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Center for Action and Contemplation
Sacred Space
Sacred Space

Sacred Space Weekly Summary and Contemplative Practice

Saturday, September 30, 2023

We don’t need to name ourselves as prophets, or for anyone else to call us prophets, but we can operate prophetically now and then. We can be radically committed to the big picture, the great tradition, while being free to critique it. —Richard Rohr

The mind apprehends the whole. The individual in the experience seems to come into possession of what he has known as being true all along. The thing that is new is the realization. And this is of profound importance. —Howard Thurman

We have to allow ourselves to be drawn into sacred space, into liminality. All transformation takes place here. There alone is our old world left behind, though we’re not yet sure of the new existence. That’s a good space where genuine newness can begin. —Richard Rohr

When everything around you is beyond your control and you shatter, you find within yourself a space of solitude, peace, and refuge that allows you to begin to gather yourself again. —Barbara A. Holmes

Whenever we’re led out of normalcy into sacred, open space, it’s going to feel like suffering, because it’s letting go of what we’re used to. This is always painful, but part of us has to die if we are ever to grow larger (John 12:24). If we’re not willing to let go and die to our small self, we won’t enter into any new or sacred space. —Richard Rohr

Some sacred spaces bear none of the expected characteristics. The fact that we prefer stained glass windows, pomp and circumstance has nothing to do with the sacred. It may seem as if the mysteries of divine-human reunion erupt in our lives when, in fact, it was always there. —Barbara A. Holmes

Sleeping in Sacred Space

Cherokee descendent and theologian Randy Woodley describes the sacred power of giving oneself over to nature in the vulnerability of sleep:

Sleeping in the bosom of nature is not the same as sleeping in the safety of one’s own home. Not at all. As you lay your body down to become one with the Earth, reality shifts. In that state, you can sense that God, Creator, is listening to the intentions of your heart. Whatever the mysterious power is behind creation, it softens one’s mind. Great Mystery unscrews the tight lids of the jars of certainty that you hold too tightly, too fiercely. You realize, sometimes even trembling, that something greater than yourself is meeting you.

There, in the restful unknown world between sleep and wakefulness, you give yourself to those elements, to Spirit, in the kind of vulnerability a newborn to the world must experience.

As I dozed off into the realm of sacred beauty next to that stream, I listened to how the water responded to each rock, to every branch protruding from the creek bank, and to the swirl of every curve as it meandered past me and into some other creature’s nap. With each contact, the water had a particular note and registry of sound.

Over the rocks, around the curve, and down the path of its sacred water journey. Sacred sleep. Sacred water. Sacred life.


Randy Woodley, Becoming Rooted: One Hundred Days of Reconnecting with Sacred Earth (Minneapolis, MN: Broadleaf Books, 2022), 16.

Image credit: A path from one week to the next—Taylor Wilson, Madonna and Messiah (detail), ink, used with permission. Alma Thomas, The Eclipse (detail), 1970, acrylic on canvas, Smithsonian. Alma Thomas, Snow Reflections on Pond (detail), 1973, acrylic on canvas, Smithsonian. Click here to enlarge image.

Creation is sacred space; the multi-colored spot of paint on canvas echoes the light through a stained-glass window.

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