This Month we are looking at God's invitation to the "Contemplative Mind." The contemplative life is one in which we approach life and God with an open and receptive posture/attitude. Unfortunately most of Christianity the past 1700 years has been from a posture of statements. Doctrinal statements, theological Statements and even prayer has been primarily about making statements to God.
Instead, what if we asked more questions? The contemplative mind is not afraid of mystery, questions or the unknown. The person who has developed a contemplative mind realizes life is an unfolding of mystery. In face of that unfolding mystery they know they are secure and loved by God.
Two primary questions are asked by the contemplative in the face of mystery: "Who are you, God? and "who am I?" It is a posture of receiving first and then being led, rather than trying to dictate outcomes. Often when we are not in a posture of receiving we are in a posture of projecting- projecting our thoughts, likes, dislikes opinions and view of reality onto others. When we are projecting we are the central figure in the story. When we are receiving we are not. Richard Rohr states, “As we observe our minds in contemplation, first we recognize how many of our thoughts are defensive, oppositional, paranoid, self-referential, or in some way violent. Until we recognize how constant that is, we have no motivation to let go of it."
Thérèse of Lisieux would call it surrender and gratitude. She said, "It is enough to recognize one's nothingness and to abandon oneself, like a child, into God's arms." Until we discover this "little way," Thérèse talks about we almost all try to gain moral high ground by strictly obeying laws (like the Pharisee in Luke 7) and thinking we are spiritually advanced. The contemplative mind can accept and surrender to the mystery that we are to ourselves; it doesn't need to quickly categorize this mystery/ourselves as sinful, wrong, and evil or as good,
Those who experience the depths within contemplation know that God's love is an endless sea of mercy and unconditional acceptance. The deeper you go, the more you fall into the Mystery. As you fall into the Mystery of an ever-loving God, you are able to accept the mystery of yourself. And as you accept the mystery of yourself, you fall into the Mystery of God. You don't know--and it doesn't matter--which comes first.
Reflect this week:
How accepting of mystery am I?
By Babs May-Clark