpreting the Scriptures – helpful ways to interpret the Scriptures; Four senses of the text; Three worlds of the text; What are your 'texts of terror'?; Spiritual symbol of the Burnt Book; Patron Saints of biblical writing and exegesis.
Chapter 2: Crossing Thresholds and A Spirituality of Pilgrimage – defining Threshold Concepts and Pilgrimage; Symbol – Jesus and God as 'Divine Piano Tuners'; pilgrimage as a metaphor for dying; aboriginal and white crossings and pilgrimage; the Camino de Sydney; SV of the Gift of Tears.
Chapter 3: Spiritual Narratives and Virtues that Give Life – interplay between Narratives and Virtues; Indigenous Narratives; Virtues and Vices; SNs and SVs from Christianity, Judaism and Islam; SV of Silence.
Chapter 4: Spiritual Disciplines and Virtues that Keep Us Close to Christ – Key Disciplines and Virtues for today's world; God as an elusive Fragment and the Jewish TzimTzum; SD – teaching students to breathe; SDs and SVs are integrated throughout – e.g., Haiku poetry with Attention and Brevity; Praying with Icons and Beauty.
Chapter 5: The Spirituality of Various Prayer Forms – what is prayer and prayerfulness?; prayer and contemplation; Jesus' prayer; the Annunciation and the Lord's prayer; avoiding Acedia (restlessness or listlessness).
Chapter 6: Spiritualities of Place: Desert, River, City, and Ocean – why 'place' and the body are crucial for SF; indigenous 'place'; Jesus, Thoreau, and place; spiritualities of Australian places.
Commendation by Dr. Kevin Treston, International Consultant, Brisbane, QLD
Living Spirituality, Series 2 by Dr. Peter Mudge is an invaluable resource in that it embraces the original Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander influences and extends its coverage to Abrahamic and other traditions. It was different from anything else that I had read on this topic.
I believe that it will be a great resource for teachers and students alike as it provides so many signposts that will support the development of their spiritual formation. Living Spirituality, Series 3 provides yet another fresh perspective on spirituality and the many challenges it presents to us in terms of our understanding of how the ‘heart of Christ’ is inextricably linked to our own. In the bible, the heart is the sacred centre in our relationships with God, and in Series 3, we are led to how this link between the heart of Christ and our sacred centre may be strengthened.
Living Spirituality, Series 2 has become an essential source in supporting Catholic community members in their journey of formation. The metaphor of the four rivers has been particularly appreciated by those who have little experience in exploring their faith in recognising the rich spiritual tradition, narratives, disciplines, and virtues associated with it.
Sharing extracts from Peter’s work, especially in Ecological Spirituality and Lectio Divina: Sacred Reading has led to rich discussions and moments of metanoia. As we move to a change of era, Living Spirituality, Series 3 builds upon the rich foundation that Peter has established to challenge and support individuals and leaders of our communities to seek and enhance spiritual and religious formation through Head, Heart, and Hand.
The six chapters of Series 3 expand the comprehensive spectrum of the spirituality landscape by widening the horizons envisioned in Series 1 and Series 2 by exploring core dimensions of spirituality such as pilgrimages, scripture, prayer forms, narratives, disciplines, and spiritualities of Australian places.
Each chapter in Series 1, 2, and 3 of Living Spirituality provides an opportunity to encounter the beauty of the infinite mystery of God. This is enabled by the conversation between the four Quadrivial foundations identified by Dr. Peter Mudge.
Be prepared, though, in his usual fashion, Peter calls us through discerning questions, to go deeper at every turn: a mature spirituality requires work. In Series 3, he continues the ongoing creation of a dynamic and differentiated experience which facilitates hospitality between the four foundations, and a companioning of each of us, as pilgrims, on a holistic, spiritual journey, various prayer forms, the imperatives of spiritual disciplines, and interpreting scripture.
The complete series acknowledges the complexity and complementarity of the interplay between religion and spirituality in a highly secularised and sometimes dislocated Australian soul-scape. The final chapter of Series 3 invites readers to reflect on how the interaction between ‘place’ and body reinforces the connectivity of all things in creation. A helpful, practical, yet often astonishing tool for all formators, this series assists its readers by providing a map from the visible into the invisible.
