Participation: Week 2
Summary: Sunday, April 10-Friday, April 15, 2016
God refuses to be known intellectually. God can only be loved and known in the act of love; God can only be experienced in communion. (Sunday)
Jesus offered the world full and final participation in his own very holistic teaching. Jesus spoke of true union at all levels: with oneself, with the neighbor, with the outsider, with the enemy, with nature, and—through all of these—with the Divine. (Monday)
The good news of an incarnational religion, a Spirit-based morality, is that you are not motivated by any outside reward or punishment but actually by participating in the Mystery itself. (Tuesday)
In this time of Second Axial Consciousness, we can now make use of the unique contribution of every era to enjoy intuitive and body knowledge, along with rational critique and deeper synthesis, thus encouraging both intelligent and heartfelt participation “with our whole heart, soul, mind, and strength,” as Jesus puts it (Mark 12:30). (Wednesday)
We are called to participate in the very nature of God, which is Love. (Thursday)
We first came to understand the possibility of “Full and Final Participation” through Jesus, who clearly believed that God was not so much inviting us into a distant heaven, but inviting us into the Godself as friends and co-participants now. (Friday)
Practice: Concrete Participation
As we turn toward participation we now can see that most of religious and church history has been largely preoccupied with religious ideas, about which you could be wrong or right. When faith is all about ideas, you do not have to be part of it; you just need to talk correctly about it. You never have to dive in and illustrate that spiritual proof is only in the pudding.
The spiritual question is this: Does one’s life give any evidence of an encounter with God? Does this encounter bring about in you any of the things that Paul describes as the “fruits” of the spirit: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22)? Are you different from your surroundings, or do you reflect the predictable cultural values and biases of your group?
The “participatory turn” is learning from concrete practices, personal disciplines, and interactive dialogues that change the seer and allow and encourage the encounter itself. Many Christians today are rediscovering prayer beads, prayer of quiet, icons, contemplative sits, Taizé chants, charismatic prayer, walking meditation, Zen chores, extended silence, solitude, and disciplined spiritual direction. Up to now, you could have a doctorate in theology as a Catholic or Protestant and not really know how to pray or even enjoy prayer (experienced union), although you could recommend it officially to others and maybe even define it. Now we know that we must personally live our faith.
I hope you will dive into your faith and experiment with ways of opening yourself to transformation, to encounter, to conscious participation in God.
Gateway to Silence:
Spirit of Love in me, love through me.
Adapted from Richard Rohr, Immortal Diamond: The Search for Our True Self (Jossey-Bass: 2013), 108-109, 111.
For Further Study:
Richard Rohr, Great Themes of Paul: Life as Participation (CD)
Richard Rohr, Immortal Diamond: The Search for Our True Self