Skip to main content
Center for Action and Contemplation
Nothing Stands Alone
Nothing Stands Alone

Nothing Stands Alone: Weekly Summary

Saturday, January 8, 2022

As our 2022 theme puts it: Nothing Stands Alone. And it’s true! We are intrinsically like the Trinity, living in an absolute relatedness. We call this love. —Richard Rohr

Standing before one, accepting God literally allows us to be composed and gathered in one place. We can be in one place; we can be here, now. —Richard Rohr

When we carry our small suffering in solidarity with the one universal longing of all humanity, it helps keep us from self-pity or self-preoccupation. We know that we are all in this together, and it is just as hard for everybody else. —Richard Rohr

The very nature of our lifestyle and our church teaching must say from the beginning what the goal is—the communion of saints, a shared life together as family, the trinitarian life of God, the kingdom—here! —Richard Rohr

Whether it is our parents, our teachers, mentors, friends, churches, or neighbors, people have been pouring into us. We are standing on a foundation. It should come as an incredible relief. Our only job is to build on what we’ve been given. —Kate Bowler

We simply must open our eyes, look across the room, the street, the division, the border—and reach out to that neighbor, offering our hand, our compassion, and our heart.Jacqui Lewis

Gazing with Love on Another

In Monday’s meditation, Father Richard wrote about finding ourselves in relationship with God by receiving God’s loving gaze. Today, we share a practice from contemplative writer and artist Christine Valters Paintner that allows us to pass that loving gaze on to others.

How often do we really see another person as the beautiful gift they are? Perhaps this happens sometimes with those we love, where we are caught in a moment of grace and see them in all their wondrousness and feel full of gratitude for their presence in our lives.

Maybe you have a moment where your eyes meet, and you hold each other’s gaze for a few breaths as an act of seeing each other with love. . . .

We can intentionally bring this gaze of love to others. You can practice this with a beloved one or a very dear and close friend. You might try setting a timer for one minute and just sit together, eyes softly receiving each other while breathing together and praying quietly in your hearts.

Breathe in: I see you with love

Breathe out: gifted, cherished.

Breathe in: Grateful

Breathe out: for who you are.

This can be a very intimate and vulnerable moment because we so rarely spend this kind of time simply looking at another person with love and care.

We can also bring this practice out into the world. How often do we really see another person beneath their role, under our expectations? What if we paused at the grocery store and for a moment brought eyes of love to the stock clerk or the cashier. They don’t have to know what you’re doing. You don’t have to stare, just take in their image, then close your eyes for a moment, breathe, and bathe them with love. Pause and see the other person as beloved and beautiful as they indeed truly are.

Experience a version of this practice through video and sound.

Christine Valters Paintner, Breath Prayer: An Ancient Practice for the Everyday Sacred (Minneapolis: Broadleaf Books, 2021), 165–166.

Explore Further. . .

Image credit: Brian McLaren, Untitled 1-3 (detail), 2021, photograph, United States. Jenna Keiper and Leslye Colvin, 2021, triptych art, United States.

The creative team at CAC sent a single-use camera to Brian McLaren as part of an exploration into contemplative photography. His photos are featured here in a form inspired by early Christian/Catholic triptych art: a threefold form that tells a unified story.

Image Inspiration: In this triptych, we begin by seeing just one fruit. Moving to the center photo, we see the whole tree. When we look at the third photo, we bring with us the knowledge that there is more to this tree, an abundance of fruit. It’s not alone. Nothing stands alone.

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.

Listen to the prayer.

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.