Skip to main content
Center for Action and Contemplation

An Indwelling Presence 

Thursday, June 1, 2023

Father Richard identifies the Holy Spirit as a divine “yes” within:  

We must first remember who we are! Our core, our deepest DNA, is divine; it is the Spirit of Love implanted within us by our Creator at the first moment of our creation (see Romans 5:5, 8:11, 14–16). [1] 

Those who have gone to their depths uncover an indwelling Presence. It is a deep and loving “yes” inherent within us. Christian theology names this inner Presence as the Holy Spirit, which is precisely God as immanent, within, and even our deepest and truest self. [2] 

Liberation theologian Leonardo Boff describes the signs of this interior awakening to the Spirit:  

The principal characteristic of human beings is our role as bearers of consciousness, of intelligence—in a word, of the spirit. The spirit infuses the whole universe from its very beginning, but in human beings it becomes self-aware and free…. 

Nothing shows the presence of the spirit in human life as well as love does…. When love is expressed as compassion, the spirit enables us to come out of ourselves, put ourselves in the other’s place, bend over the person fallen by the wayside. In forgiveness we transcend ourselves, so that the past does not have the last word and cannot close off the present and the future.  

The highest expression of the spirit is the one that opens us to the Great Other, in love and trust. It establishes a dialogue with God, listens from the conscience to God’s call, and delivers us trustingly into the palm of God’s hand. This communion can be so intense, say the mystics of every tradition, that the soul of the beloved is fused with the Lover in an experience of nonduality; by grace we participate in God’s very being. Here the human spirit is touching the hem of the Holy Spirit’s garment. [3] 

Richard writes:  

Some saints and mystics have described this Presence as “closer to me than I am to myself” or “more me than I am myself.” Yet this True Self still must be awakened and chosen. The Holy Spirit is given equally to all; but it must be received, too. People who totally receive this Presence and draw life from it are the ones we traditionally call saints. 

The Holy Spirit is never created by our actions or behavior; it is naturally indwelling, our inner being with God. In Catholic theology, we call the Holy Spirit “Uncreated Grace.” Culture and even religion often teach us to live out of our false self of reputation, self-image, role, possessions, money, appearance, and so on. Only as this fails us, and it always eventually does, will the Holy Spirit within us stand revealed and ready to guide us.  

From this more spacious and grounded place, one naturally connects, empathizes, forgives, and loves just about everything. We were made in love, for love, and unto love. This deep inner “yes” is God in us, already loving God through us. [4] 


[1] Adapted from Richard Rohr, Essential Teachings on Love, selected by Joelle Chase and Judy Traeger (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2018), 185. 

[2] Rohr, Essential Teachings, 190. 

[3] Leonardo Boff, Come Holy Spirit: Inner Fire, Giver of Life, and Comforter of the Poor, trans. Margaret Wilde (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2015), 41, 42. 

[4] Rohr, Essential Teachings, 190, 191. 

Image credit: A path from one week to the next—Exercise in Grief and Lamentation credits from left to right: Jenna Keiper, Jenna Keiper, Izzy Spitz. 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:  

Early during the [pandemic] lockdown in the UK, I was prompted by the Daily Meditations to begin a daily practice of contemplation. I was a little surprised at myself—after all I had not attended church for 60 plus years! It felt as if our wondrous Holy Spirit was saying: “Go on, you’ll be ready to go deeper this time around.” My renewing faith, hope, and love is a daily delight—one which I cannot now imaging giving up, ever. I am so grateful to the CAC. Thank you. —Vince R. 

Navigate by Date

This year’s theme

A candle being lit

Radical Resilience

We live in a world on fire. This year the Daily Meditations will explore contemplation as a way to build Radical Resilience so we can stand in solidarity with the world without burning up or burning out. The path ahead may be challenging, but we can walk it together.

The archives

Explore the Daily Meditations

Explore past meditations and annual themes by browsing the Daily Meditations archive. Explore by topic or use the search bar to find wisdom from specific teachers.

Join our email community

Sign-up to receive the Daily Meditations, featuring reflections on the wisdom and practices of the Christian contemplative tradition.

Hidden Fields

Find out about upcoming courses, registration dates, and new online courses.
Our theme this year is Radical Resilience. How do we tend our inner flame so we can stand in solidarity with the world without burning up or out? Meditations are emailed every day of the week, including the Weekly Summary on Saturday. Each week builds on previous topics, but you can join at any time.
In a world of fault lines and fractures, how do we expand our sense of self to include love, healing, and forgiveness—not just for ourselves or those like us, but for all? This monthly email features wisdom and stories from the emerging Christian contemplative movement. Join spiritual seekers from around the world and discover your place in the Great Story Line connecting us all in the One Great Life. Conspirare. Breathe with us.