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Center for Action and Contemplation

Already in Union

Sunday, December 11, 2016


Already in Union
Sunday, December 11, 2016

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. —Romans 8:38-39 [1]

We are already in union with God! There is an absolute, eternal union between God and the soul of everything. At the deepest level, you and I are “hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3) and “the whole creation . . . is being brought into the same glorious freedom as the children of God” (Romans 8:21). The problem is that Western religion has not taught us this. Our ego over-emphasizes our individuality and separateness from God and others, and, as I said a few weeks ago, we limited God’s redemption to the human species—and not very many individuals within that species!

Daily contemplative prayer helps you rediscover your inherent union and learn how to abide in Presence, trusting that you are already good and safe in God. You don’t have to worry about your little private, separate, insecure self. I am one with you and you are one with your neighbor and you are one with God. That’s the Gospel! That’s the whole point of communion or Eucharist; we partake of the bread and the wine until it convinces us that we are in communion. It seems easier for God to convince bread and wine of its identity than to convince us.

You’re not here to save your soul. That’s already been done once and for all—in Christ, through Christ, with Christ, and as Christ (see Ephesians 1:3-14). By God’s love, mercy, and grace, we are already the Body of Christ: the one universal body that has existed since the beginning of time. You and I are here for just a few decades, dancing on the stage of life, perhaps taking our autonomous self far too seriously. That little and clearly imperfect self just cannot believe it could be a child of God. I hope the Gospel frees you to live inside of a life that is larger than you and cannot be taken from you. It is the very life of God which cannot be destroyed.

As Thomas Merton wrote in his journal, “We are already one. But we imagine we are not. And what we have to recover is our original unity. What we have to be is what we already are.” [2]

Gateway to Silence:
We are already in union with God.

[1] Romans 8:38-39, New American Standard Bible.
[2] Thomas Merton, The Asian Journal of Thomas Merton (New York: New Directions, 1973), 308. Emphasis mine.

Adapted from Richard Rohr, “There Is Only One Suffering; There Is Only One Happiness,” homily, September 13, 2015,; and
Emotional Sobriety: Rewiring Our Programs for “Happiness,” (CAC: 2011), CD, DVD, MP3 download.

Image Credit: Early Autumn (detail), Qian Xuan (1235-1305), 13th century, Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, Michigan, USA.
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