Skip to main content
Center for Action and Contemplation

Mysticism: Week 2 Summary

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Mysticism: Week 2

Summary: Sunday, October 1-Friday, October 6, 2017

“[The mystics help us] to learn the curriculum of a truly spiritual life . . . grounded in love, mercy, tenderness, compassion, forgiveness, hope, trust, simplicity, silence, peace, and joy. To embody union with God is to discover these beautiful characteristics emerging from within and slowly transfiguring us to remake us in the very image and likeness of God.” —Carl McColman (Sunday)

Radical union is the recurring experience of the saints and mystics of all religions. (Monday)

We know God by participation in God, not by trying to please God from afar. (Tuesday)

“It is only through love that we can render ourselves pleasing to the good Lord; love is the one thing I long for. The science of love is the only science I desire.” —Thérèse of Lisieux (Wednesday)

“The contemplative work of inner conversion, inner disarmament, and inner peacemaking as the key to peace for the world held Merton’s interest throughout his life.” —John Dear (Thursday)

“There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun. . . . If only they could all see themselves as they really are. If only we could see each other that way all the time.” —Thomas Merton (Friday)


Practice: Open to Love

Picture someone or a situation you feel resistance or bitterness toward. What do you feel in your body? Where do you hold the pain or tension? With gentle awareness, send loving kindness toward this part of your body. Observe your muscles relaxing and your breath coming more freely.

If you have a hard time finding the sensation in your body, clench your fists and draw your arms toward your chest. Hold this posture for a few moments; then release your arms and lay your open hands, palm up, on your thighs.

As you read aloud this prayer from Thomas Merton, allow your heart to continue to soften and let love flow through you toward this person or situation:

Oh God, we are one with You. You have made us one with You. You have taught us that if we are open to one another, You dwell in us. Help us to preserve this openness and to fight for it with all our hearts. Help us to realize that there can be no understanding where there is mutual rejection. Oh God, in accepting one another wholeheartedly, fully, completely, we accept You, and we thank You, and we adore You, and we love You with our whole being, because our being is in Your being, our spirit is rooted in Your spirit. Fill us then with love, and let us be bound together with love as we go our diverse ways, united in this one spirit which makes You present in the world, and which makes You witness to the ultimate reality that is love. Love has overcome. Love is victorious. Amen. [1]

Gateway to Silence:
We are all one with You.

[1] Thomas Merton, The Asian Journal of Thomas Merton, eds. Naomi Burton, Patrick Hart, and James Laughlin (New Directions: 1975); 318-319. Merton offered this prayer at a spiritual summit in Calcutta, just after admitting “I have no idea what I am going to say.”

For Further Study:
Richard Rohr, Cynthia Bourgeault, and James Finley, Following the Mystics Through the Narrow Gate: Seeing God in All Things (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2010), CD, DVD, MP3 download

Richard Rohr and James Finley, Jesus and Buddha: Paths to Awakening (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2008), CD, DVD, MP3 download
“Perfection,” Oneing, Vol. 4, No. 1 (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2016)

Image credit: 4th and Walnut Streets, Louisville, Kentucky, looking south, 1956.
Navigate by Date

This year’s theme

A candle being lit

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.

The archives

Explore the Daily Meditations

Explore past meditations and annual themes by browsing the Daily Meditations archive. Explore by topic or use the search bar to find wisdom from specific teachers.

Join our email community

Sign-up to receive the Daily Meditations, featuring reflections on the wisdom and practices of the Christian contemplative tradition.

Hidden Fields

Find out about upcoming courses, registration dates, and new online courses.
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.