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Center for Action and Contemplation
One Reality
One Reality

Reconsecrating Our Lives 

Friday, June 16, 2023

There are no unsacred places; / there are only sacred places / and desecrated places. 

—Wendell Berry, “How to Be a Poet (to remind myself)”  

CAC teacher Brian McLaren reminds us that our work and collaboration honors the One Reality that makes up our lives:  

It’s not that religion is holy and the secular is profane. It’s that both religion and the secular can be holy, and both can be desecrated. Ultimately, the religious and the secular are not two things, but one: life.  

Our work is to stop the desecration of life in both its religious and secular dimensions … and to restore both the religious and secular to a creative dynamism that deserves and inspires appropriate reverence. Because business can be truly holy work; in fact, some of the most important spiritual breakthroughs in the world today are happening through people in the world of business. Politics and governance can be holy work; in fact, some of the greatest saints and prophets today are brave activists and political leaders. 

Entertainment and education can be holy work; in fact, artists, entertainers, teachers, and scholars are filling the spiritual void left by religious leaders who have painted themselves into any number of theological corners. Science and tech can be holy work; in fact, surprising numbers of researchers and inventors are driven by curiosity and love so powerful they invite the adjective divine. Yes, even religion can be holy work, though so often it has disappointed us. Every dimension and vocation of life can be holy, even though they often are not….  

Those of us who stay Christian must start this truly urgent but also un-rushable work in our own household. What we don’t redeem, what we don’t acknowledge and learn from, will haunt us until we do…. We can join with our counterparts in other traditions—including secular traditions and institutions—to become collaborators in a civilization-wide spring cleaning, preparing our species for the new beginning we all need if we are to survive on this beautiful, fragile planet. If we don’t learn to re-consecrate everything as holy and spiritual, we will desecrate everything. [1] 

Father Richard writes:  

In mature religion, the secular becomes sacred. There are no longer two worlds. We don’t have to leave the secular world to find sacred space because they’ve come together. That was the significance of the temple veil rending when Jesus died. The temple divided reality into the holy world inside and the unholy world outside. That’s why Jesus said the temple had to fall. “Not a stone shall stand on a stone” (Mark 13:1–2). Our word “profane” comes from the Latin pro and fanum, meaning “outside the temple.”  

Jesuit theologian Teilhard de Chardin wrote, “By virtue of the Creation and, still more, of the Incarnation, nothing here below is profane for those who know how to see.” [2] There is only one world, and it’s the supernatural one. There is no “natural” world where God is not. It is all supernatural. [3] 


[1] Brian D. McLaren, Do I Stay Christian? A Guide for the Doubters, the Disappointed, and the Disillusioned (New York: St. Martin’s Essentials, 2022), 197–198, 199. 

[2] Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, The Divine Milieu: An Essay on the Interior Life (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1960), 35.  

[3] Adapted from Richard Rohr, Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer, rev. ed.(New York: Crossroad, 1999, 2003), 159.  

Image credit: A path from one week to the next— Izzy Spitz, Untitled. CAC Staff, Untitled. Izzy Spitz, Untitled. Watercolor. Used with permission. Click here to enlarge image

Our divinely-given identities and experiences color our horizons like a sunrise. 

Story from Our Community:  

Five years ago, my wife (my life’s center) died. Shortly after her death, my daughter suggested the CAC Daily Meditations to help me cope with what she could see was intense loneliness. The Daily Meditations have helped me tap into the Love all around me and acknowledge the Love that was given freely to me throughout my life. I don’t know the nature of God. I don’t believe anyone does. But what I know now is that God exists just as surely as Love and compassion exist. I remain lonely for my wife, but I have developed an appreciation for what I have had with her. I’m grateful for the unknown bliss I will experience when I am joined as one with her, God, and all creation. —Mick H. 

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