On this Christmas Day, Father Richard describes intimacy with God as a loving “yes” to Divine Presence:
For Christians who have gone to their own depths, there is the uncovering of an indwelling Presence—a deep, loving “yes” inherent within us. In Christian theology, this inner Presence would be described as the Holy Spirit, which is precisely God as immanent, within, and even our deepest, truest self. God is the very ground of our Being.
Some mystics have described this Presence as “closer to me than I am to myself” or “more me than I am myself.” Many of us would also describe this, as Thomas Merton did, as the True Self. Yet it still must be awakened and chosen. The Holy Spirit is totally given and given equally to all, but must be consciously received, too. The Presence needs to be recognized, honored, and drawn upon to become a living Presence within us.
From this more spacious and grounded place, one naturally connects, empathizes, forgives, and loves just about everything. We were made in love, for love, and unto love, and it is out of this love that we act. This deep inner “yes” that is God in me, is already loving God through me. 
Author and spiritual teacher Henri Nouwen (1932–1996) invites us to our own prayerful experience as beloved by God:
We are the Beloved. We are intimately loved long before our parents, teachers, spouses, children and friends loved or wounded us. That’s the truth of our lives. That’s the truth I want you to claim for yourself. That’s the truth spoken by the voice that says, “You are my Beloved” [see Mark 1:9–11].
Listening to that voice with great inner attentiveness, I hear at my center words that say: “I have called you by name, from the very beginning. You are mine and I am yours. You are my Beloved, on you my favor rests. I have molded you in the depths of the earth and knitted you together in your mother’s womb. I have carved you in the palms of my hands and hidden you in the shadow of my embrace. I look at you with infinite tenderness and care for you with a care more intimate than that of a mother for her child. I have counted every hair on your head and guided you at every step. Wherever you go, I go with you, and wherever you rest, I keep watch. I will give you food that will satisfy all your hunger and drink that will quench all your thirst. I will not hide my face from you. You know me as your own as I know you as my own. You belong to me. I am your father, your mother, your brother, your sister, your lover and your spouse . . . yes, even your child . . . wherever you are I will be. Nothing will ever separate us. We are one.” 
 Adapted from Richard Rohr, Silent Compassion: Finding God in Contemplation (Cincinnati, OH: Franciscan Media, 2014), 46, 47.
 Henri J. M. Nouwen, Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World (New York: Crossroad Publishing, 1992),30–31.
Explore Further. . .
- Read Richard on “beginning as beloved.”
- Learn more about this year’s theme Nothing Stands Alone.
- Meet the team behind the Daily Meditations.
Image credit: Benjamin Yazza, Untitled 05 (detail), United States, photograph, used with permission. Benjamin Yazza, Untitled 12 (detail), United States, photograph, used with permission. NASA, Galaxy NGC 4013 (detail), 2020, United States, photograph, public domain. Jenna Keiper & Leslye Colvin, 2022, triptych art, United States. Click here to enlarge image.
Image inspiration: Infinitesimal. Massive. Incomprehensibly expansive. It is all connected: everything is a part of the whole, seen or unseen. Nothing stands alone.
Story from Our Community:
My wife died four years ago. Over that time, the CAC reflections have not given me the confidence that I will “see” her again—but something more valuable. I now have the understanding that someday both she and I will enjoy an intimacy together again. We, and the rest of creation will become connected in a state of being beyond material imagination. While I still grieve my wife’s death, I now have no fear of mine. —Mick H.
Prayer for our community:
God, Lord of all creation, lover of life and of everything, please help us to love in our very small way what You love infinitely and everywhere. We thank You that we can offer just this one prayer and that will be more than enough, because in reality every thing and every one is connected, and nothing stands alone. To pray for one part is really to pray for the whole, and so we do. Help us each day to stand for love, for healing, for the good, for the diverse unity of the Body of Christ and all creation, because we know this is what You desire: as Jesus prayed, that all may be one. We offer our prayer together with all the holy names of God, we offer our prayer together with Christ, our Lord, Amen.