Giving Birth to Christ: Weekly Summary — Center for Action and Contemplation

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Giving Birth to Christ: Weekly Summary

Giving Birth to Christ

Saturday, December 12, 2020
Summary: Sunday, December 6—Friday, December 11, 2020

If we try to “manage” God, or manufacture our own worthiness by any performance principle whatsoever, we will never bring forth the Christ, but only more of ourselves. (Sunday)

We are a part of this movement of an ever-growing Universal Christ that is coming to be in this “one great act of giving birth.” (Monday)

When the mystery of God’s love breaks through into my consciousness, do I run from it? Or am I virgin enough to respond from my deepest, truest self, and say something new, a “yes” that will change me forever? —Kathleen Norris (Tuesday)

Christmas isn’t automatic, it can’t be taken for granted. It began with Mary, but each of us is asked to make our own contribution to giving flesh to faith in the world. —Ronald Rolheiser (Wednesday)

It is not mystical experience we are after but radical interior transformation, so that others may experience Christ more fully in us. —Vincent Pizzuto (Thursday)

We are called to incarnate Christ in our lives, to clothe our lives with him, so that people can see him in us, touch him in us, recognize him in us. —Catherine de Hueck Doherty (Friday)


Practice: O God, I Need Thee

The virtue of hope, with great irony, is the fruit of a learned capacity to suffer wisely, calmly, and generously. Any form of contemplation is a gradual sinking into this divine fullness where hope lives. Contemplation is living in a unified field that produces in people a deep, largely non-rational, and yet calmly certain hope, which is always a surprise. A life of inner union, a contemplative life, is practicing for heaven now.

This week’s practice is from the remarkably hope-filled book Conversations with God: Two Centuries of Prayers by African Americans. Howard Thurman contributed the following prayer-practice:

“O God, I Need Thee”

I Need Thy Sense of Time
Always I have an underlying anxiety about things.
Sometimes I am in a hurry to achieve my ends
And am completely without patience. It is hard for me
To realize that some growth is slow,
That all processes are not swift. I cannot always discriminate
Between what takes time to develop and what can be rushed,
Because my sense of time is dulled.
I measure things in terms of happenings.
O to understand the meaning of perspective
That I may do all things with a profound sense of leisure—of

I Need Thy Sense of Order
The confusion of the details of living
Is sometimes overwhelming. The little things
Keep getting in my way providing ready-made
Excuses for failure to do and be
What I know I ought to do and be.
Much time is spent on things that are not very important
While significant things are put into an insignificant place
In my scheme of order. I must unscramble my affairs
So that my life will become order. O God, I need
Thy sense of order.

I Need Thy Sense of the Future
Teach me to know that life is ever
On the side of the future.
Keep alive in me the forward look, the high hope,
The onward surge. Let me not be frozen

Either by the past or the present.
Grant me, O patient Father, Thy sense of the future
Without which all life would sicken and die.

Howard Thurman, “O God, I Need Thee,” (1951), in Conversations with God: Two Centuries of Prayers by African Americans, ed. James Melvin Washington (Harper Collins: 1994), 183.

For Further Study:
Catherine de Hueck Doherty: Essential Writings, ed. David Meconi (Orbis Books: 2009).

Catherine de Hueck Doherty, Living the Gospel without Compromise (Madonna House Publications: 2002).

Beverly Lanzetta, The Monk Within: Embracing a Sacred Way of Life (Blue Sapphire Books: 2018).

Kathleen Norris, Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith (Riverhead Books: 1999).

Vincent Pizzuto, Contemplating Christ: The Gospels and the Interior Life (Liturgical Press: 2018).

Richard Rohr, Christ, Cosmology, & Consciousness: A Reframing of How We See (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2010), MP3 download.

Richard Rohr, The Cosmic Christ (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2009), CD, MP3 download.

Richard Rohr, Preparing for Christmas: Daily Meditations for Advent (Franciscan Media: 2008).

Richard Rohr, The Universal Christ: How a Forgotten Reality Can Change Everything We See, Hope For, and Believe (Convergent: 2019).

Ron Rolheiser, Daybreaks: Daily Reflections for Advent and Christmas (Liguori Publications: 2019).

“The Universal Christ,” Oneing, vol. 7, no. 1 (CAC Publishing: 2019), especially the essays “Becoming Christ” by Brie Stoner and “Christ, the Future” by Ilia Delio.

Image Credit: Abiding Love (detail of triptych), Janet McKenzie, copyright ©
Inspiration for this week’s banner image: Mary could trustingly carry Jesus, because she knew how to receive spiritual gifts, in fact the spiritual gift. She offers a profound image of how generativity and fruitfulness break into this world. We have much to learn from her. —Richard Rohr
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