Over thirty-five years ago, when we named our organization the Center for Action and Contemplation, I was just being a good Franciscan. —Richard Rohr
The early Franciscan friars and Poor Clares wanted to be Gospel practitioners instead of merely “inspectors” or “museum curators” as Pope Francis calls some clergy. —Richard Rohr
Does the Body of Christ move us to contemplate God in creation? If so, then how can we say “Amen” to receiving the Body of Christ and perpetrate destruction of the environment? —Ilia Delio, Keith Douglas Warner, Pamela Wood
God calls us to mystical activism, a deep-rooted spirituality inspired by our encounters with God and commitment to our spiritual practices, to bring beauty and healing to the world. —Bruce Epperly
Simple living is about freedom. It’s about a freedom to choose space rather than clutter, to choose open and generous living rather than a secure and sheltered way. —José Hobday
As you announce peace with your mouth, make sure that greater peace is in your hearts. —Francis of Assisi
Images of God
Thea Bowman (1937–1990) was a Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration. Her advocacy and commitment to intercultural awareness impacted many, including Father Richard, who shared the following: “I am drawn to Sr. Thea since my own mother would listen to her talks, especially when she knew she was dying, and she found out that Thea listened to mine!” Here Sister Thea offers images of God from the Scriptures and her people to deepen our prayer:
I was reared in the traditional Black community—in song and prayer and conversation and story. My people graced me with multiple images of the living God.
God is bread when you’re hungry, water when you’re thirsty, a harbor from the storm. God’s a father to the fatherless, a mother to the motherless. God’s my sister, my brother, my leader, my guide, my teacher, my comforter, my friend. God’s the way-maker and burden-bearer, a heart-fixer and a mind-regulator. God’s my doctor who never lost a patient, my lawyer who never lost a case, my chaplain who never lost a battle. God’s my all in all, my everything.
God’s my rock, my sword, my shield, my lily of the valley, my pearl of great price. . . Counselor, Emmanuel, redeemer, savior, Prince of Peace, Son of God, Mary’s little baby, wonderful Word of God. These images come from Scripture and from the meditations of Christians. Some people see them as contradictory, but Christians see them as inadequate—all of them. But all these images are available to me. . . . Each one corresponds to a particular need. All these images help me as I call upon God’s name.
P. J. Tuohy, “Sister Thea Bowman: On the Road to Glory,” U.S. Catholic 55, no. 6 (June 1990): 20–26.
Explore Further. . .
- Read Sister Thea Bowman on Black Sacred Song.
- Learn more about this year’s theme Nothing Stands Alone.
- Meet the team behind the Daily Meditations.
Image credit: Carrie Grace Littauer, Daily Meditation 2022 Series (detail), 2022, photographs, Colorado. Jenna Keiper, 2022, triptych art, United States. Click here to enlarge the image.
This year we invited a few photographers, including Carrie, to share their vision with us in an artistic exploration for the Daily Meditations. The inspiration questions we asked each artist to create from were: How do you as an artist connect to and engage with (S)spirit and/or tradition(s)? How can we translate deeper truths through a lens? and How can we show our inherent connectedness (of humans, nature, other creatures, etc.) through imagery? This week’s images by Carrie Grace Littauer appear in a form inspired by early Christian/Catholic triptych art: a threefold form that tells a unified story.
Image inspiration: What intersects most with my contemplative practice – [is] to venture into my backyard for contemplative walks and photography of what I find there. I’m often stunned. Finding the beauty in the every day and right under my nose seems like the greatest spiritual invitation. —Carrie Grace Littauer
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.