God With Us

Meeting Christ Within Us

God With Us
Sunday, May 26, 2019

If God’s Spirit has truly joined our spirit, then we have every reason to trust the deepest movements of our natures. This trust becomes a key for all spirituality. The goal of Christian spirituality is to recognize and respond to the continual interior movements of the Spirit, for the Spirit will always lead us toward greater union with Christ and greater love and service of God and others. —Richard Hauser [1]

In this week’s meditations, I will be focusing on the importance of an inner life, a life grounded in contemplation, a life that searches for the hidden wholeness underneath the passing phenomena, a life that seeks substance instead of simply an endless preoccupation with forms.

The West—and the United States in particular—is fascinated with forms. We like impermanent things, maybe because they can’t nail us down to anything solid or lasting, and we float in an ephemeral and transient world of argumentative ideas. But this preference isn’t bearing substantial fruit. This culture seems to be creating people who are very unsure of themselves, who are grasping in every direction for a momentary sense of identity or importance.

The goal is to get people to a deeper level, to the unified field, or what I like to call “nondual thinking,” where God alone can hold the contradictions together.

When Christians speak of Christ, we are naming an ever-growing encounter, not a fixed package that is all-complete and must be accepted as is. On the inner journey of the soul, we meet a God who interacts with our deepest selves, who grows the person, who allows and forgives mistakes. It is precisely this give-and-take, and knowing there will be give-and-take, that makes God so real as a Lover.

What kind of God would only push from without and never draw from within? Yet this is precisely the one-sided God that many Christians were offered and that much of the world has now rejected. God unfolds our personhood from within through a constant increase in freedom—even freedom to fail. Love cannot happen in any other way. This is why Paul shouts in Galatians, “For freedom Christ has set us free!” (5:1).

God loves you by becoming you, taking your side in the inner dialogue of self-accusation and defense. God loves you by turning your mistakes into grace, by constantly giving you back to yourself in a larger shape. God stands with you, not against you, whenever you are tempted to shame or self-hatred. If your authority figures resorted to threat and punishment, it can be hard to feel or trust this inner give and take. Remember, the only thing that separates you from God is the thought that you are separate from God!

References:
[1] Richard J. Hauser, In His Spirit: A Guide to Today’s Spirituality (Beacon: 2011), 24.

Adapted from Richard Rohr, Dancing Standing Still: Healing the World from a Place of Prayer (Paulist Press: 2014), 10, 11; and

The Universal Christ: How a Forgotten Reality Can Change Everything We See, Hope For, and Believe (Convergent: 2019), 79-80.

Image credit: Knot the One, by Karen Jacobs, 1993. Used with permission of the artist.
Inspiration for this week’s banner image: Christ’s soul and our soul are like an everlasting knot. The deeper we move in our own being, the closer we come to Christ. And the closer we come to Christ’s soul, the nearer we move to the heart of one another. —John Philip Newell, explaining the teachings of Julian of Norwich

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