THE DAILY MEDITATION

We are in the season of Advent, a season of expectation and preparation. CAC core faculty member James Finley offers a short video meditation. What does the story of Jesus’ birth teach us about how God is present in our lives? “God is unexplainably born in our hearts moment by moment, breath by breath.” Click here to watch the video (about 7 minutes).

Heaven

The Goal   Sunday, December 17, 2017

The purifying goal of mysticism and contemplative prayer is nothing less than divine union—union with what is, with the moment, with yourself, with the divine, which means with everything. Healing, growth, and happiness are admittedly wonderful byproducts of prayer, but they must not be our primary concern. The goal must be kept simple and clear—love of God and neighbor, union with God and neighbor. Our common word for this state of union is heaven. Wherever there is union, there is a little bit of heaven.

Much of common religion is well-disguised self-interest—high premium fire insurance for the afterlife—instead of self-emptying love. Most of the official Catholic liturgical prayers ask in some form, “That I or we might go to heaven.” (This is not a guess. I have counted!) Is there no other priority than my personal salvation? If it is true that lex orandi est lex credendi, “the way you pray is the way you believe,” then it is no wonder Christians have such a poor record of caring for the suffering of the world and for the planet itself, and the Church has fully participated in so many wars and injustices. We have been allowed to pray in a rather self-centered way, and that fouled the Christian agenda, in my opinion.

Jesus talked much more about how to live on earth now than about how to get to heaven later. Show me where Jesus healed people for the next world. He healed their present entrapment and suffering in their bodies, not just their souls. But many Christians, both Protestant and Catholic, pushed the goal into the future, making religion into a petty reward/punishment system inside a frame of retributive justice. (The major prophets—and Jesus himself­—teach restorative justice instead.) Once Christianity became a simplistic win/lose morality contest, we lost most of the practical, transformative power of the Gospel for the individual and for society. I cannot state this strongly enough.

Objectively, we cannot be separate from God; we all walk in the Garden whether we know it or not. The branch that imagines itself to be separate from the Vine (John 15:1-8), acts as if it is separate from God. We call the result sin, but the real sin is the imagined state of separation. It is our own delusion and decision!

We came from God and we will return to God. Everything in-between is a school toward conscious loving. As theologian Charles Williams (1886-1945) said, the “master idea” of Christianity is co-inherence. “You already know the Spirit of Truth; the Spirit is with you and in you!” (John 14:17). God is your deepest desiring. But it takes a long time to allow, believe, trust, and enjoy such a wonderful possibility. We move toward union by desiring union. We move into heaven by desiring heaven now. So just pray for the desire to desire union. Then the actions will take care of themselves. 

Gateway to Silence:
Going home to Love

References:

Adapted from Richard Rohr, Jesus and Buddha: Paths to Awakening, disc 4 (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2008), CDDVDMP3 download;
Silent Compassion: Finding God in Contemplation (Franciscan Media: 2014), 55-60; and
Things Hidden: Scripture as Spirituality (Franciscan Media: 2007), 210, 212.

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You are invited!

Join a live webcast with James Finley:

Through the Dark Night with John of the Cross
Thursday, December 14, 2017
4:00-6:00 p.m. US PST / 7:00-9:00 p.m. US EST

Oh, night that guided me,
Oh, night more lovely than the dawn,
Oh, night that joined Beloved with lover,
Lover transformed in the Beloved!

—St. John of the Cross

In a live video webcast, James helps us navigate periods of darkness and doubt, deepening our desire for and openness to union with Love.

Register for as little as $1 at cac.org.

Register any time before December 21 and receive access to the replay, which will be available online through January 14, 2018.

Center for Action and Contemplation: An educational center grounded in the Christian mystical tradition—NEWS FROM NEW MEXICO
Sharing Joy! We believe that every day is holy—an opportunity to recognize God’s presence in the ordinary. The holiday season offers many extra-special reminders that each being is indwelled by the Divine Spirit. How might you share the good news of the Incarnation, Love enfleshed? Below are several resources to introduce friends and loved ones to contemplative teaching. Note: In order for domestic orders to arrive by Christmas, we suggest completing your purchase by December 13, 2017; customers outside the United States should allow more time.
Preparing for Christmas This small volume of daily meditations for Advent offers a mini-retreat for what can be a busy time. Richard Rohr invites us to make our entire life “one huge advent,” anticipating and opening our hearts to transformation. Order the 91-page book at http://store.cac.org/Preparing-for-Christmas_p_30.html
Introductory Teachings from CAC’s Core Faculty Our teachers share a wealth of wisdom drawn from both their own lives and centuries of the Christian mystical tradition. If you are new to this path or would like to introduce someone to the contemplative way, see our recommended reading lists, featuring the writings of Richard Rohr, Cynthia Bourgeault, and James Finley. Learn more at https://cac.org/cac-faculty-beginners/
A Spring Within Us A book of Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditations—one for each day of the year—to help us rediscover our inherent belovedness and navigate the lifelong journey back to our Source Order at http://store.cac.org/A-Spring-Within-Us-A-Book-of-Daily-Meditations_p_427.html
Fr. Richard's Recent Daily Meditations: Reader Favorites
  • Long Lost Friends: After centuries of dualistic dismissal, religion is finally ready to befriend the wisdom of science.
  • Open to Change: Most scientists are willing to move forward with some degree of not-knowing; in fact, this is what calls them forward and motivates them.
  • Climate Change: Science and religion should be natural partners when it comes to caring for our common home

Find additional meditations by Richard Rohr in the online archive.

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Daily Meditations:
Rebuilding Christianity “From the Bottom Up”

Drawing from his own Franciscan heritage and other wisdom traditions, Richard Rohr reframes neglected or misunderstood teachings to reveal the foundations of contemplative Christianity and the universe itself: God as loving relationship.

Each week of meditations builds on previous topics, but you can join at any time! Watch a short introduction to the theme “From the Bottom Up” (8-minute video)—click here. If you’ve missed earlier messages, explore the online archive.

Feel free to share meditations on social media: go to CAC’s Facebook page or Twitter feed and find today’s post. Or use the “Forward to a Friend” link at the top of this message to send via email.

For frequently asked questions—such as what versions of the Bible Father Richard recommends or how to ensure you receive every meditation—please see our email FAQ.

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“People have good reasons to be angry and afraid. Racism, poverty, climate change, and so many other injustices are causing real suffering. But we cannot fight violence with violence. Only the contemplative mind has the ability to hold light and dark together; only unitive consciousness allows transformation at the deepest levels.”

–Richard

For the latest courses at the CAC, follow this link:

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CAC’s newsletter, the Mendicant, is now online!

Read the Mendicant at cac.org/about-cac/newsletter

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