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Center for Action and Contemplation

Relationships: Weekly Summary

Saturday, May 5, 2018


Summary: Sunday, April 29-Friday, May 4, 2018

The basic template of reality is Trinitarian, it’s relational. God is relationship. “Let us create in our own image, in the likeness of ourselves,” the Creator says (see Genesis 1:26). (Sunday)

Whenever we refuse mutuality toward anything, whenever we won’t allow our deep inner-connectedness to guide us, whenever we’re not attuned to both receiving and giving, you could say that the Holy Spirit is existentially (but not essentially) absent from our lives. (Monday)

If we are to be a continuation of God’s way of seeing, we must first of all be mirrors. We must be no-thing so that we can receive some-thing. To love demands a complete transformation of consciousness. (Tuesday)

Everything that is tough and brittle shatters; everything that is cynical rots. The only way to endure is to forgive, over and over, to give back that openness and possibility for new beginning which is the very essence of love itself. —Cynthia Bourgeault (Wednesday)

God and evolution are inviting us toward a relational wholeness that is a synergy and a life energy higher than either one apart but even larger than both together. (Thursday)

Love is the most powerful force or energy in the universe. That power is multiplied in relationships. Love’s potency is released most powerfully among people who have formed a relationship (a union). —Louis Savary and Patricia Berne (Friday)


Practice: Loving Gaze

In the Hindu tradition, darshan (or darsana) is to behold the Divine and to allow yourself to be fully seen. Many Hindus visit temples not to see God, but to let God gaze upon them—and then to join God’s seeing which is always unconditional love and compassion. During your time of contemplative prayer, allow God’s eyes to behold your nothingness and nakedness. Imagine God looking upon God’s Self within you, loving what God sees. If thoughts, emotions, or sensations distract you, return your awareness and attention to receiving God’s gaze.

When your practice has ended, commit to seeing God’s presence in someone or some creature this day. If appropriate, you might greet them by placing your palms together at your chest, bowing, and speaking “Namaste.” (Namaste is a familiar Indian, Hindi greeting which means “I bow to the divine in you.”) Or you might say, “The Christ in me sees the Christ in you.” If it is uncomfortable to speak these words aloud, carry them in your heart. Bring this loving gaze and an inner stance of humility and recognition to all you encounter.

If you’d like to share the experience of giving and receiving a loving gaze with a close friend, partner, or family member, you might invite them to spend a few minutes looking into your eyes. Sit facing each other and begin by lighting a candle, ringing a bell, or bowing. Take a couple moments with eyes closed to connect with your breathing and find your own inner source of Love. When you are ready, open your eyes and simply look at the face of the person across from you.

Give and receive this gaze in silence, being present to the other and to the presence of Love within and without. Let your eyes, face, and body be soft and relaxed while alert. Breathe. If your attention wanders, bring your awareness back to your partner’s eyes and to the Love flowing between you.

When five to ten minutes have passed, signal the close of the practice in the same way you began—blowing out the candle, ringing the bell, or bowing. Share a few words, an embrace, or an expression of gratitude.


For Further Study:
Cynthia Bourgeault, Love Is Stronger than Death: The Mystical Union of Two Souls (Monkfish Book Publishing: 2014, 2007, 1999, 1997)

Richard Rohr, Essential Teachings on Love (Orbis Books: 2018)

Richard Rohr, God As Us: The Sacred Feminine and the Sacred Masculine, disc 2 (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2011), DVD, CD, MP3 download.

Richard Rohr and James Finley, Intimacy: The Divine Ambush (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2013), CD, MP3 download

Richard Rohr, The Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation (Whitaker House: 2016)

Louis Savary and Patricia Berne, Teilhard de Chardin on Love: Evolving Human Relationships (Paulist Press: 2017)

Inspiration for this week’s banner image: Love is the most powerful force or energy in the universe. That power is multiplied in relationships. Love’s potency is released most powerfully among people who have formed a relationship. —Louis Savary and Patricia Berne
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