The Sacred in the Concrete
Center for Action and Contemplation
by Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM
13h ago
Father Richard describes how reading poetry contemplatively can be a sacred practice:  Great art and great myth try to evoke an epiphany in us. They want to give us an inherent and original sense of the holy. They make us want to kneel and kiss the ground. Robert Frost said, “A poem begins with a lump in the throat; a home-sickness or a love-sickness.” [1] If a poem doesn’t give us a lump in the throat, is it really great poetry? My final theological conclusion is that there’s only one world and that it’s all sacred. However, we have to be prepared to know what we’re saying when we say t ..read more
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A Sacred Conversation
Center for Action and Contemplation
by Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM
2d ago
To make art is to make love with the sacred. —Mirabai Starr, Wild Mercy  Mirabai Starr considers the leap of faith required to accept the invitation to creativity:    A miraculous event unfolds when we throw the lead of our personal story into the transformative flames of creativity. Our hardship is transmuted into something golden. With that gold we heal ourselves and redeem the world. As with any spiritual practice, this creative alchemy requires a leap of faith. When we show up to make art, we need to first get still enough to hear what wants to be expressed through us, and then ..read more
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The Spirit Inspires
Center for Action and Contemplation
by Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM
3d ago
Brazilian liberation theologian Leonardo Boff witnesses the presence of the Holy Spirit in the creativity of the arts.   [The Spirit] is present wherever people live by love, witness to the truth, act in solidarity, and practice compassion. Wherever such realities are manifest in human beings, anywhere in the world, it is a sign that the Spirit has come upon them and is active within them.    It is by the inspiration of the Spirit that poets and writers redraw life with all its lights and shadows, its dramas and achievements. They are seized by an inner light, and by energies t ..read more
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The Jazz Gospel 
Center for Action and Contemplation
by Barbara Holmes
4d ago
Jazz helps us be sensitive to the whole range of existence. Far from offering us rose-colored glasses … it realistically speaks of sorrow and pain…. Jazz stimulates us to feel deeply and truthfully…. Jazz thunders a mighty “yes.” —Alvin L. Kershaw, “Religion and Jazz”   CAC teacher Barbara A. Holmes writes of the spirit of possibility that is present in those creating and listening to jazz:    When Miles Davis blows the cacophony that can barely be contained by the word song, we come closest to the unimaginable, the potential of the future, and the source of our being. Yet, jaz ..read more
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The Transformative Power of Art 
Center for Action and Contemplation
by Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM
4d ago
Father Richard shares his contemplative practice of visiting art museums:  I believe good art has the power to evoke an epiphany. Sometimes, when we can’t take our eyes off a picture or work of art, an epiphany is happening. We don’t yet know what we’re knowing while the wisdom of the unconscious is being ferried across to the conscious mind. Carl Jung said great art presents an “archetypal image.” [1] On one of my very first speaking trips away from Cincinnati, I visited the St. Louis Art Museum. They had an exhibit of Claude Monet’s water lilies; some paintings took up the whole wall ..read more
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Art Leads Us to the Depths
Center for Action and Contemplation
by Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM
6d ago
Richard Rohr describes how art can serve as a gateway to mystical experience and deeper knowing:  There must be a way to be both here and in the depth of here. Jesus is the here, Christ is the depth of here. This, in my mind, is the essence of incarnation, and the gift of contemplation. We must learn to love and enjoy things as they are, in their depth, in their soul, and in their fullness. Contemplation is the “second gaze” through which we see something in its particularity and yet also in a much larger frame. We know it by the joy it gives.     Two pieces of art have given me thi ..read more
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Cultivating a New Heart
Center for Action and Contemplation
by Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM
1w ago
Father Richard teaches that the inner flame of contemplation is cultivated through regular spiritual practice:  Practice is an essential reset button that we must push many times before we can experience any genuine newness. Whether we’re aware of it or not, we are practicing all the time. When we operate by our habituated patterns, we strengthen certain neural pathways, which makes us, as the saying goes, “set in our ways.” But when we stop using old neural grooves, these pathways actually die off! Practice can literally create new responses and allow rigid ones to show themselves.  ..read more
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Practicing Sabbath
Center for Action and Contemplation
by Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM
1w ago
For many practicing Jews and Christians, Sabbath rest is an essential practice to “tend the fire within.” Biblical scholar Renita J. Weems recalls the Sabbath of her childhood:  Once upon a time Sunday was a special day, a holy day, a day different from the other six days of the week…. This was a time when [Black] people like those I grew up with still believed that it was enough to spend six days a week trying to eke out a living, … fretting over the future, despairing over whether life would ever get better for [us]. Six days of worrying were enough. The Sabbath was the Lord’s Day, a m ..read more
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Choosing a Contemplative Path
Center for Action and Contemplation
by James Finley
1w ago
James Finley , once we notice the “fire within,” we can commit to the life-changing practice of attending to it.  Once we acknowledge this “depth deprivation,” we get an insight into life. The essential, that which is given to us in the metaphorical fire of this quiet oneness, never imposes itself on us, while the unessential is constantly imposing itself on us. We begin to wonder, “How can I learn not to get so caught up in the complexities of the day-to-day that I keep losing my sense of connectedness with this depth, this fire, which alone is ultimately real?” Thomas Merton says it be ..read more
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A Moment of Divine Fire
Center for Action and Contemplation
by James Finley
1w ago
In this video, CAC teacher James Finley reflects upon the theme of “tending the fire within” as a way to build capacity for radical resilience.   I’m using the word “fire” as a metaphor for certain moments in our life where we’re graced with a heightened sense of communal presence. They have about them the feeling of that-which-never-ends.   In our day-by-day life, most of the things we’re aware of, we’re aware of them while we’re passing by on our way to something else. But every so often, something catches our eye and gives us reason to pause. For example, we pause to se ..read more
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