Scripture Meditation: Known and Loved

“But even the hairs of your head are all counted. Do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.”
Luke 12:7, NRSV

God is intimately acquainted with us, knowing our desires, faults, and needs as well as mental, physical, and spiritual identities. We are known deeply and intimately by our creator, and whether that sounds like good news or bad news for you, Jesus assures us that we are deeply valued by God.

Our creator has been deeply invested in our every detail. How could he stop caring for us?

We can talk ourselves out of his love. We can argue that we have sinned too much, become too complacent, and not done enough for God.

When God sees you, he sees a beloved creation that is known from head to toe. You are worthy of love and restoration simply because he is intimately invested in who you are as your creator.

 

For Reflection

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Featured Book: Everything Belongs

everything-belongs-rohrWeek Four: Finding God, Finding Ourselves

We have nothing to prove before God. We are loved today as we are, but there are many obstacles and distractions that keep us from becoming aware of God’s love and presence. Our false selves need to go because we alienate ourselves from others and from God as we fight to maintain that false image.

We can only face the barriers to God and to prayer if we venture into silence and solitude. These holy places free us from the control we attempt to assert over our lives.

In Everything Belongs, Richard Rohr writes about the union we can find with God if we pursue silence and solitude:

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We wait in silence. In silence all our usual patterns assault us. Our patterns of control, addiction, negativity, tension, anger, and fear assert themselves. That’s why most people give up rather quickly.

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“The desert is where we are voluntarily under-stimulated. No feedback. No new data. That’s why he says to go into the closet. That’s where we stop living out of other people’s response to us. We can then say, I am not who you think I am. Nor am I whom you need me to be. I’m not even who I need myself to be. I must be ‘nothing’ in order to be open to all of reality and new reality.”

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“You are in union. There is nothing to prove. Nothing to attain. Everything is already there. It is simply a matter of recognizing and honoring  and trusting. All spiritual disciplines exist to help you trust this personal experience of yourself, which is, not surprisingly, also an experience of God.”

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“Our fear is in the service of all the little ways we have learned to protect our false self. But love is who we really are. We’ll never see the love we really are, our foundation, if we keep living out of our false self of self-protection and overreaction.We must remember that ‘perfect love casts out all fear.'”

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“In contemplative prayer, we move into a different realm. It is not the arena of merit, of reward and punishment; it is the realm of pure grace and freedom.”

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Read more in Everything Belongs.

 

For Reflection

featured-book-october-24

Saturday Prayer

Today’s prayer is from the Divine Hours:

“Almighty and everlasting God, in Christ you have revealed your glory among the nations: Preserve the works of your mercy, that your Church throughout the world may persevere with steadfast faith in the confession of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”

Read more in The Divine Hours.

Friday Favorites for Prayer and Writing

Each Friday I share some of my favorite finds related to praying or writing. If I think it could help you pray or write better, then I’ll include it below.

Do you have someone else’s article or post to share? Join the Contemplative Writers Facebook group, comment on today’s post on my Facebook page, or follow me on Twitter (@edcyzewski) to nominate your favorite articles, blog posts, and books by Thursday at noon each week.

Spinning and Being Spun by Nancy Nordenson

Intimacy for the Avoidant

The Sanctity of Your Calendar

Stop Adopting Other People’s Anxiety

In Pursuit of Silence

Yes, the World Is Going Berserk, but Inner Peace Is Still Possible

From Ed’s Blog: Why Evangelicals Lack Compassion for Doubters and Doubters Lack Compassion for Evangelicals

 

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Learn how your support, through a one-time gift or small monthly gifts can keep this website running: Support Us Today

Book of the Month: Everything Belongs

everything-belongs-rohrWeek Two: Replacing Illusion with Reality

In his book Everything Belongs, Richard Rohr writes about the great surrender that must take place before we can find God and our true selves in prayer.

He is quick to note that God is already present. In fact, we cannot escape God’s presence but we can obscure it or overlook it. Our illusions about ourselves or about God can get in the way.

Therefore the great goal of every spiritual practice is to help us move past our illusions, distractions, and oversimplified answers so that we can be truly present for God.

 

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“We have no real access to who we really are except in God. Only when we rest in God can we find the safety, the spaciousness, and the scary freedom to be who we are, all that we are, more than we are, and less than we are. Only when we live and see through God can ‘everything belong.’ All other systems exclude, expel, punish, and protect to find identity for their members in ideological perfection or some kind of ‘purity.’”

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“We cannot attain the presence of God because we’re already totally in the presence of God. What’s absent is awareness. Little do we realize that God is maintaining us in every breath we take.”

