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Center for Action and Contemplation

Relationship

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Contemplation: Week 1

Relationship
Tuesday, December 11, 2018

The contemplative potential . . . is the capacity to gradually unfold into intimacy with God. God is relationship: a relationship that has no end and unlimited possibilities. —Thomas Keating [1]

Christian contemplation is never simply meditation on something but is necessarily the deepening of relationship with Someone. —Vincent Pizzuto [2]

God is Being itself, but also a Being that is more me than I am myself. This changes everything. God has become a Thou, and not just an energy field. And I have become an I, and not just a statistic.

The spiritual path is relationship itself, not just practice, discipline, or holy posture. Authentic contemplation of the Other, through all the necessary stages of personal relationship, calls us beyond our tiny and false selves and into The Ultimate Self.

We become the One we gaze upon. “The eye with which I see God is the same eye with which God sees me: my eye and God’s eye are one eye, one seeing, one knowing, and one love,” as Meister Eckhart says. [3] This reciprocal gaze is the True Self, perfectly given and always waiting to be perfectly received. It is so dear and so precious that it needs no external payoffs whatsoever. The True Self is abundantly content.

Contemporary theologian Beverly Lanzetta writes:

In nondual contemplation, the person’s being radiates the nirvanic, liberating state we think of as enlightenment. The soul becomes a source and fount of healing, wisdom, and transformation. Why? Our being and the divine being are consummated in such a way that the entire soul becomes a window into the holy. Contemplation is not something we do. It is a free gift of the spirit; all we can do is surrender and “let go.” Every excursion into openness is a flooding in of the true self, remembering that the Divine is already within, waiting. [4]

References:
[1] Thomas Keating, From the Mind to the Heart (Temple Rock Company: 2017), first page (pages are not numbered).

[2] Vincent Pizzuto, Contemplating Christ: The Gospels and the Interior Life (Liturgical Press: 2018), 56.

[3] Meister Eckhart, Qui Audit Me, sermon on Sirach 24:30. See The Complete Mystical Works of Meister Eckhart, tr. and ed. Maurice O’C. Walshe (The Crossroad Publishing Company: 2009), 298.

[4] Beverly Lanzetta, The Monk Within: Embracing a Sacred Way of Life (Blue Sapphire Books: 2018), 236.

Adapted from Richard Rohr, What the Mystics Know: Seven Pathways to Your Deeper Self (The Crossroad Publishing Company: 2015), 84-85.

Image credit: Brown Wooden Chair, Marcelo Jaboo.
Inspiration for this week’s banner image: Centering Prayer is based on the wisdom saying of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount: “If you want to pray, enter your inner room, close the door and pray to your Father in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” —Thomas Keating
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