The practice of spiritual direction and soul care is grounded in contemplative spirituality. This unit will develop a base understanding of what ‘being contemplative’ entails. Taking a contemplative stance to oneself and others invokes a wholistic approach to the practice. This intensive will cover such topics as contemplative practices, prayer, discernment, theological reflection, contemplative listening and theologies of grace, compassion and creation. The content of the unit will be supported by experiences of contemplative practice throughout the course.

Unit code: DD8740Z

Unit status: Approved (New unit)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Foundational

Unit discipline: Spiritual Direction

Proposing College: Uniting College for Leadership and Theology

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Learning outcomes


Articulate a personal contemplative stance toward oneself and others


Compare and contrast a variety of contemplative practices and their role in contemplative living


Compare and contrast different forms of prayer including both apophatic and kataphatic forms


Apply principles of contemplative practice to discernment in life choices and reflective practice in spiritual direction or soul care.


Analyse how one’s theological underpinnings influence contemplative living

Unit sequence

A required unit in the Graduate Certificate in Spirituality (program 3) and The Graduate Diploma in Spiritual Direction (program 3)


The unit engages students through readings, workshops, group discussions, contemplative practices and personal reflection

Indicative Bibliography

  • Bruteau, Beatrice. God's Ecstasy: The Creation of a Self-Creating World. New York: Crossroad Publishing, 1997.
  • Burghardt, Walter J. Contemplation: A Long Loving Look at the Real. Church (Winter 1989): 14-18.
  • Burrows, Ruth. The Essence of Prayer. London: Burns and Oates, 2006.
  • Champion, Denise, and Rosemary Dewerse. Anaditj. Port Augusta, SA: Denise Champion, 2021.
  • De Mello, Anthony. Sadhana. A Way to God: Christian Exercises in Eastern Form. North Blackburn, Vic.: HarperCollins Religious, 1998.
  • Green, Thomas. Weeds Among the Wheat: Discernment: Where Prayer and Action Meet. Notre Dame, Indiana: Ave Maria Press, 1984.
  • Hughes, Gerard. God of Surprises. London: Darton, Longman &Todd Ltd, 1985.
  • Lindahl, Kay. Listening: A Sacred Art and a Spiritual Practice. Presence 20, no.4 (December2014): 19-26.
  • Merton, Thomas. New Seeds of Contemplation. New York: New Directions Publishing, 2007.
  • Palmer, Parker. A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life. San Francisco: Jossey Bass, 2009.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Summative Reflection

A summative reflection of the student’s learnings from the experience and content of the unit

2000 30.0
Critical Review

Critically assess the implications of a specified article

2000 30.0

Examine how different understandings of God in a selected area would affect one’s contemplative stance

2500 40.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Prof Albert Haddad on 20 Oct, 2022

Unit record last updated: 2022-11-03 10:41:50 +1100