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Center for Action and Contemplation
The Resurrected Christ
The Resurrected Christ

A New Energy and Joy

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Contemplative theologian Beatrice Bruteau (1930–2014) describes the profound effect that our participation in the eternal life of God can have on us: 

Now that we know that our “roots” are “immortal” … we are reconciled to taking up again the work of the world. We come again into everyday life. But the transformation is still going on, both in ourselves and in the world that we touch. It has begun in earnest and is proceeding. What is different is that we are no longer concerned to gain eternal life for ourselves. We have that, we know it, we are sure of it. And because of that confidence, “faith,” we turn our attention and concern to manifesting the divine life in the forms of cosmic reality. We are looking now from a point of view that is rooted in our sense of our own reality in God. It makes everything look quite new to us, and our new ability to offer love-and-meaning energy to our world helps it to become “new” (Romans 6:4; Revelation 21:5).  

For Bruteau, resurrection starts in our lives now and transforms our engagement with the world:   

Coming back to our small private selves in very ordinary daily life, we also incarnate the Wondrous Being. One of the most striking things that happens to us in our resurrection of the body is that tiny, trivial things seem beautiful and marvelous—which, indeed, they are, as we recognize when we take time to study them carefully. Such a humble and common thing as water is almost miraculous in its varied properties, so essential to our survival…. What artistry and orderly connections we find all about us, how astonishing the complex world is.  

When we take a little time to remember to look, to marvel, we find that there are sources of joy, of esthetic delight, of quiet happiness on every hand….  

Our joy is not confined to ourselves but radiates out to all. Just as Jesus intended to enter into us, that his joy might be in us and our joy might be full (John 15:11), so neither can we contain our joy: our peace and happiness envelop all those around us. When we interact with people—or circumstances—we do not feel drained of energy, as we did when we were still obliged to protect and defend our ego-self. Perceiving creative action and interaction as reality itself, we feel ourselves fully living, full of the richness of God’s life, the interior fountain that never fails.  

The divine life now becomes natural for us, no longer something to be compared to an alternative. We are really “saved” when we no longer think of ourselves as “saved,” because there is no alternative. This is when profound incarnation takes places. The reality of God is intensely perceived as present in everything.… The kingdom is hidden right here, even in the passions and illusions of our superficial consciousness. When we are shaken awake, we see it.  


Beatrice Bruteau, The Easter Mysteries (New York: Crossroad, 1995), 173, 182, 183. 

Image credit: A path from one week to the next—Jenna Keiper, Photo of a beloved artpiece belonging to Richard Rohr (Artist Unknown.) McEl Chevrier, Untitled. CAC Staff, Untitled. Used with permission. Click here to enlarge image

On retreat, the CAC staff used watercolors to connect to our collective grief. This is one of the watercolor paintings that came from that exercise. 

Story from Our Community:

I’ve been an artist and art teacher for over 30 years. A few years ago I was commissioned to paint the words from Wendell Berry’s [poem] “Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front” on a tall circular column in a downtown restaurant.… I had never read the manifesto before this project, so each day, as I painted the words in a slow rhythm to create each calligraphic letter, I was slowly caught up in his message. On Easter morning, I was finally finishing the manifesto, laying on the floor, looking up at my work, when these two words brought me to the end: PRACTICE RESURRECTION. Easter—resurrection—my painting lesson. —Mary M.

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