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“All spiritual disciplines have one purpose: to get rid of illusions so we can be present.”

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“When we look at the questions, we look for the opening to transformation. Fixing something doesn’t usually transform us. We try to change events in order to avoid changing ourselves. We must learn to stay with the pain of life, without answers, without conclusions, and some days without meaning. That is the path, the perilous dark path of true prayer.”

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“When we avoid darkness, we avoid tension, spiritual creativity, and finally transformation. We avoid God, who works in the darkness—where we are not in control! Maybe that is the secret: relinquishing control.”

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Read more in Everything Belongs

 

For Reflection

featured-book-october-10

Friday Favorites for Prayer and Writing

Each Friday I share some of my favorite finds related to praying or writing. If I think it could help you pray or write better, then I’ll include it below.

Do you have someone else’s article or post to share? Join the Contemplative Writers Facebook group, comment on today’s post on my Facebook page, or follow me on Twitter (@edcyzewski) to nominate your favorite articles, blog posts, and books by Thursday at noon each week.

This Is How to Resist Distraction

On the Appalachian Trail Combat Veterans Learn to Let Go

3 Truths about Dark Nights of the Soul

Christians Begin to Embrace the Enneagram

From Ed’s Site: The Lie about How to Live the Life You Love

 

Keep the Contemplative Writer Sustainable

The Contemplative writer is ad-free and never shares sponsored content, but it is a lot of work to maintain. We rely on affiliate links from the books we share and the generous donations of our readers. An automated monthly gift as low as $1 per month or a one-time gift of $5 goes a long way to sustaining our mission to provide contemplative prayer resources for our readers.

Learn how your support, through a one-time gift or small monthly gifts can keep this website running: Support Us Today

Featured Article: The Value of Making Time for Rest

Author Michelle DeRusha writes that Shelly Miller’s new book Sabbath Rest encouraged her with a gentle reminder to make more space for rest and for God in her week. DeRusha writes about the benefits prioritizing the Sabbath in this week’s featured post:

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“I was all in on Sabbath rest a couple of years ago. I believed in it and was committed to it. But somehow, as weeks passed into months and months passed into years, I chipped away at the edges of my Sabbath practice until finally, there was nothing left. Without even being aware of it, my Sundays became another day of chores, errands, social media and catching up on email.”

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“How much of our faith journey is firsthand experience and not just what we know about him? Information helps us know about God, but Sabbath allows us to encounter him.”
-Shelly Miller

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“What I’ve come to understand – and what Shelly’s book reiterated for me — is that in order to know God in the way he desires, we need to make space and time for him. And in order to make space and time for him, we have to quiet ourselves. We have to cease our constant busyness, our constant doing and accomplishing.”

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Read more here.

 

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Featured Contemplative Book: Immortal Diamond

Immortal Diamond by RohrWeek Two: The Struggle with the False Self

Who am I?

This is a foundational question that we’ll forever struggle with in prayer and writing until we finally confront it. There may be no better tool for answering this question than Richard Rohr’s Immortal Diamond: The Search for our True Self.

This is the book that saved my soul, or at least saved me from myself.

The false self won’t be silenced easily. In fact, I have found that the false self is so hard to fight because living into your true self in God’s love requires doing LESS. So much of religion is about doing more or doing something differently. Rohr’s wisdom about the true self appears to be counterintuitive at first.

 

“Your True Self is who you are, and always have been in God . . . The great surprise and irony is that “you,” or who you think you are, have nothing to do with its original creation or its demise. It’s sort of disempowering and utterly empowering at the same time, isn’t it? All you can do is nurture it.”

* * * * *

“The soul, the True Self, has everything, and so it does not require any particular thing. When you have all things, you do not have to protect any one thing. True Self can love and let go. The False Self cannot do this.”

* * * * *

“Remember, please remember, you do not (you must not!) fear, attack, or hate the False Self. That would only continue a negative and arrogant death energy, and it is delusional and counterproductive anyway. It would be trying to “drive out the devil by the prince of devils,” as Jesus puts it. In the great economy of grace, all is used and transformed, and nothing is wasted. God uses your various False Selves to lead you beyond them.”

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“What the ego (the False Self) hates and fears more than anything else is change. It will think up a thousand other things to be concerned about or be moralistic about—anything rather than giving up “who I think I am” and “who I need to be to look good.”

 

Finding your true self in God’s love is largely a matter of practicing the presence of God rather than trying to do any one thing better. If we let God define who we are, we’ll start to recognize the times when the false sense begins to whisper lies to us.

Once we learn to rest in Christ, we’ll begin to recognize when the imposter of the false self emerges.

Learn more about Immortal Diamond today.

 

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