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Center for Action and Contemplation
Basket and Tree Root, Photograph by Thomas Merton, copyright the Merton Legacy Trust and the Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University. Used with Permission.

A Time of Unveiling

I believe the Gospel is not about any idealism. It’s not about an ideal world where everybody loves everybody. It’s not idealism, it’s utter realism. The tragic sense of life, the absurd sense of everything, that’s the Gospel. —Richard Rohr

We are living through a period of global disorder. People around the world are experiencing tremendous suffering, uncertainty, and disruption to their lives. Reality is being unveiled— systems of evil and injustice are being seen in greater clarity, and our collective “normal” has been radically upended. Walking through this chaos and despair can be difficult; but, ultimately, it is when everything seems adrift that the spiritual journey becomes both an anchor and a sail. God uses tragedy, suffering, pain—and even death to guide us into greater Love.

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Our theme this year is A Time of Unveiling. Despite the uncertainty and disorder, our present moment is an opportunity to awaken to deeper transformation, love, and hope. Amid the widespread need for healing, reality offers us an invitation to depth—to discover what is lasting and what matters.

Central to Father Richard’s teaching and the Gospel is the strong affirmation that the reality of disorder always gives way to the hopeful possibility of reorder. In this time of revelation and tumult, contemplation helps us welcome reality as it is with a different set of eyes. We become more able to receive each moment in its present form and remain open to grace, learning to recognize and even embrace our shadow selves without condemnation or shame.

Thank you for being a part of the Center for Action and Contemplation’s community. We invite you to listen to or join with Richard in saying a Prayer for Our Community:

Loving God, you fill all things with a fullness and hope that we can never comprehend. Thank you for leading us into a time where more of reality is being unveiled for us all to see. We pray that you will take away our natural temptation for cynicism, denial, fear and despair. Help us have the courage to awaken to greater truth, greater humility, and greater care for one another. May we place our hope in what matters and what lasts, trusting in your eternal presence and love. Listen to our hearts’ longings for the healing of our suffering world. Please add your own intentions . . . Knowing, good God, you are hearing us better than we are speaking, we offer these prayers in all the holy names of God. Amen.

Each Saturday we’ll email you a summary of that week’s meditations and a unique invitation to contemplative practice. Each summary links to the full entry on our website for further reading, a good option if you want to follow along with Father Richard but would prefer fewer emails.

Find previous years’ meditations in the web archive. See 2021 topics linked (past) and listed (upcoming) below.

2021 Outline:

Basket and Tree Root, Photograph by Thomas Merton, copyright the Merton Legacy Trust and the Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University. Used with Permission.
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