ABILENE INTERFAITH COUNCIL DECEMBER MEETING
The next meeting of the Abilene Interfaith Council will be at noon Dec. 4 at the Unity Spiritual Living Center, 2842 Barrow St. They public is invited to the potluck lunch and program. Pizza will be available for a donation. Guest speaker will be Avalon Zakazakina, who will describe the traditional and modern Yule/Jul winter celebration, a Norse specific and general pagan holiday.
By Loretta Fulton
At age 12, the “Brady Bunch” life that twins Rene and Noel Flores were leading came to a crashing end.
Their sister was shot by her husband, who also shot their dad and then himself. Three people died that day. And the sister was pregnant. The tragedy was unspeakable.
“After that, Rene said, “it was easy to get bitter.”
The brothers, now 45, live in Anson and are members of St. Michael Catholic Church. They were guest speakers at the Nov. 6 meeting of the Abilene Interfaith Council held at the Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest.
They answered questions from a panel, including McMurry religion professor Mark Waters, Hardin-Simmons religion professor Dan Stiver, and Episcopal Sister Brigit-Carol, as well as from the audience.
Later in their lives, the brothers discovered through Richard Rohr and other practitioners, the ancient art of centering prayer. They attended a three-year formation class at Our Lady of the Angels convent in Wolfforth, near Lubbock. They drove for one day a month for three years.
Only five of the 75 people attending the class were men. A woman ask them why they were there, acknowledging that men usually don’t attend such events. The question led to deeper questioning about themselves, Noel said. A speaker said something that stuck.
“Find your practice and practice it.”
For the Flores brothers, that was mysticism, including practicing centering prayer. They asked how they would know if the practice worked and were told that if it worked, they would be aware of the fruits of the spirit in their lives.
Today, they know it works. Both men are happily married, both are physical therapists, and both leading centered lives. Daily practices include centering prayer, maybe during lunch or on a break.
They practice “being in the present moment,” putting everything else aside. They combine prayers from different faiths. In answer to a question from the audience, they said they learned to sit still and let God speak to them. A bit of advice they once got is still good.
“Just sit down and shut up,” they were advised.
Waters, a professor at McMurry, noted that the men were influenced by Richard Rhor, a Francisan priest who founded the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque. Waters asked how the twins how their contemplative life leads to action.
Noel said they knew they couldn’t just sit in silence and not follow their prayers with action. God is everywhere, not just in the quiet of the centering prayer.
“It’s up to us to be open to that,” he said.
At the beginning of the panel discussion, the brothers told a little about themselves–showing their sense of humor along the way. Noel acknowledged that he would use the word “we” a lot in his presentation.
“I don’t have multiple personalities,” he assured.
“Ditto,” his brother replied.
They acknowledged that as much as they are alike, they also have different interests. Noel described himself as more “up in the cosmos,” while his brother Rene is more grounded.
“He would be a little more Franciscan,” Noel said. “I guess I’m an astronaut.”