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Appeal

A special note from Fr. Richard: Carrying the Work Forward

Tuesday, November 15th, 2022

Dear Friend,

I moved to New Mexico in 1986 in response to the call I felt to create a training ground for the contemplative mind in service to a transformed world. My intent was to start a “school for prophets” that would gather people who had a vision of service to the world, train them, and send them forth with the spiritual resources they need. And on October 12th, 1987, the Center for Action and Contemplation (CAC) was born. In choosing this name, my hope was to remind us of what we were about. To hold action and contemplation together was a big vision where everything we did was rooted in love.

Thirty-five years later, it is still true that the most important word in our name is and. Without action, our spirituality can become lifeless and bear no authentic fruit. Without contemplation, our doing can come from ego — even if it looks selfless. But the fact that so many of you find the integration of action and contemplation helpful and meaningful in your life is my greatest joy. Thank you for trusting us and, more than anything, for carrying the message forward in your own life and communities.

Earlier this fall, I learned that cancer has returned, this time in my lymph nodes. I am currently undergoing treatment, and at this point, all signs are positive. I am in good spirits and at peace with my state of being, both in my work and health. For several years now, I have been engaged in the gradual process of stepping back from public life, including reducing my speaking, responsibilities, and travel. Most recently, I have stepped back from my role as Dean of our Core Faculty and transitioned to Faculty Emeritus. I still expect to participate in some CAC programming as my energy permits, but I do not plan to take on any new or ongoing teaching commitments.

At this stage of my life, I feel a great need to create space for those who are carrying this work forward into the future — at the CAC and beyond. As I have shared many times over the years, I believe that only the contemplative mind can bring forward the new consciousness needed to awaken a more loving, just, and sustainable world. This is why the CAC’s mission is to introduce Christian contemplative wisdom and practices that support transformation and inspire loving action.

But the CAC is not enough on its own. The healing of our world requires transformed agents of love showing up in the world together. Each of us has a part to play in this work – a whole body, a whole community, a whole movement of people on the path of action and contemplation. It is your support, generosity, and daily partnership that will enable this transformation to take place.

Twice per year, we pause the Daily Meditations to ask for your support. If you have been impacted by the CAC’s programs (including these Daily Meditations) and are financially able, please consider donating. We appreciate every gift, regardless of the amount. 

The CAC is not funded by any large institution or big foundation but by thousands of people who have been impacted by this work — people just like you. Through your support, we are able to introduce more people to the wisdom and practices of the Christian contemplative tradition, many for the very first time. 

Please take a moment to read our Executive Director Michael’s note below. Tomorrow the Daily Meditations will continue exploring the theme of “Movements of Justice and Spirit.”

Peace and Every Good,


Dear Friend,

Peace and Every Good,

In 1987, shortly after moving to Albuquerque and establishing the Center for Action and Contemplation (CAC), Fr. Richard wrote the following in a letter to some of its early supporters:

In this time, when our American culture is almost entirely dominant, we need to find time and space to “nurture the alternative consciousness.” The Tradition of saints and prophets tells us that this alternative consciousness will be solid and trustworthy only if it is grounded in contemplative union. Mere idealism, activism or liberalism is not sufficient for the task. It is only contemplatives who can live at the Center and move beyond their own center. Folks who are not committed to seeking an inner life and a serious search for union with God will not feel called to such a school.

Thank you for your commitment to seeking the inner life and helping make CAC a “school for prophets” for the past 35 years. It is because of people like you, who have felt the urgency of our time and decided to respond, engage, and join with this movement, that any of this work is possible.

Fr. Richard formally stepping back from his official CAC duties marks a significant moment for our organization and one we have been preparing for several years. And in that time, one thing that has grown increasingly clear to me is that our integrity as an organization will be a function of our faithfulness to what Fr. Richard founded us to be.

Recently, CAC Core Faculty Brian McLaren described it very well:

“At every step of this transition process, Richard has said again and again that he doesn’t want CAC to become a monument to the past, but he wants it to be a continuing movement. That means with our existing and future staff and faculty, we need to keep the same momentum, vitality, and robustness of intellectual, spiritual, and theological work going. This is the greatest way we honor Richard’s beautiful legacy.”

We believe that the work of nurturing contemplative consciousness in the world is more important now than ever. By making the Christian path of transformation more accessible to people and leaders worldwide, we believe that CAC can become a catalyzing force for change of consciousness within Christianity and each of our communities. 

It is a humbling charge to accept. Yet together, I know we will continue to build on the CAC’s founding purpose to bring forward the gifts of contemplative wisdom and practice in ways that can transform ourselves and our communities to co-create a world where everything — truly! — belongs.

Your financial support and partnership make this all possible. If you have benefited from the work of this CAC community and are able to support the ongoing expansion of this work, please consider making a one-time donation or recurring monthly gift. If you are able, please consider making your donation a monthly one. Recurring support helps us consistently invest in new and improved offerings, many at no cost.

In gratitude for a donation of any size, we will send you a digital version of our new issue of CAC’s biannual journal ONEING with the theme of “Nonviolence,” featuring scholars, teachers, and poets sharing this important and timely topic.

May we each answer the call in our own hearts and play our part in the building of a more loving, just, and transformed world.

In loving gratitude,

Michael Poffenberger
Executive Director
Center for Action and Contemplation

P.S. You can donate securely online at cac.org/dm-appeal or send a check (USD only) to CAC, P.O. Box 12464, Albuquerque, NM 87195. Donations are tax-deductible in the United States. EIN # 85-0354965. We invite donations of any size. Learn more about other ways to give, including gifts of stock, qualified distributions from your IRA or a gift in your will at cac.org/support. Email us at [email protected] if you have any questions.

Read more about Richard Rohr stepping back from official duties at the Center for Action and Contemplation and transitioning to the role of Core Faculty Emeritus.


Image credit: Khamkéo Vilaysing, Lonely Tree (detail), 2017, France, photograph, Unsplash. Anastase Maragos, Calm Tide (detail), 2020, Canada, photograph, Unsplash. Clark Gu, Untitled (detail), 2020, Korea, photograph, Unsplash. Jenna Keiper & Leslye Colvin, 2022, triptych art, United States. Click here to enlarge image.  

Image inspiration: We cannot see the wind, but we feel it. We recognize its presence by watching the world around us move in response to its power. At times, the movement of Spirit towards justice feels invisible and interminably slow, but like waves slowly shaping the shoreline, in time we see the fruits of God’s movement. 

 

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