Contemplative Spirituality

Contemplative spirituality can be defined as a life of faith in interior submission to God and pervading all one's motivations and behavior; a life of prayer and action prompted by the inspirations of the Holy Spirit; a disposition not limited to devotional practices, rituals, liturgy, or other particular acts of piety or service to others, but rather the catalyst that integrates, unifies and directs all one's activities. Gerald May, M.D., expresses it this way: "The Christian expression is in the two great commandments: to love God with one’s whole self and to love one’s neighbor as oneself. Theologically, spirituality is our desire for love’s fulfillment which, in turn, is our response to God’s loving us first (1 Jn 4:19). We participate in the divine love that created us "so that we might seek God" (Acts 17:27). Further, the Christian contemplative tradition views God as always active in our lives, inviting, drawing and empowering us towards deepening love. ... In a Christian context, because we "live and move and have our being" in God (Acts 17:28), being present to things as they are involves encountering the Christ who "fills the whole creation" (Eph. 1:23). In other words, Christian contemplation means finding God in all things and all things in God. Brother Lawrence, the 17th century Carmelite friar, called it "the loving gaze which finds God everywhere.""

Explanation of the Contemplative Outreach Symbol

Series: 
Other

The symbol chosen by Contemplative Outreach is called “Job’s Redeemer—Patient Waiting.” The heart and soul of Centering Prayer is consenting to God’s presence and action in our lives. Like Job, our patient waiting and consenting will be our gift of gratitude. The elements of the symbol include:

The Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, which acknowledge that our God is at the center of our consent and being.

“Living Wisdom” – An Appreciation

Series: 
Voices of Community

Contemplative Outreach of Chicago recently launched a new program known as Living Wisdom, to give interested members an opportunity to explore “the wisdom tradition.”  So far, the program has offered four all-day Saturday workshops, one per month, January through April 2017.  After participating in the four workshops, I am starting to form an idea of what the wisdom tradition has to offer, and I have a strong interest in learning more.

Contemplative Outreach of Chicago recently launched a new program known as Living Wisdom, to give interested members an opportunity to explore “the wisdom tradition.”  So far, the program has offered four all-day Saturday workshops, one per month, January through April 2017.  After participating in the four workshops, I am starting to form an idea of what the wisdom tradition has to offer, and I have a strong interest in learning more.

Another Easter . . .

Series: 
Voices of Community

As I read the latest "Voices of the Community" articles from the current Contemplative Outreach e-bulletin, I noticed something I had not seen before . . . one could go back to previous articles.  So I did just that . . . going back to one I had written two years ago just after Easter that year (see the article "A Very Different Holy Week.").

As I read the latest "Voices of the Community" articles from the current Contemplative Outreach e-bulletin, I noticed something I had not seen before . . . one could go back to previous articles.  So I did just that . . . going back to one I had written two years ago just after Easter that year (see the article "A Very Different Holy Week.").

HORIZON

Series: 
Voices of Community

I look our across fog.
Gray ocean meets gray sky,
and I think of my young friend,
cancer battle in full force...

I look our across fog.
Gray ocean meets gray sky,
and I think of my young friend,
cancer battle in full force,
of my struggle to accept.

There’s no line drawn
between here and there,
and while I sit in silence
I hear my soul announce
that what had seemed impossible
has now become what is.

Dian Gillmar
Berkeley, CA

 

Living in a Religious Vacuum

Series: 
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q ... I have realised that I live in a kind of religious vacuum and I would like to reconnect with "religion" more fully. It feels like my home is in Christianity, however I am still unable to accept Christianity intellectually. ...How to proceed in this situation?

Q:  I have been raised as a Catholic and as a child participated in Eucharist and absorbed many cultural images of God and understandings of the faith. Later in my teenage years I began to question the Christian faith and rejected the notion of God and the teachings of Christianity altogether. I started practising Zen Buddhism and enthusiastically began meditation (zazen) and attending retreats. Now some years later I have come to a renewed appreciation of my roots in the Catholic faith. I discovered Centering Prayer and it has helped me tremendously.

The Transformation of Suffering

"When accepted, suffering leads to wisdom, which is the perception of the divine goodness and purpose in everything that happens. Wisdom, peace and faith -- that is to say, perfect trust in God -- transform suffering into -- I won't quite say 'joy' -- but give it a meaning that takes away resistance and one can then see a value in one's suffering that is … well, God-like."