Contemplative activist and Episcopal priest Adam Bucko believes that contemplation is a universal call that prepares us to seek and do justice:
Intimacy with God does not belong to a special group of religious professionals but is and should be available to all. It is our birthright. It is why we were born. It is why we are here, to open ourselves “to the inner mystery of the heart of reality which is the heart of each one of us.”  To open ourselves to that love, to see the world through its eyes, and to live from it with courage and commitment. . . .
All of this has to start with each of us. It has to start with my commitment to a practice of prayer. All of this has to start with my adopting a way of life that can help me grow and nourish my spiritual life, including building community, so that I may become God’s hands and feet and microphone for healing and justice.
Bucko shares several steps for those beginning a path of contemplative action:
- First commit to engaging with the world from a place of prayer, and not ideology; this gives you a felt sense of interconnectedness of all life in God and prevents othering.
- Second, commit to doing the work of coming to terms with your social location and how it relates to systemic racism, poverty, militarism, ecological devastation, and some of the distorted moral narratives that are so prevalent. Are there privileges you need to acknowledge or let go of? Are there commitments you need to reevaluate?
- Third, remember that talking about justice is not the same as doing justice, so simplify your life and commit to ethical living by buying all your necessities in socially responsible, ecologically minded, and human-scale companies. . . .
- Practice works of mercy, making sure that your hands are touching the hands of someone who is suffering, [and] include Mother Earth in that as well.
- Join a social movement, because changing your spending habits or serving others is only part of what is needed. Our lives and relationships do not happen in a vacuum but rather within institutions and systems that have their own crooked logic and are in need of massive changes. . . .
As you move toward a life of personal and political holiness, may your journey be blessed and may your life and presence remind those around you of God’s presence. Deepening your connection to God, in you and around you, do not be afraid to feel the love, the joy, and also the pain that are present. Don’t be afraid to have a heart and to risk breaking your heart. Feel into it all and know that every time you are touching the pain, you are touching the sacred wound of God. God who is always accompanying us and guiding us. God who is suffering with us. . . . God whose life-giving love and justice will one day be “all in all” [1 Corinthians 15:28].
 Bede Griffiths, “Homily on the Feast of St. Benedict,” July 11, 1992.
Adam Bucko, Let Your Heartbreak Be Your Guide: Lessons in Engaged Contemplation (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2022), 125, 128, 131–132.
Explore Further. . .
- Read Cynthia Bourgeault on God’s love that is made manifest in suffering.
- Learn more about this year’s theme Nothing Stands Alone.
- Meet the team behind the Daily Meditations.
Image credit: Nathan Garcia, Untitled (detail), 2019, photograph, Albuquerque. Jenna Keiper & Leslye Colvin, 2022, triptych art, United States. Click here to enlarge image.
Image inspiration: Imagine our world illumined by love and justice.
Story from Our Community:
I am a queer Asian female. These Daily Meditations resonate within my soul – as if its seed were something I had always known – but reading confirms it, lodges it more deeply. The work of CAC is profound indeed for the world, with eternal implications. Shukran, Wassalam! —Anne L.
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.