Skip to main content
Center for Action and Contemplation
Everyday Mysticism
Everyday Mysticism

Ordinary Lives Transformed

Friday, March 22, 2024

Father Richard writes about encountering the Risen Christ in our ordinariness and woundedness.  

I’ve noticed in the Gospels that even after two appearances of the Risen Christ, the apostles return to their old job of fishing (John 21:3). They don’t join the priesthood, try to get a job at the Temple, go on more retreats, take vows, leave their wives, or get special titles. Nor is there any mention of them baptizing each other or wearing special clothing beyond that of a wayfarer or “workman” (Matthew 10:9–10). When the inner is utterly transformed, we don’t need symbolic outer validations, special hats, or flashy insignia.  

We can also note that the Risen Christ is never apparent as a supernatural figure, but is mistaken in one case for a gardener, another time for a fellow traveler on the road, and then for a fisherman offering advice. He seems to look just like everybody else after the Resurrection (John 20:15; Luke 24:13–35; John 21:4–6), even with his wounds on full display! In the Gospels it appears we can all go back to “fishing” after any authentic God encounter, consciously carrying our humiliating wounds, only now more humbly. That is our only badge of honor. In fact, it is exactly our woundedness that gives us any interest in healing itself, and the very power to heal others. As Henri Nouwen rightly said, the only authentic healers are always wounded healers. Good therapists will often say the same.   

True mysticism just allows us to “fish” from a different side of the boat and with different expectations of what success might mean. All the while, we are totally assured that we are already and always floating on a big, deep, life-filled pond. The mystical heart knows there is a fellow Fisherman nearby who is always available for good advice. He stands and beckons from the shores, at the edges of every ordinary life, every unreligious moment, every “secular” occupation, and he is still talking to working people who, like the first disciples, are not important, influential, especially “holy,” trained in theology, or even educated. This is the mystical doorway, which is not narrow but wide and welcoming. [1]  

Matthew Fox affirms mystical experience as a gift: 

Deep down, each one of us is a mystic. When we tap into that energy we become alive again and we give birth. From the creativity that we release is born the prophetic vision and work that we all aspire to realize as our gift to the world. We want to serve in whatever capacity we can. Getting in touch with the mystic inside is the beginning of our deep service….  

Mysticism is about the awe and the gratitude, the letting go and the letting be, the birthing and the creativity, and the compassion—including healing and celebration and justice making—that our world so sorely needs…. Every mystic is a healer. We are healers all. [2] 

[1] Adapted from Richard Rohr, Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi (Cincinnati, OH: Franciscan Media, 2014), 16–17.

[2] Matthew Fox, introduction to Christian Mystics: 365 Readings and Meditations (Novato, CA: New World Library, 2011), 3, 5. 

Image credit: Benjamin Yazza, Untitled (detail), New Mexico, 2023, photograph, used with permission. Click here to enlarge image. During the course of every day, mystical moments are available to us, like sharing a moment with a grasshopper. 

Story from Our Community:  

As a recovering evangelical, I continue to search for a richer, more encompassing faith. CAC Daily Meditations have been instrumental in my spiritual journey. I truly appreciate their ecumenical nature and the variety of narratives and experiences, including both ancient and contemporary voices. I often struggle with the content and the mystical orientation, but I find it to be a healthy and enriching exercise. I was never exposed to visionaries when I was locked in the evangelical mindset. Now, I’m growing again and often share the meditations with my family and friends.  
—Christopher S. 

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.