Use the following exercises and questions to help you find connections between your own faith journey and de Benneville's:
- In his narrative, de Benneville says his soul sank into nothingness and humiliation before experiencing an ocean of love. How does his soul in this state experience an ocean of love? Find a personal example of a time in which you were sad or depressed and somehow a gentle word or a loving presence or embrace brought you back to feelings of well-being. How did the positive signs of affection you internally felt begin to shift your own emotional attitude? Using your own personal example, analyze, step by step, as precisely as you can, how the shift in your emotions occurred. Use this personal experience to help you make sense of de Benneville's own Protestant Christian experiences of Christ.
- De Benneville tells us that the "most Holy Trinity" (i.e., God the Father, Christ the Son, and the Holy Ghost) "hath a boundless universal love towards all the human race, without exception." Do you aspire as a Unitarian Universalist to feel universal love towards all members of the human race, without exception? Do you believe some persons are unworthy of your love?
- De Benneville tells us that a "profound humility" is necessary for true religious work. Can you think of a religious leader today who seems to have this kind of humility? Is this kind of humility something to which you would aspire?
- Which, if any, emotions ignite your faith?