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Center for Action and Contemplation

You Belong

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Everything Belongs: Week 1

You Belong
Wednesday, November 30, 2016

I believe that we have no real access to who we fully are except in God. Only when we rest in God can we find the safety, the spaciousness, and the scary freedom to be who we are, all that we are, and much more than we think we are.  Only when we live and see through God’s eyes can “everything belong.” All other systems exclude, expel, punish, and protect to find identity for their members in some kind of ideological perfection or purity. The contaminating element always has to be searched out, isolated, and often punished. This wasted effort keeps us from the centrally important task of love and union.

As we read yesterday, St. Bonaventure (1221-1274) had a very positive view of God and the world. In his philosophy and theology we have a coherent and grounded meaning that our world no longer enjoys—yet still longs for. Most people today are not sure where we come from, who we are, and where we are going; and most no longer seem to care about such questions. Some call this postmodernism.

The Cosmic Christ is the blueprint of reality, bringing all of history—from before the Big Bang to the end of time—to wholeness. Paraphrasing Paul’s words to the Colossians (chapter 1), “God made absolute fullness reside in him.” Christ is the distillation and “corporate personality” for all of created reality, the symbolic stand-in for everything, as it were. Paul goes on to say “in Christ, everything is reconciled. God holds all things together in him.” This means there’s no ground for hating or excluding or torturing anyone, because we all belong to God, even our enemies, which is why Jesus tells us we must love them.

When God looks at us, God can only see “Christ” in us. Yet it’s hard—for us!—to be naked and vulnerable and allow ourselves to be seen so deeply. It is hard to simply receive God’s loving and all-accepting gaze. We feel unworthy and ashamed. The very essence of all faith is to trust the gaze and then complete the circuit of mutual friendship. “The eye with which I see God is the same one with which God sees me. My eye and God’s eye is one eye, and one sight, and one knowledge, and one love,” as Meister Eckhart says. [1]

When you go to your place of prayer, don’t try to think too much or manufacture feelings or sensations. Don’t worry about what words you should say or what posture you should take. It’s not about you or what you do. Simply allow Love to look at you—and trust what God sees! God just keeps looking at you and loving you center to center. Hinduism called this darshan, the practice of going to the temple—not to see the deity, but to allow yourself to be fully and lovingly seen.  Try reversing the engines. This reversal is the triumph and victory of grace.

Gateway to Silence:
Everything—yes, everything—belongs.

[1] Johannes Eckhart, Meister Eckhart’s Sermons, Sermon IV, “True Hearing,”, 32-33.

Adapted from Richard Rohr, Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer (The Crossroad Publishing Company: 2003), 26;
Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi (Franciscan Media: 2014), 167; and
How Do We Get Everything to Belong? disc 3 (CAC: 2004), CD, MP3 download.

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