THE DAILY MEDITATION – from the Center for Action and Contemplation (Fr Richard Rohr OFM)

Week Twenty-two

Alternative Community

Being One with the Other   Thursday,  June 4, 2020

It would seem that, quite possibly, the ultimate measure of health in any community might well reside in our ability to stand in awe at what folks have to carry rather than in judgment at how they carry it. —Gregory Boyle

Homeboy Industries may be one of the most visibly transformative communities in the United States today. It was founded in 1998 by Jesuit priest Gregory Boyle, or “G” (as his community likes to call him). Moved by the heartache of the people he served while pastor of Dolores Mission Church in Los Angeles, Fr. Greg started Homeboy Industries to assist individuals and families affected by the cycle of poverty, drugs, gangs, and incarceration. Along with many Homeboys and Homegirls, he believes the healing process can only happen when we are in relationship with one another. The success of this organization offers evidence to support his belief.

Mother Teresa diagnosed the world’s ills in this way: we’ve just “forgotten that we belong to each other.” Kinship is what happens to us when we refuse to let that happen. With kinship as the goal, other essential things fall into place; without it, no justice, no peace. I suspect that were kinship our goal, we would no longer be promoting justice—we would be celebrating it.

Often we strike the high moral distance that separates “us” from “them,” and yet it is God’s dream come true when we recognize that there exists no daylight between us. Serving others is good. It’s a start. But it’s just the hallway that leads to the Grand Ballroom.

Kinship—not serving the other, but being one with the other. Jesus was not “a man for others”; he was one with them. There is a world of difference in that. . . .

No daylight to separate us.

Only kinship. Inching ourselves closer to creating a community of kinship such that God might recognize it. Soon we imagine, with God, this circle of compassion. Then we imagine no one standing outside of that circle, moving ourselves closer to the margins so that the margins themselves will be erased. We stand there with those whose dignity has been denied. We locate ourselves with the poor and the powerless and the voiceless. At the edges, we join the easily despised and the readily left out. We stand with the demonized so that the demonizing will stop. We situate ourselves right next to the disposable so that the day will come when we stop throwing people away. The prophet Habakkuk writes, “The vision still has its time, presses onto fulfillment and it will not disappoint . . . and if it delays, wait for it [2:3].”

Kinship is what God presses us on to, always hopeful that its time has come.

At Homeboy Industries, we seek to tell each person this truth: they are exactly what God had in mind when God made them—and then we watch, from this privileged place, as people inhabit this truth. Nothing is the same again. No bullet can pierce this, no prison walls can keep this out. And death can’t touch it—it is just that huge.

Gateway to Action & Contemplation:
What word or phrase resonates with or challenges me? What sensations do I notice in my body? What is mine to do?

Prayer for Our Community:
O Great Love, thank you for living and loving in us and through us. May all that we do flow from our deep connection with you and all beings. Help us become a community that vulnerably shares each other’s burdens and the weight of glory. Listen to our hearts’ longings for the healing of our world. [Please add your own intentions.] . . . Knowing you are hearing us better than we are speaking, we offer these prayers in all the holy names of God, amen.

Listen to Fr. Richard read the prayer.

Story from Our Community:
Our street has become even more [of a community] with our doors shut during the pandemic. We have begun to emerge every Sunday evening with musicians on both ends [of the street], trumpets calling one end to the other, young, old, playing instruments, songs, still distancing, smiles appearing. It has been haunting and beautiful. –Kathleen S.

Share your own story with us.

Gregory Boyle, Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion (Free Press: 2010), 187, 188, 190, 192–193.

Epigraph: Barking to the Choir: The Power of Radical Kinship (Simon and Schuster: 2017), 51.