Living Spirituality is aptly named as it will assist RE teachers in Catholic schools in their work of understanding the profound expanse of spiritual traditions within Catholicism and how these may be simply introduced and offered to their students. This book identifies the richness of the Christian story through its significant mentors in spirituality, its spiritual disciplines, and the virtues for living that Christianity proposes.
Furthermore, Aboriginal spiritualities, the wider Christian tradition, the Abrahamic religions, and Eastern religions are included, which attest to the evolving spiritual quest in the human experience. The array of resources and ideas in Series 1, 2, and 3 will prompt educators to consider further developing this area of their work.
The title Living is apt because the Series does not present inaccessible spiritualities but is grounded in Spirit possibilities. The fruits of Peter Mudge’s study are received with gratitude. Significant conversations between religious educators, catechists, faith and life facilitators, and pastors, with further study for all, can hopefully be generated from this unique publication.
ZOOMs Based on Book Chapters and Other Topics (H2)
Please find below a series of ZOOMs mainly based on chapters across Living Spirituality, Series 1, 2, and 3. Some are based on Eternal Life Letters to Our Two Children, such as Celtic Christian Spirituality. Other future ZOOMs will be developed that do not stem from these two books, such as Meister Eckhart and Thomas Merton. This list of ZOOMs (current and future) is followed by a CAL style Copyright statement that applies to the viewing of ZOOMs. It restricts this viewing to the particular Archdiocese or Diocese or other organisations (e.g., Congregational Schools) that purchases them.
Dr. Peter Mudge – ZOOM sessions available for School and Parish Spiritual Formation (2021-2023ff)
There is nothing in print or online that rivals these Living Spirituality and Eternal Life Letters resources. The viewer/reader is invited to trawl the web for him/herself to validate this claim. Here are FIVE basic reasons:
1. Most resources describe what spirituality, scripture, theology is about; this site and its resources show you how to actually live out your spiritual formation (SF).
2. For example, it shows you how to engage in Breathing Meditation, mindful walking, the Jesus Prayer, Ecological spirituality, sacred reading of texts and so on.
3. The resources are adaptable to any tradition or none. Although it operates out of a Christian SF framework, it also makes reference to the Abrahamic suite of traditions - these being Christianity, Judaism and Islam (see the Vatican II document, 'Nostra Aetate', n.2). Other traditions that it refers to consistently include Buddhism, Sufism (mystical Islam), Celtic Christianity, Aboriginal indigenous spiritualities, and Native American spiritualities, to name but a few.
4. Regardless of whether you are Christian, another tradition, atheist, agnostic, or simply live a values-based SF (e.g. compassion, justice, mercy) you will find pathways from your own belief system into this Series. You can simply replace the name God with the Sacred, Mystery, Other, Ha-Shem, Allah, or whichever name you are comfortable with, and you can use any of these materials.
5. Finally, the most important aspect of the Living Spirituality approach is its Quadrivial SF model, which means it focuses on living out the SF life via a systematic adherence to the four rivers of STs, SNs, SDs and SVs. This means that it focuses systematically on Sacred Traditions, Narratives, Disciplines and Virtues. This translates as shining the SF spotlight on one or more tradition/belief systems, a cluster of narratives or sacred stories, a set of disciplines (e.g. breathing meditation, ecological sensitivity, mindful walking, paying attention), and adherence to identifiable virtues (e.g. humility, service).
This series of 6 Spiritual Formation (SF) ZOOMs is based on selected chapters from Living Spirituality and Eternal Life Letters. It aims to provide SF opportunities for school leaders and staff, parish leaders and parishioners, and anyone interested in the topics. The titles listed below would be excellent for staff PD or parish discussion. Individuals could also use them for individual SF activities. If used within a diocese each ZOOM must be accompanied by the Copyright statement below and cannot be used or shared outside the diocese/ archdiocese that purchases that ZOOM or ZOOMs. Thank you.
