The Contemplative Companion for Thursday, September 3, 2015

“…We do not cease praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding to live in a manner worthy of the Lord, so as to be fully pleasing, in every good work bearing fruit and growing in the knowledge of God, strengthened with every power, in accord with his glorious might, for all endurance and patience, with joy giving thanks to the Father, who has made you fit to share in the inheritance of the holy ones in light.” – Colossians 1. 9 – 13

Ponder what it would feel like to be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in and through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. Is this poetic hyperbole or a real possibility?

Contemplative prayer has many fruits. Ignored by many, despised by some, the inward turn to silence is how we can knock on the mystery-door of God’s will so that it will be opened to us more frequently and completely. As it opens, we can visit the interior territory called “all spiritual wisdom and understanding.” We never posses it. It possess us. It is living, dynamic and in process, ever unfolding and becoming ever more. As it saturates our consciousness, it nourishes us, grows us, unfolds us, reveals our own possibilities of becoming.

God’s will is not a mystery. God’s will is love. Love is where all the spiritual wisdom and understanding is going – a destination that completes and transcends all wisdom and knowing. Love is its own kind of knowledge; an environment in which we know as we are known. The environment has a name: light. It is a light that warms the universe with love, and births conscious beings to know that they know and to love as they are loved. In a phrase:  the holiness of wholeness.



Today’s Complete Lectionary Reading



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The Contemplative Companion for Wednesday, September 2, 2015

“I, like a green olive tree in the house of God, trust in the mercy of God forever and ever.” – Psalm 52.10

The scriptures speak in the language of symbols. Thus, the olive tree is a symbol of life, health and growth. So it is interesting to ask the question: is there a connection between feeling alive, healthy, and growing, with trusting in God’s mercy?

Trust is one way of translating the word. But it is more like the life long process of consenting, of saying Yes, to the mystery of Being, a mystery that is unfolding by the law of attraction into union for the sake of love.

Letting go of control and being thrown into the mystery of becoming love is both frightening and thrilling. Enjoy the journey and the fruits.

Today’s Lectionary Readings



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The Contemplative Companion for Tuesday, September 1, 2015

“The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom should I fear? The LORD is my life’s refuge; of whom should I be afraid?” – Psalm 27.1

The “refuge” that God is may look nothing like you expect. In this world, the refuge we gain from God is mostly an internal experience of individuals. It’s often difficult to explain to others. It’s important for us to be honest about this, in part, because there are children dying at this very moment; there are people dying unexpectedly at this very moment – many of whom counted on the fact that God would be their refuge. It’s easy to ask the question: where was God’s light, salvation and refuge then?

Philosopher and Nazi concentration camp survivor Paul Ricouer learned first hand that nothing about God could be taken for granted. He famously spoke of his own Protestant faith as a “chance converted into destiny by a constant choice.” Ricouer was a Holocaust prisoner at the same time theologian and pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer was imprisoned. Bonhoeffer died in prison. Ricouer did not.

The darkness, difficulties and sufferings of life – even the death of life –  don’t change the fact that God is our light, salvation and refuge in the midst of our journey through those experiences. The shattering of life accentuates the need for an inward turn to the quiet place within our hearts where “nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ” (Romans 8.28ff). This is a choice. It is also a conversion of mind about how we think about God.

No matter what we are going through, we are biologically networked within an ever-living consciousness that is the always-unfolding life and love of God revealed as a new possibility for humanity through the resurrection and ascension of Christ.

This is not a reflection about why things are the way they are. This is an invitation to consider how you think about God, life and your suffering. Perhaps the light, salvation, and refuge of God are not outside of  yourself, or your seasons of suffering and inevitable transition from this form of mass into another form of energy (what some call death). Perhaps these seasons and life-events are where God’s light, salvation and refuge  are unveiled more fully, beyond what we think life is or should be. As St. Augustine once said, for those with eyes to see, everything is a sacrament.

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The Contemplative Companion for Monday, August 31, 2015

“Sing to the Lord a new song…” – Psalm 96.1

“Jesus stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring glad tidings to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.”

– Luke 4. 17 – 19

The Spirit inspires new songs. Time has a way of releasing us from the difficulties of the present and giving us perspective. Time is the stage upon which the Spirit sings new songs. As we are anointed by the Spirit in the midst of the flow of time, we will be empowered, freed from the past, and given vision for the future. We too will join Jesus and the prophets as vessels of wise-love, announcing through our lives and words what scrolls and books can only imagine: we (the human family and living Cosmos) are being sung into wholeness by the Spirit.

