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Center for Action and Contemplation
Discerning What is Ours to Do
Discerning What is Ours to Do

Discerning What is Ours to Do: Weekly Summary

Saturday, August 27, 2022

From my place of prayer, I am able to understand more clearly what is mine to do and have the courage to do it.
—Richard Rohr

The soul or True Self is God’s “I AM” continued in me. That part of me already knows, desires, and truly seeks God. Discernment of God’s will comes naturally to the True Self because here “I” and God seem to be one “I.”
—Richard Rohr

It can only make our journey toward justice more robust, more beautiful, when we offer a diversity of paths, a more expansive vision of action.
—Cole Arthur Riley

If you listen to the Spirit, you will be drawn toward an opportunity to serve. At first, the thought will frighten or repel you. But when you let the Spirit guide you, it will be a source of great joy—one of the richest blessings of your life.
—Brian McLaren

You need to find what is genuinely yours to offer the world before you can make it a better place. Discovering your unique gift to bring to your community is your greatest opportunity and challenge.
—Bill Plotkin

The contemplative life is not, and cannot be, a mere withdrawal, a pure negation, a turning of one’s back on the world with its sufferings, its crises, its confusions and its errors.
—Thomas Merton

Practice GRACE

Buddhist teacher Joan Halifax describes a method of collaborative discernment with, and on behalf of, others. 

GRACE [is] an active contemplative practice. . . . GRACE is a mnemonic that stands for: Gather attention. Recall our intention. Attune to self and then other. Consider what will serve. Engage and end. . . .

Gather Attention: The G in GRACE is a reminder for us to pause and give ourselves time to get grounded. On the inhale, we gather our attention. On the exhale, we drop our attention into the body, sensing into a place of stability in the body. . . .

Recall Intention: The R of GRACE is recalling intention. We recall our commitment to act with integrity and respect the integrity of those whom we encounter. We remember that our intention is to serve others and to open our heart to the world. . . .

Attune to Self and Other: The A of GRACE refers to the process of attunement. . . . In the self-attunement process, we bring attention to our physical sensations, emotions, and thoughts—all of which can shape our attitudes and behavior toward others. . . . From this base of self-attunement, we attune to others, sensing without judgment into their experience . . . [and] engage our capacity for empathy. . . .  

Consider What Will Serve is the C of GRACE. . . . . We ask ourselves, What is the wise and compassionate path here? What is an appropriate response? We are present for the other as we sense into what might serve them, and we let insights arise, noticing what the other might be offering in this moment. . . .

Engage and End: The first phase of the E in GRACE is to ethically engage and act, if appropriate. Compassionate Action emerges from the field we have created of openness, connection, and discernment.

Experience a version of this practice through video and sound.


Joan Halifax, Standing at the Edge: Finding Freedom Where Fear and Courage Meet (New York: Flatiron Books, 2018), 241–242, 243. 

Explore Further. . .

Image credit:

Jenna Keiper, Untitled (detail), 2020, photograph, Bellingham, used with permission. McKenna Phillips, Free Hands (detail), 2018, Unsplash. Jenna Keiper, Untitled (detail), 2020, photograph, Albuquerque, used with permission. Jenna Keiper & Leslye Colvin, 2022, triptych art, United States. Click here to enlarge image.

This week’s images appear in a form inspired by early Christian/Catholic triptych art: a threefold form that tells a unified story. 

Image inspiration: What is next?  We may want to know, right now. We may want this suspended droplet of water to drop, right now, but it will take its own time. It is beyond our control. We are invited to trust the suspension of liminal moments.

Prayer for our community:

God, Lord of all creation, lover of life and of everything, please help us to love in our very small way what You love infinitely and everywhere. We thank You that we can offer just this one prayer and that will be more than enough,  because in reality every thing and every one is connected, and nothing stands alone. To pray for one part is really to pray for the whole, and so we do. Help us each day to stand for love, for healing, for the good, for the diverse unity of the Body of Christ and all creation, because we know this is what You desire: as Jesus prayed, that all may be one. We offer our prayer together with all the holy names of God, we offer our prayer together with Christ, our Lord, Amen.

Listen to the prayer.


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This year’s theme

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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.

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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.