Devotion at the Center   Wednesday,  June 3, 2020

As Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929–1968) observed, one of the most segregated hours in the United States still occurs on Sunday mornings when we attend church services. [1] Yet as early as the 1940s, African-American writer and mystic Howard Thurman (1899–1981) was seeking to build a worshipping community across racial differences. In 1944, along with his white co-pastor Alfred Fisk (1905–1959), Thurman co-founded the Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples, the country’s first interracial, interfaith congregation. Reverend Thurman describes how the collective experience of God became the center of the community’s life, unifying people from many different backgrounds and cultural expressions.

Fellowship Church was a unique idea, fresh, untried. There were no precedents and no traditions to aid in structuring the present or gauging the future. Yet [my wife] Sue and I knew that all our accumulated experiences of the past had given us two crucial gifts for this undertaking: a profound conviction that meaningful and creative experiences between peoples can be more compelling than all the ideas, concepts, faiths, fears, ideologies, and prejudices that divide them; and absolute faith that if such experiences can be multiplied and sustained over a time interval of sufficient duration any barrier that separates one person from another can be undermined and eliminated. We were sure that the ground of such meaningful experiences could be provided by the widest possible associations around common interest and common concerns.

Moving out from this center of spiritual discovery many fresh avenues of involvement emerged. Art forms provided a natural expression. . . . And around all of these and other activities, one basic discovery was constantly surfacing—meaningful experiences of unity among peoples were more compelling than all that divided and separated. The sense of Presence was being manifest which in time would bring one to his or her own altar stairs leading each in [their] own way like Jacob’s ladder from earth to heaven.

Our worship became increasingly a celebration before God of life lived during the week; the daily life and the period of worship were one . . . rhythm. Increasing numbers of people who were engaged in the common life of the city of San Francisco found in the church restoration, inspiration, and courage for their work on behalf of social change in the community. The worship experience became a watering hole for this widely diverse and often disparate group of members and visitors from many walks of life.

It was not long before I realized that what I had learned and experienced as to the meaning of love had to be communicated as a witness to the God in me and in our personal conduct as a witnessing congregation.

What had I learned about love? One of the central things was that the experience of being understood by another was of primary importance. Somewhere deep within was a “place” beyond all faults and virtues that had to be confirmed before I could run the risk of opening my life up to another. To find ultimate security in an ultimate vulnerability, this is to be loved.

Gateway to Action & Contemplation:
What word or phrase resonates with or challenges me? What sensations do I notice in my body? What is mine to do?

Prayer for Our Community:
O Great Love, thank you for living and loving in us and through us. May all that we do flow from our deep connection with you and all beings. Help us become a community that vulnerably shares each other’s burdens and the weight of glory. Listen to our hearts’ longings for the healing of our world. [Please add your own intentions.] . . . Knowing you are hearing us better than we are speaking, we offer these prayers in all the holy names of God, amen.

Listen to Fr. Richard read the prayer.

Story from Our Community:
Our street has become even more [of a community] with our doors shut during the pandemic. We have begun to emerge every Sunday evening with musicians on both ends [of the street], trumpets calling one end to the other, young, old, playing instruments, songs, still distancing, smiles appearing. It has been haunting and beautiful. –Kathleen S.

Share your own story with us.

[1] Martin Luther King, Jr., “Communism’s Challenge to Christianity,” Sermon (August 9, 1953). See The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Vol. VI: Advocate of the Social Gospel, September 1948–March 1963 (University of California Press: 2007), 149. To read more on this topic, see Cathy Lynn Grossman, “Sunday Is Still the Most Segregated Day of the Week,” America (January 16, 2015), https://www.americamagazine.org/content/all-things/sunday-still-most-segregated-day-week

Adapted from Howard Thurman, With Head and Heart: The Autobiography of Howard Thurman (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich: 1979), 144, 145–146, 148.

A New Power   Tuesday,  June 2, 2020

In an ideal sense, a community is a safe place. By protecting and nurturing the dignity of its members, the community is sustained even when challenged by external forces. Virgilio Elizondo (1935–2016), a Catholic priest and community organizer from San Antonio, Texas, compared communities formed among the marginalized in Latin America today with the earliest Christian communities. Working together in faith, they bring new life, hope, and dignity to their individual and corporate selves. Perhaps the current civil unrest we are experiencing across the nation is a cry for the same?

