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Center for Action and Contemplation
Just This
Just This

Every Moment Shouts “I Am Here!”

Friday, July 28, 2023

I say, “I am here, I am here” to people who do not even invoke my name. —Isaiah 65:1  

Richard affirms each moment as an opportunity to see things as they are and receive the gift of divine presence.  

The real gift of contemplative practice is to be happy and content, even while we are just sitting on the porch, looking at a rock; or when we are doing the “nothingness” of prayer or benevolently gazing at anything in its ordinariness; or when we can see, accept, and say that every single act of creation is “just this” and thus allow it to work its wonder on us.  

So go learn, enjoy, and rest in inner contentment and positivity—a full reservoir of fresh water, both before success and after failure. Then we have the treasure that no one can take from us or give to us. We will be ready to be captured by many moments of awe—and we will be capable of the surrender that brings both foundational union and joy.  

Remember, the whole process most often begins by one, long, relished moment of awe, one fully sincere moment of seeing and saying, “Just this!” And, as Isaiah promised, we will know that every moment is shouting, “I am here! I am here!” [1] 

Spiritual teacher Paula D’Arcy spent an extended time in contemplative observation of nature. She writes:  

I rest and notice the trees rising out of the water. I look into the water and see how the trees have bonded with the algae and plant life. Aren’t I out here to learn how to bond to God? Nature bonds, but it does not cling….  

I look at the river. If I were to cling to it, I’d have to pick it up in a bucket and take some of it with me. I’d separate it from itself. If I were to cling to a tree, I’d have to break a part of it off, or uproot it. If I were to cling to a rock, I’d have to remove it from its home. This is worse: if I were to cling to the red bird, I’d have to cage him.  

Maybe when I cling to people, I dim them, too. I separate them from their own inner roots. I help them to believe that they are dependent on me, or that the hunger in their bellies is a cry for me. I convince us both. And then we never hear the cry of hunger which is for God. Until this moment I have not understood that. I am hungry for God…. Now as I am eating and drinking (taking in) God’s creation, I feel satisfied. I am letting myself live in its beauty without needing to own it or control it or secure it for tomorrow. I am seeing it as it is … really seeing it. And that is enough, to really see. I am present to this moment. That brings joy. [2]  


[1] Adapted from Richard Rohr, Just This (Albuquerque, NM: CAC Publishing, 2017), 24, 25. 

[2] Paula D’Arcy, Gift of the Red Bird: A Spiritual Encounter (New York: Crossroad Publishing, 1996), 93, 107–108. 

Image credit: A path from one week to the next—Izzy Spitz, Wings (detail), digital oil pastel. Izzy Spitz, Tuesday Chemistry (detail), digital oil pastel. Izzy Spitz, Field Study 1 (detail), oil pastel. Used with permission. Click here to enlarge image

In the midst of color and movement we focus and are present to one point in a sacred sphere. 

Story from Our Community:  

When I walk in nature I do my best to appreciate the beauty that surrounds me. Just simply being present enough to see that my cadence is in rhythm with my breathing and that I am aware of how my feet are touching the ground.… I need to let go of the distractions of my busy brain and open my ears to hear the subtle sounds of the forest. The rustle of the leaves, the moans and hums from the trees, the songs of the birds and echoes from the calls of other wildlife. I make attempts to feel life in the moments that I walk. Wind on my face, sunlight on my skin, cold, warmth, moisture in the air, they all bring life in abundance. With that life is a certain smell. One that is unique to the day and the specific set of qualities that are making up the moments. It leaves a tangible taste in the air that can only be experienced by being present in the moment. —Terry L.  

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