Skip to main content
Center for Action and Contemplation
The Sign of Jonah
The Sign of Jonah

The Sign of Jonah: Weekly Summary

Saturday, April 8, 2023

Jonah is indeed a symbol of transformation. Jesus had found the Jonah story inspiring, no doubt, because it described almost perfectly what was happening to him.  
—Richard Rohr  

Jonah flees because he knows God is merciful. There is no worse situation than a merciful God when you want to see your enemies get what’s coming to them. Jonah wants to do things his way and ends up in the belly of a sea monster. 
—Barbara Holmes 

Sometimes, it is only in the midst of the “tempest,” in the heart of a storm of circumstances which we can’t control, that we come finally to realise something of the wonderful mystery of God.
—Paul Murray 

Jesus is brought to the lowest place, that place where the all-loving God seems infinitely distant. He enters a universe of utter solitude, meaninglessness, and fragmentation. Like the prophet Jonah, he is overwhelmed by chaos.
—Brother John of Taizé 

Without the sign of Jonah—the pattern of new life only through death (“in the belly of the whale”)—Christianity remains a largely impotent ideology, another way to “win” instead of the pain of faith.
—Richard Rohr  

When you and I embrace Jesus’ essential paradox—that to lose is to gain and to die is to live—we come to God, who gathers up the broken pieces of the world and makes them more complete and beautiful than they were before they broke.
—Rachel M. Srubas 


For Holy Saturday, we share a poem from Methodist minister Jan Richardson, who invites us to wait faithfully at the tomb, in the “belly of the whale,” trusting in the Resurrection: 

Therefore I Will Hope
For Holy Saturday 

“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, 
“therefore I will hope in him.”  
—Lamentations 3:24 

I have no cause  
to linger beside  
this place of death,  

no reason  
to keep vigil  
where life has left,  

and yet I cannot go,  
cannot bring myself  
to cleave myself  
from here,   

can only pray  
that this waiting  
might yet be a blessing  
and this grieving  
yet a blessing  
and this stone  
yet a blessing  
and this silence  
yet a blessing 


“Therefore I Will Hope” © Jan Richardson from Circle of Grace: A Book of Blessings for the Seasons. Used by permission. 


[1] Adapted from Richard Rohr, The Good News According to Luke: Spiritual Reflections (New York: Crossroad,1997), 152. 

[2] Thomas Merton, The Sign of Jonas (San Diego, CA: Harcourt, 1953, 1981), 341. 

Image Credit: A path from one week to the next—Jenna Keiper, North Cascades Sunrise. Jenna Keiper, Photo of a beloved artpiece belonging to Richard Rohr (Artist Unknown.) McEl Chevrier, Untitled. Used with permission. Click here to enlarge image

One of Richard Rohr’s favorite art pieces about the prophet Jonah and the whale. 

Navigate by Date

This year’s theme

A candle being lit

Radical Resilience

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.

The archives

Explore the Daily Meditations

Explore past meditations and annual themes by browsing the Daily Meditations archive. Explore by topic or use the search bar to find wisdom from specific teachers.

Join our email community

Sign-up to receive the Daily Meditations, featuring reflections on the wisdom and practices of the Christian contemplative tradition.

Hidden Fields

Find out about upcoming courses, registration dates, and new online courses.
Our theme this year is Radical Resilience. How do we tend our inner flame so we can stand in solidarity with the world without burning up or out? Meditations are emailed every day of the week, including the Weekly Summary on Saturday. Each week builds on previous topics, but you can join at any time.
In a world of fault lines and fractures, how do we expand our sense of self to include love, healing, and forgiveness—not just for ourselves or those like us, but for all? This monthly email features wisdom and stories from the emerging Christian contemplative movement. Join spiritual seekers from around the world and discover your place in the Great Story Line connecting us all in the One Great Life. Conspirare. Breathe with us.