Sermon on the Mount: Week 1 Summary — Center for Action and Contemplation
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Sermon on the Mount: Week 1 Summary

Saturday, February 3rd, 2018

Sermon on the Mount: Week 1

Summary: Sunday, January 28-Friday, February 2, 2018

Jesus was a wisdom teacher, within an ancient tradition called sophia perennis, which is in fact at the headwaters of all the great religious traditions of the world today. —Cynthia Bourgeault (Sunday)

Our supreme purpose in life is not to make a fortune, nor to pursue pleasure, nor to write our name on history, but to discover this spark of the divine that is in our hearts. —Eknath Easwaran (Monday)

The Sermon on the Mount is the very blueprint for Christian lifestyle, and most scholars see it as the best summary of Jesus’ teaching. (Tuesday)

To live simply is to live gently, keeping in mind always the needs of the planet, other creatures, and the generations to come. In doing this we lose nothing, because the interests of the whole naturally include our own. —Eknath Easwaran (Wednesday)

Grief allows one to carry the dark side, to bear the pain of the world without looking for perpetrators or victims, but instead recognizing the tragic reality that both sides are caught up in. (Thursday)

To live a just life in this world is to identify with the longings and hungers of the poor, the meek, and those who weep. (Friday)

 

Practice: Loving Kindness

We all need to practice being kind, particularly to ourselves. Only when we first reconnect with the infinite love—our original and inherent blessing—that is our ground of being can we extend that love to others through nonviolent actions. When we remember that we are love, we can truly wish even our enemies well. The Buddhist practice of metta, loving kindness, is a wonderful way to grow compassion for yourself and for others.

Begin by sitting in silence and finding the place of loving kindness within you. Then speak the following statements aloud:

May I be free from inner and outer harm and danger. May I be safe and protected.
May I be free of mental suffering or distress.
May I be happy.
May I be free of physical pain and suffering.
May I be healthy and strong.
May I be able to live in this world happily, peacefully, joyfully, with ease. 
[1] 

Repeat these affirmations as many times as you wish. When you are ready, replace the “I” in each statement with someone else’s name. You might begin with a beloved, then move in widening circles to send love toward a friend, an acquaintance, someone who has hurt you, and finally the whole universe.

Reference:
[1] The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, http://www.contemplativemind.org/practices/tree/loving-kindness.

For Further Study:
Cynthia Bourgeault, The Wisdom Jesus: Transforming Heart and Mind—a New Perspective on Christ and His Message (Shambhala: 2008)

Eknath Easwaran, Original Goodness: On the Beatitudes of the Sermon on the Mount (Nilgiri Press: 1996)

John Dear, The Beatitudes of Peace: Meditations on the Beatitudes, Peacemaking and the Spiritual Life (Twenty-Third Publications: 2016)

Richard Rohr with John Bookser Feister, Jesus’ Plan for a New World: The Sermon on the Mount (Franciscan Media: 1996)

Richard Rohr, Sermon on the Mount (Franciscan Media: 1991), CD

Image credit: Old Horse in the Wasteland (detail), by Charles Cottet, 1898, Ohara Museum of Art, Kurashiki, Japan.
How blessed (or “happy”) are the poor in spirit; the kingdom of Heaven is theirs. —Matthew 5:3
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