It is anticipated that five or so additional ZOOM titles will be produced during 2022. Each ZOOM is based on one or more volumes of Living Spirituality, Series 1, 2, or 3, typically 35–45 mins in length. These can be divided into smaller portions for professional development. Viewers can use the relevant books or eBooks to accompany their viewing and discussion.
Every ZOOM is designed within a practical framework for teachers and others. After a brief introduction, each ZOOM acquaints the viewers with a few theoretical slides followed, alternately in pairs of slides, by a few slides containing spiritual exercises. Possible topics for 2022ff include Celtic Christian spirituality (Pts 1 and 2), Spiritual Formation during COVID-19, Lectio Divina, the Jesus Prayer (fuller treatment), Icon spirituality (in-depth), the Jewish Jesus (fundamental to study of the OT and NT), and other selected topics from Series 2 and Series 3.
Each individual or series of ZOOMs is designed for a system (archdioceses, dioceses, a cluster of schools (systemic or congregational), but is only designed to be used within that specific, designated region that purchased the resource.
Prices - Each ZOOM is priced at $300 per system, which could be considered economical if that system cultivates SF across 30 schools and the equivalent number of parishes ($5 to $10 per group). Discounts are negotiable for purchases of more than three ZOOMs. New ZOOM topics requested to be developed from scratch are priced at $500.
Copyright Conditions – Each individual or series of recordings purchased is provided solely for educational use for teachers, parishioners, or other groups interested in SF and only within the organization or system to which the ZOOMs are sold. This ZOOM or ZOOMs may not be distributed to any other person or posted on the internet (YouTube etc.) without the express written permission of the course instructor. At this stage of production, posting on the internet is forbidden. The same conditions apply to the individual power points that form the basis of each ZOOM. Each ZOOM is accompanied by its permissions and password for the individual system purchaser. Refer to the full Copyright Statement below.
Session 1: Introduction to the Quadrivial ‘Four Rivers’ Model of Spiritual Formation (SF) (topic linked to Series 1)
This opening presentation explores the Quadrivial or ‘Four Rivers’ model that is the basis for the Living Spirituality series. This model is a ‘way of operating’ built on four movements, rivers, or aspects – Spiritual Traditions or STs (the three Abrahamic traditions commended for an engagement at Vatican II), Spiritual Narratives or SNs (e.g., the Bible, spiritual writings, wisdom sayings), Spiritual Disciplines or SDs (e.g., Lectio Divina, the Jesus Prayer), and Spiritual Virtues or SVs (e.g., solitude, service, justice, Sabbath living). During the study and practice of these movements, they tend to overlap and reoccur in different ways, much like a dance or symphony. These four aspects of the Quadrivial model are designed to be reflected upon and practised, not to be taught as isolated pieces of information. This presentation will provide background to the topics and some exercises for practising the four movements.
Session 2: Introduction to Christian Spirituality (Series 1)
This second presentation explores the nature and practice of Christian SF at an introductory or foundational level. The session will examine SF's 'above' and 'below' aspects (linked to spiritual and material applications), including SN such as Martha and Mary, the SD of 'paying attention,' and the SV of 'cleaving to God.' It will include details about Catholic spirituality and some indigenous perspectives. As for Session 1, this one will provide background information and some practical exercises for practising the four movements of Quadrivial spirituality.
Session 3: Ecological Spirituality and Conversion (Series 1)
This third session focuses on ecological spirituality as the first major topic for Series 1. Without an ecological spirituality and associated conversion and responsibility, the earth and all life forms will not survive. This is why this opening chapter is so important. This topic considers the ST of Christianity with related insights from Judaism and Islam. Narratives include insights from Pope Francis, Angelus Silesius, and Eastern Orthodox Christianity. The principal SDs are Mindful Walking and Tikkun Olam (repair of the world). The key SVs are Humility and Awe. This presentation will once again provide theoretical background accompanied by practical SF exercises.