What happened in . . . parts of Latin America appears to be no less miraculous . . . than the spread and consequences of early Christianity itself. When the poor, the oppressed, and the marginated become aware of who they are in the Lord and begin their struggle for humanization, then the true liberation of humanity has begun. No matter how slow and difficult it might be . . . liberation will succeed, because no human power can keep Jesus in the tomb. . . . Not with the weapons of destruction will the converted poor triumph, but with the weapons of the power of selflessness and truth in the service of love.

An important element of this new power is that it is not power for the sake of personal gain, but power for the sake of all the oppressed, ignored, forgotten, and exploited members of society. The powerless are recouping power . . . the power of the gospel, which works for the betterment and liberation of all, especially those in greatest need.

In all this, prophecy is not just being spoken about; it is being lived out in ongoing confrontations by the previously powerless of society who now dare to go to the Jerusalems of today’s society: city hall, transnational corporations, boards of education, ecclesiastical offices. Those who had before simply accepted their state of exclusion and exploitation are now coming out of their tombs of substandard housing, disease-infected neighborhoods, economically enslaving jobs, schools that strengthened illiteracy, and churches that perpetuated segregation. Those who had been dead are now coming back to life.

In this awakening . . . renewed Christians are called to exercise a prophetic role. True prophecy is based upon a prophetic lifestyle, which of itself—wordlessly—confronts an ungodly society. It is this new lifestyle—this new way of relating with persons, goods, institutions, and God—that is itself an arresting alternative to the ways of the world.

Deep bonds often form during times of crisis, loss and uncertainty; people seek solidarity in human connection. What new communities and associations are being forged right now? How will they grow in the months and years ahead? What lifestyle changes and prophetic actions are being called forth by the new realities created by Covid-19?

Gateway to Action & Contemplation:
What word or phrase resonates with or challenges me? What sensations do I notice in my body? What is mine to do?

Prayer for Our Community:
O Great Love, thank you for living and loving in us and through us. May all that we do flow from our deep connection with you and all beings. Help us become a community that vulnerably shares each other’s burdens and the weight of glory. Listen to our hearts’ longings for the healing of our world. [Please add your own intentions.] . . . Knowing you are hearing us better than we are speaking, we offer these prayers in all the holy names of God, amen.

Listen to Fr. Richard read the prayer.

Story from Our Community:
Our street has become even more [of a community] with our doors shut during the pandemic. We have begun to emerge every Sunday evening with musicians on both ends [of the street], trumpets calling one end to the other, young, old, playing instruments, songs, still distancing, smiles appearing. It has been haunting and beautiful. –Kathleen S.

Share your own story with us.

Virgilio Elizondo, Galilean Journey: The Mexican-American Promise (Orbis Books: 2000), 118–119.

Community as Alternative Consciousness   Monday,  June 1, 2020

The goal of the spiritual journey is to discover and move toward connectedness on ever new levels. We may begin by making little connections with other people, with nature and animals, then grow into deeper connectedness with people. Finally, we can experience full connectedness as union with God. Remember, how you do anything is how you do everything. Without connectedness and communion, we don’t exist fully as our truest selves. Becoming who we really are is a matter of learning how to become more and more deeply connected.

The spiritual experience is about trusting that when you stop holding yourself, Inherent Goodness will still uphold you. Many of us call that God, but you don’t have to. It is the trusting that is important. When you fall into such Primal Love, you realize that everything is foundationally okay. Unfortunately, this confidence is often absent in our world especially under conditions of great upheaval and suffering.