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The Contemplative Companion for Friday, August 28, 2015

 “‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us!’ But he said in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”  – Matthew 25. 10 – 13

We are each invited to take responsibility for our inward spiritual development, moving from our ordinary state of “sleep” toward the grace of being more “awake” in Christ.

Passages like Matthew 25 used to frighten me. Mainly because I heard it through the lens of my seven year old memory from Sunday school, at a church that interpreted Jesus’ teaching in a literal-historical way about the future judgement that would occur at the rapture.

In contrast, the contemplative interpretation seeks to make internal connections with our psychological and spiritual life for the present, with a particular focus on our transformation, which is a fancy word that simply describes the process of our ongoing movement toward divine union. The process of transformation begins, continues and ends in love not judgement. Love is the attracting force drawing humankind toward the fullness of  our destiny. What gets in the way is the atmosphere of “sleep” pervading our attention and will. This “sleep” impacts the level (or freedom) of our consciousness. The more “asleep” we are, the more “mechanical” our choices, talking and behavior. The more “awake” we are, the more conscious our choices, talking and behavior.

The remedy is vigilance and wakefulness, not out of a sense of fear, but rather from a wish to grow and develop into the fullness of conscious love and wisdom, which in a word is Christ. Let’s make this practical. Notice how easy it is after a long day at work to come home, pour a glass of wine and spend two hours watching the T.V. instead of playing with the kids, reading or even praying? Could that pattern have something to do with the dynamic of sleep that blankets our planet like a fine coating of wax – dulling us, dimming us and distracting us? What possibilities of growth might we be missing out on because of this state of sleep?

Thus, what is at stake is the opportunity to know as we are known. To become more fully awake to ourselves and in so doing become more fully awake toward others. Sleep is  an ancient image used to teach profound truths about the human condition and the importance of the spectrum of consciousness that moves us from constricted self-absorption to expansive, unconditional love as “participants in the divine nature” (2 Peter 1.4).


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The Contemplative Companion for Thursday, August 27, 2015

“May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we have for you, so as to strengthen your hearts.” – 1 Thessalonians 3.12 – 12

Silent in this moment, connected, calm and still, I am given the grace to begin to see beyond sight to recognize Christ hidden in the Other.

Love looks for the connecting points that can bloom into a forest of presence. Love helps us simply be with the Other in the midst of their questions and questioning. From this perspective, I wish to bless my brothers and sisters of the family of living things, with the courage to be with the Other, without expecting them to be different from who or what they are. No longer resisting, I accept. No longer judging, I welcome what is. Inward strength is required for this.

What a beautiful way forward in the forest of diversity we call humanity. Can we evolve into, by, through love, as love, to love, for love, and transcend the patterns of reactivity and judgement that only lead to pain – for ourselves and for the Other? Yes, we can. Yes, we are.

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The Contemplative Companion for Wednesday, August 26, 2015

“If I say, ‘surely the darkness shall hide me, and night shall be my light,’  for you darkness itself is not dark, and night shines as the day” – Psalm 139.12

Psalm 139 is a prayer that helps me remember the Presence and its paradoxes.

Darkness is a motif of human experience. It represents our feeling separated from our self, from God, from others. It is something we try to avoid, but can’t. The darkness is the way we use language to describe parts of the spiritual journey where we feel God’s absence; where we feel unclear; where we feel contained and uninspired.

While the seasons of darkness we experience may feel like tombs, those tombs are often our wombs, birthing us into new, more complete ways of being. Nurturing us, if we let it, into more fullness of life.

Most of the universe is dark. It seems to posses a necessary quality the light needs. Resistance to reality is painful. Perhaps try surrendering into the darkness of the moment. As we do, we discover the Presence is therein too. Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ. Including the darkness of our human journey.

At this moment, I can’t see my way through a situation. No clarity. No vision. Darkness. In the past, I would flail around, panicked. I would make hasty decisions. I would try and wrest control from the darkness, creating my own kind of light from the friction of my struggle. But this morning, I just lit a candle and sat in the silence accepting the thisness of my experience knowing I don’t need to see in order to be safe. Faith in the Presence turns the darkness as into light. In the sphere of silent, still faith it matters not what is unseen or seen. The gift is in discovering who we are through the journey, and most of all – who, what and how the Presence Is.

Love is a fierce darkness underneath the embers of creation. They twin together in Christ. Like cross beams, they carry the tears of all the world’s nights, lifting them up to the sky that turns dark at the appointed hours, until tombs crack open and the stones roll away, and the emptiness is revealed to be just another womb of light.

Hang in there. Love-energy is doing its thing, fiercely.


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