Last April, famed scientist Jane Goodall recalled a transformative moment she had in Notre Dame cathedral: light streaming through the Rose Window, Bach filling the vastness. “How could I believe it was the chance gyrations of primeval dust that led to…the collective inspiration and faith of those who (built the cathedral); the advent of Bach… the mind that could, as mine did then, comprehend the whole inexorable progression?.. And so I must believe in a guiding power in the universe—in other words, I must believe in God.” 
Transformative moments such as Goodall describes take place in the spiritual imagination, where image, story, music come alive and point towards a reality beyond what we can see. Creative humans purposefully designed cathedrals – as well as Aztec dance, Hindu altars, Christian passion plays – as invitations into Spirit. There was a time when children grew up seeped in these invitations, when everyone gathered to express wonder and awe for creation, gratitude and petition to the Creator.
Today, children grow up seeped in invitations from advertisers and corporations pointing them not towards Spirit, but towards improving physical appearance, owning material things. Is there meaning beyond our material existence? Increasingly, we tell our children “no.” Even churches are failing to ignite the spiritual imaginations of younger generations, as evidenced by declining membership. This failure can be linked to escalating rates of anxiety and depression, as numerous studies find that the most important factor in preventing teen mental health issues is an “inner sense of a living relationship to an…ultimate loving, guiding life force.”
For Goodall, this inner sense was sparked by her epiphany in Notre Dame. How can we spark such epiphanies in our children and grandchildren today? Let’s be purposeful and creative as we invite them into a reality beyond the material and into Spirit. After years of listening to what is on the hearts and minds of hundreds of young people, I have ideas about how to do this and you probably do too. I invite you to join our Spiritually Guiding Young People group that will meet monthly starting Oct 4 to share ideas and keep each other focused on this important work.
For more info or
to register, please visit: http://loyolaspiritualitycenter.org/spiritually-guiding-young-people
 Miller, Lisa, and Teresa Barker. The Spiritual Child: The New Science on Parenting for Health and Lifelong Thriving. Picador/St. Martin’s Press, 2016, p 5-9 and p 208-209.