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Center for Action and Contemplation

Union: Weekly Summary

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Union

Summary: Sunday, December 11-Friday, December 16, 2016

There is an absolute, eternal union between God and the soul of everything. The problem is that Western religion has not taught us this. Our ego over-emphasizes our individuality and separateness from God and others. (Sunday)

Mystics like Francis and Clare lived from a place of conscious, chosen, and loving union with God. Such union was realized by surrendering to it, not by achieving it! (Monday)

Intimacy implies twoness, but twoness overcome and enjoyed. Julian preserves differentiation, the dance of partners. She is not a pantheist; she is not saying everything is God. She is saying everything is in God and God is in everything. (Tuesday)

It’s all one. What you do to the other, you do to yourself; how you love yourself is how you love your neighbor; how you love God is how you love yourself; how you love yourself is how you love God. (Wednesday)

Once the problem is solved deeply inside of you, and you can recognize and honor the divine image in yourself, then you can honor the inherent dignity of everyone else, too. (Thursday)

“We awaken as the beloved / In every last part of our body.”Symeon the New Theologian (Friday)

 

Practice: The Broken Truth

A wonderful children’s book, Old Turtle and the Broken Truth, [1] tells a story of how the world came to be so fragmented when it is meant to be whole and how we might put it back together again. I invite you to read this tale as a child might, with wonder and imagination.

One night, in a far-away land that “is somehow not so far away,” a truth falls from the stars. As it falls, it breaks into two pieces; one piece blazes off through the sky and the other falls straight to the ground. One day, a man stumbles upon the gravity-drawn truth and finds carved on it the words, “You are loved.” It makes him feel good, so he keeps it and shares it with the people in his tribe. The thing sparkles and makes the people who have it feel warm and happy. It becomes their most prized possession, and they call it “The Truth.” Those who have the truth grow afraid of those who don’t have it, who are different. And those who don’t have it covet it. Soon people are fighting wars over the small truth, trying to capture it for themselves.

A little girl who is troubled by the growing violence, greed, and destruction in her once-peaceful world goes on a journey—through the Mountains of Imagining, the River of Wondering Why, and the Forest of Finding Out—to speak with Old Turtle, the wise counselor. Old Turtle tells her that the Truth is broken and missing a piece, a piece that shot off in the night sky so long ago. Together they search for it and, when they find it, the little girl puts the jagged piece in her pocket and returns to her people. She tries to explain, but no one will listen or understand. Finally, a raven flies the broken truth to the top of a tower, where the other piece has been ensconced for safety, and the rejoined pieces shine their full message: “You are loved / and so are they.” And the people begin to comprehend. And the earth begins to heal.

Gateway to Silence:
We are already in union with God.

References:
[1] Douglas Wood and Jon J Muth, Old Turtle and the Broken Truth (New York: Scholastic, 2003).

Adapted from Richard Rohr, A Spring Within Us: A Book of Daily Meditations (CAC: 2016), 361.

For Further Study:
Richard Rohr, Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of St. Francis of Assisi (Franciscan Media: 2014)
Richard Rohr, Intimacy: The Divine Ambush (CAC: 2013), CD, MP3 download

Image Credit: Early Autumn (detail), Qian Xuan (1235-1305), 13th century, Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, Michigan, USA.
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