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Center for Action and Contemplation
Tending the Fire Within
Tending the Fire Within

Tending the Fire Within: Weekly Summary

Saturday, April 13, 2024

From time to time the divine grants itself with this kind of fire, a quiet luminosity that has great depth and intimacy to it. 
—James Finley 

We have to create a contemplative culture in our heart. We must vow to ourselves: I will not play the cynic. I will not break faith with my awakened heart. 
—James Finley 

After a week of the body toiling away in inane work and the spirit being assaulted with insult and loss, Sunday was set aside to recultivate the soul’s appreciation for beauty, truth, love, and eternity.  
—Renita J. Weems 

We’ve come to understand the importance of practice in sports, in most therapies, in any successful business, and in creative endeavors, but for some reason most of us do not see the need for it in the world of spirituality. Yet it’s probably more important there than in any other area. 
—Richard Rohr 

Whenever we seek to understand how we can best live our lives with meaning and purpose, through prayer, meditation, or other practice of spiritual discernment, we’re engaging with our spirituality as a radical resilience skill.  
—Alice Updike Scannell 

True encounter with Christ liberates something in us, a power we did not know we had, a hope, a capacity for life, a resilience, encounter an ability to bounce back when we thought we were completely defeated, a capacity to grow and change, a power of creative transformation.  
—Thomas Merton 

Week Fifteen Practice 

Experiencing Love 

Author Felicia Murrell invites us to practice knowing and experiencing God’s love: 

God is in our midst, a God who exults over us with joy, who quiets us in love, who rejoices over us with shouts of joy and gathers those who grieve (see Zephaniah 3:17–18).  

But how do we get to the place where this is the God we see, the God we encounter and know, the God who frames our imaginings when we think of God?  

Stillness, perhaps. Contemplative prayer, maybe.  

For me, Divine Love is unveiled through communion, connection, and acts of living that create openhearted wonder.  

Consistent engagement with spiritual practices often invites us into such spaciousness, creating access points for us to become more consciously aware of Divine Love’s kenotic expression in us and through us.  

To that end, all spiritual practices have this purpose—to allow us to touch the depths of our inner selves and to live a generous life of participation with Divine Love in absolute openheartedness; to move from what we know in our heads about God to living and moving and having our being in God; to be present in this life, to the world around us, and to Divine Love.  

What is true about God? God is Love (1 John 4:16).  

The experience of Love loving us allows us to feel and then to see. As Love invades our numbed-out parts, awakening us from cloudy misperception to Truth, we are invited to heal and to believe what Love believes about us, to trust in the benevolence and kind intentions of Love. Trust flourishes in the soil of Love. And there, our God image transforms.  

We don’t just decide to see God as loving; Love is who God is. To encounter Divine Love is to encounter our deepest self.  

Felicia Murrell, And: The Restorative Power of Love in an Either/Or World (New Kensington, PA: Whitaker House, 2024), 190–191. 

Image credit: Jenna Keiper, Untitled (detail), Washington, 2020, photo, used with permission. Click here to enlarge image. Within our deep and tender inside spaces there is a bright light to tend and care for.

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We live in a world on fire. This year the Daily Meditations will explore contemplation as a way to build Radical Resilience so we can stand in solidarity with the world without burning up or burning out. The path ahead may be challenging, but we can walk it together.

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