Monday, January 25, 2010

Contemplative Christian Spirituality

My blog is about different aspects of Contemplative Christian Spirituality. A good starting place might be to define what I mean by this.

Spirituality is that part of our life that is concerned with our relationship with The Divine, with The Great Mystery, with God. Our soul is that part of ourselves that hungers for this relationship. So spirituality is the relationship between our souls and God. We nurture this relationship by honoring and taking care of our souls.

Christian Spirituality has a particular understanding of Spirituality. As Christians, we believe that the ideal form of spirituality is that shown to us by Jesus Christ. So we try to understand how we can best relate to God by understanding how Jesus related to God. Of course, we realize that Jesus had a perfect relationship with God and that we will not attain this state of perfection. But still, this is the relationship for which we strive.

Contemplative Christian Spirituality teaches that the most authentic experience of God is not through the intellect, but through direct experience. Contemplatives believe that God is beyond words and beyond understanding. Our beliefs about God limit God, and, since God is beyond limit, these beliefs must be false. As our Buddhist friends tell us, our beliefs are, at best, fingers pointing to the moon. They are not the moon itself.

So Contemplatives believe that the way to experience God is by emptying ourselves, by letting go of beliefs, ideas, and desires and of the ego that stands between us and God. We believe that we can best find God in the silence and the stillness of our souls.

We  follow the example given us in Jesus. Jesus taught about God in public places but related to God in the the solitude of the desert, in the quiet of nature, in the darkness of the night.  It is in these places that Jesus fed his soul and renewed his relationship with God.

As Christian Contemplatives, we pray as Jesus prayed, without words, in direct relationship with God. Most of us do this imperfectly, but this is our hope.

What do we call a prayer without words? We call this Christian Meditation.

Most of us believe that the daily practice of Christian Meditation brings us closer to God. I'll talk more about about Christian Mediation in my next blog. For now, know that it is a cornerstone of Contemplative Christian Spirituality. Which means that as Contemplatives, it is our pathway to a deeper and more authentic relationship with God. And as Christian Contemplatives, it is our belief that this is the path that was laid down for us by Jesus.

Pax Christi,

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