Embracing the Power of Contemplation

Over the past few years I’ve found Richard Rohr to be such a helpful guide in my quest to grow up and actually be a follower of Jesus. As a Protestant, it’s been important for me to find people from the Catholic faith to teach me the things that God has preserved for his people through their tradition. The practice of contemplation – largely preserved and practiced by the monastics – is challenging me. Contemplation is really a way to step back from our ‘ego’ and the immediacy of life so that we can take a hard look at ourselves. Rohr’s quote below comes from a DVD called The Gospel Call to Compassionate Action. The words about judging, critiquing, and computing are especially convicting for me as a Christian. How much of my life is dedicated to those wasteful actions and thought patterns? Rohr says:

“Contemplation is meeting reality in its most simple and immediate form. The only way you can do this is by getting rid of your usual mental grid—your practiced ways of judging, critiquing, and computing everything. That’s why the mind has to be placed to the side. It just operates in its habitual neural grooves, and nothing really new can get in. God, who is always new and mysterious, has very little chance of breaking through.

Finally, “you,” that is, your small mental ego, is out of the way! Once you experience this more oceanic awareness, you’ll never finally be satisfied with anything less. You now have “the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16), as presumptuous, arrogant, and scary as that might sound.

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