This week we will share the Eight Core Principles that are the foundation of the CAC’s work. The First Core Principle: The teaching of Jesus is our central reference point. Father Richard Rohr writes:
Without the assurance of Jesus’ teaching and example, I would not have the courage or confidence to say what I have said throughout my years of teaching. How can I trust that values like nonviolence, the path of descent, simplicity of life, forgiveness and healing, preference for the poor, and radical grace itself are as important as they are, unless Jesus also said so?
Jesus consistently stands with the excluded, the outsider, the sinner, and the poor. That is his place of freedom, his unique way of critiquing self-serving cultures, and his way of being in union with the suffering of the world—all at the same time. That is his form of universal healing. It also puts him outside any establishment thinking.
It is rather obvious that Jesus spends most of his ministry alongside the marginalized and people at the bottom of society’s hierarchies. His primary social program and main form of justice work is solidarity with suffering itself, wherever it is. Jesus stands with the demonized until the demonizing stops. This is the core meaning of his crucifixion, and why the cross is our unique agent for salvation and liberation (see 1 Corinthians 1:17–18).
Jesus’ agenda has led us at the CAC to our central emphasis on contemplation and spiritual conversion. Our work is the work of human and divine transformation. The experience of universal kinship and solidarity with God, ourselves, and the rest of the world is a grounded runway for significant peacemaking, justice work, social reform, and civil and human rights. Such work flows from a positive place, even a unitive place, where “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). We want people to bear much fruit in the world “and fruit that will endure” (John 15:5, 16).
True spiritual action (as opposed to reaction) demands our own ongoing and radical transformation. It often requires us to change sides so we can be where pain is. It even requires a new identity, as Jesus exemplified in his great self-emptying (see Philippians 2:6–8). Instead of accusing others of sin, Jesus “became sin” (2 Corinthians 5:21). He stood in solidarity with the problem itself, hardly ever with specific “answers” for peoples’ problems. His solidarity and compassion were themselves the healing. This was his strategy and therefore it is ours. It feels like weakness, but it finally changes things in very creative, patient, and humble ways. Such solidarity is learned and expressed in two special places—contemplation (nondual or unitive consciousness) and specific actions of communion with human suffering.
This is our formal name and our task, and both come from watching Jesus.
Adapted from Richard Rohr, “Standing with Jesus,” Radical Grace 25, no. 4, The Eight Core Principles (Fall 2012): 9–12.
Explore Further. . .
- Read Richard on Jesus’ social program.
- Learn more about this year’s theme Nothing Stands Alone.
- Meet the team behind the Daily Meditations.
Image credit: Claudia Retter, The Villa Stairwell (detail), used with permission. Claudia Retter, Via Galuzza (detail), photograph, used with permission. Arthur Allen, Untitled 1 (detail), 2022, photograph, France, used with permission. Jenna Keiper & Leslye Colvin, 2022, triptych art, United States. Click here to enlarge image.
This week’s images by Claudia Retter and Arthur Allen appear in a form inspired by early Christian/Catholic triptych art: a threefold form that tells a unified story.
Image inspiration: Stairs and buildings provide structure for our movement and safety. The CAC’s eight core principles guide us in exploring the context and substance of our lived experiences.
Story from Our Community:
When I started dating again after 5 years, I thought it would be impossible to find someone who had similar spiritual points of view. The Universe stepped in to prove me wrong. Within a few months, my wife and I went on our first date, and during our wonderful conversation, she mentioned that she read the Daily Meditations from the CAC. She shared that day’s meditation with me, which was coincidentally on the topic of Love. I remembered thinking, “I love this heart-driven attention to a spiritual way of living and thinking. I want to explore more about this and the wonderful woman sitting next to me…” We were married a year later. We continue to read the Daily Meditations every day. They enrich our relationship to God and to each other. What a difference the CAC has made in our lives! —Kim M.
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.