Session 4: Christian Breathing Meditation (Series 1)
This session focuses on the opening image of your God-given breath, how it is often neglected, and its importance for integral spiritual formation (SF) - particularly the breathing of God's ancient name – YHVH (Yod-Heh-Vav-Heh). It then explores breathing as the most ancient spiritual discipline and the breath of life as it is understood within the disciplines of spirituality and theology. It then proceeds to examine Dadirri (pron. Dadiddi) as deep listening and breathing, followed by active breathing meditations from the Psalms and the Gospels. It concludes with what selected mystical writers say about God's Breath as the Source of Life.
Session 5: The Jesus Prayer and a Spirituality of Icons (First Topic From Series 1)
Session 5 focuses on the importance of the Orthodox religious icon for integral spiritual formation (SF). It then provides an introduction to the spirituality of the icon as 'a Window into Eternity'. The presentation then proceeds to a meditation on a 'beginner's icon,' followed by a brief consideration of The Jesus Prayer as an icon of the Christian prayer life. A more in-depth treatment of the Jesus Prayer will be produced later in the series. This is followed by an exploration of the deeper spirituality of icons and guides the viewer through the meaning of additional icons. It concludes with a reflection on Creation as an Icon of God, with a brief allusion to Celtic spiritual perspectives. This segues nicely into Session 6.
Session 6: Celtic Spirituality and a Spirituality of Sacred Places (Series 2 and Series 3)
Session 6 commences focusing on the participant's special 'Heart Place.' It then explores the nature of Celtic spirituality and its main features about the landscape as sacred, founded on Genesis 1-2. It proceeds to an examination of the desert as a sacred place. This is followed by a series of focuses on the river, mountain, and city as sacred places. How do we perceive these places as 'sacred,' and what spiritual disciplines are appropriate within each? The session continues with a more in-depth focus on the ocean as a sacred place. It provides a breathing meditation or SD on the ocean underpinned by sacred scripture and other sacred texts and concludes with some guidelines for constructing a 'sacred space' and the SV of Gratitude.
It is likely that a number of ZOOMs might be developed on topics linked to Celtic Christian Spirituality, and our latest book, Eternal Life Letters to Our Two Children.
NOTE: Stay tuned for more ZOOM presentations from the series to be produced during 2021 and 2022. Future ZOOMs might include Meister Eckhart, Julian of Norwich, Thomas Merton, St Bonaventure, Lao Tzu, Jewish Mysticism and Hassidism, Islamic Spirituality, Australian Indigenous Spirituality, and many more.
Copyright Notice To Accompany All Video Recordings, Webinars, Presentations, and Documents Produced by Dr. Peter Mudge (15 Feb 2021)
The following copyright conditions apply to all video recordings (including ZOOM recordings), webinars, eDocuments, eBooks, and other word documents produced by Dr. Peter Mudge, including those available for free personal download at his website: www.thelivingspirituality.com.au
For all enquiries and orders please email me at: email@example.com
All such materials are © Dr. Peter Mudge 2019-2025 and following.
Except as permitted by the copyright law applicable to you, and except for educational and faith formation contexts agreed to between you and the author, you may not reproduce or communicate any of the content whether this is in the form of video recordings, presentations, or webinars, in the form of Word or PDF documents, or on the author’s website, including files downloadable from this website, without the permission of the author and copyright owner. No materials by the author may be uploaded and distributed on YouTube or in any public domain at any time.
The authors and his company acknowledge the Darug nation and its individual Burramattagal and Toongagal clans (past, present and yet to emerge) as the Traditional Custodians of the land that we live and work on. We are committed to the journey towards Recognition, Equality, Justice and Reconciliation as detailed in The Uluru Statement from the Heart or Makarata. Refer to: https://ulurustatement.org/the-statement This website is Copyright © 2022 Dr Peter Mudge to whom all titles and materials for Living Spirituality and Eternal Life Letters to Our Children belong as the original author.
The logo above shows a figure on a boat crossing a threshold river. TC stands for Threshold Concept. This applies to all of the Living Spirituality and Eternal Life Letters books.
Copyright © 2022 Living Spirituality - All Rights Reserved.
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