Well done, my good and faithful servant.
Come, share my joy.
– Matthew 25:21
Indeed, contemplative practice calls forth service – service that may outwardly look the same as we exhibited before the contemplative journey but is now coming from a very different place.
In God is Love: The Heart of All Creation Fr. Thomas says:
The most beautiful thing about the spiritual journey is that we’re being gradually conformed to Christ crucified and our humanity is being invited to surrender, turn itself over completely to God out of love and in the full consciousness that this is a service that’s being offered to God for the whole human race, not just ourselves or our particular friends or companions or enemies… The heart and the spiritual journey have to become big enough to take in everybody who has ever lived – past, present, and to come – because they are loved by God…and enduring suffering out of love for the healing of the unhealthy members of the Mystical Body of God.
“Self-gifting love is the true goal of contemplative practice, not self-actualization, and it is this love which gives us true poise and freedom from anxiety. We become free to witness courageously to the world and to respond appropriately and unreservedly.
“…Be filled, and then you will be food to the world… Faith needn’t make work for itself, for it
knows to its marrow that ‘all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.’
– James Krueger, quoting Julian of Norwich in “This Restless Sea: Contemplative Practice and Prophetic Witness Amidst Violence,” On Being
“The human family – past, present, and to come – is the object of God’s transforming love. It is into
this movement of boundless compassion that he draws us as we advance in the spiritual journey.”
– Thomas Keating, Manifesting God
- Ponder what it is to serve from God’s abundant love:*
Helping vs. Serving
|Helping in an All-Too-Human Way||Serving in a Divine Way|
|sees a problem needing to be fixed||perceives a need awaiting our attention|
|perceives oneself as the “doer”||opens to God to accomplish whatever needs to be done through oneself|
|preoccupied with doing, identified with results||takes the next step; leaves the results and the timing of the results to God|
|filled with worry, indignation about injustice, anxiety about the future||abides in the awareness of the presence of God and divine order unfolding|
|is effortful||is artful|
|is enervating and exhausting||is alive and vitalizing|
|draws attention to one’s doing||has silence of being|
|expects gratitude, praise, recognition||participates in a perichoresis of love and compassion, sufficient unto itself|
|‘There but for the grace of God go I’||‘There by the grace of God am I’|
|waits to be told the task, waits for when it is convenient||sees what is being called forth in the moment and does it – even when inconvenient|
|judges who is worthy to be served and who is not; acts accordingly||servant of all|
|suffering is be feared and avoided||suffering comes from higher laws offering a path to transformation and freedom|
*from “A Word About Service,” Guidebook to God is Love: The Heart of All Creation
- View the video “A Word About Service” from the DVD series: God is Love: The Heart of All Creation which is about 8 minutes in length.
…That all our days be filled with mercy and wisdom.
Show forth your work to your servants;
let your glory shine through us.
Prosper the works of our hands
for your glory, O Lord!
– Cf Psalm 90:14, 16-17
- Enter your inner room, reflect upon your service; bring into awareness that serving Christ is a privilege – at home, next door, down the street. Small steps, a big heart and much love.
- Are you ready to allow the movement of boundless compassion and love through you, in awareness of being sustained by God?