Foundational love gives us hope and allows us to trust “what is” as the jumping-off point, no matter how unsteady it feels. It allows us to work together toward “what can be.” The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus shows us what’s fully possible. God will always bring yet more life and wholeness out of seeming chaos and death. In the words of Timothy Gorringe and Rosie Beckham, “Faith in the resurrection is the ground on which Christians hope for a different future, a transition to a society less destructive, more peaceful and more whole. Living in this hope . . . calls ekklesia [the assembly of Christians] to live as a ‘contrast community’ to society.” [1]

Building such “contrast” communities was precisely Paul’s missionary strategy. You can see it throughout the New Testament. Paul believed that small communities of Jesus’ followers would make the Gospel message believable: Jesus is Lord (rather than Caesar is Lord); sharing abundance and living in simplicity (rather than hoarding wealth); nonviolence and chosen suffering (rather than aligning with power). Paul was very practical. He taught that our faith must take actual form in a living, loving group of people. Otherwise, love is just a theory.

Paul seems to think that corporate evil can only be confronted or overcome with corporate good. He knows that a love-transformed individual can do little against what he calls “the powers and the principalities,” or what some of us call the “system.” Our collective consciousness deems such institutions “too big to fail.” We are mostly oblivious to these forces because we take them as normative and in fact absolutely necessary. Cultural blind spots can only be overcome by a group of people affirming and supporting one another in an alternative consciousness. Thankfully, we’re now seeing many people, religious and secular, from all around the world, coming together to form alternative systems for sharing resources, living simply, and imagining a sustainable future. It has been one of the spiritual gifts of the pandemic. God never misses a chance to help us grow up.

Gateway to Action & Contemplation:
What word or phrase resonates with or challenges me? What sensations do I notice in my body? What is mine to do?

Prayer for Our Community:
O Great Love, thank you for living and loving in us and through us. May all that we do flow from our deep connection with you and all beings. Help us become a community that vulnerably shares each other’s burdens and the weight of glory. Listen to our hearts’ longings for the healing of our world. [Please add your own intentions.] . . . Knowing you are hearing us better than we are speaking, we offer these prayers in all the holy names of God, amen.

Listen to Fr. Richard read the prayer.

Story from Our Community:
Our street has become even more [of a community] with our doors shut during the pandemic. We have begun to emerge every Sunday evening with musicians on both ends [of the street], trumpets calling one end to the other, young, old, playing instruments, songs, still distancing, smiles appearing. It has been haunting and beautiful. –Kathleen S.

Share your own story with us.

[1] Timothy Gorringe and Rosie Beckham, Transition Movement for Churches (Canterbury Press: 2013), 79.

Adapted from Richard Rohr, Essential Teachings on Love, (Orbis: 2018), 101-105; and

Richard Rohr, Creating Christian Community (CAC: 1994), MP3 download; and

Great Themes of Paul: Life as Participation, disc 9 (Franciscan Media: 2002), CD.

Common Ground and Purpose   Sunday,  May 31, 2020   Pentecost Sunday

It’s sad to say, but for centuries the Christian vision was narrowed to what we have today—a preoccupation with private salvation. Our “personal relationship with Jesus” seems to be based on a very small notion of Christ. We’ve modeled church after a service station where members attend weekly services to “fill up” on their faith. We’ve commodified the very notion of salvation.

People want something more from church than membership. They long for a spiritual home that connects with their whole life, not just somewhere to go on Sunday morning. Church is meant to be a place that nurtures and supports individuals along their full journey toward the ultimate goal: a lived experience of the communion of saints, a shared life together as one family, the Reign of God “on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).

Too often, the formal church has been unable to create any authentic practical community, especially over the last half-century. In response, we see the emergence of new faith communities seeking to return to this foundational definition of church. These may not look like our versions of traditional “church,” but they often exemplify the kinds of actual community that Jesus, Paul, and early Christians envisioned. People are gathering digitally and in person today through neighborhood associations, study groups, community gardens, social services, and volunteer groups. They’re seeking creative ways of coming together, nurturing connection, of healing and whole-making. The “invisible” church might be doing this just as much, if not more, than the visible one. The Holy Spirit is humble and seems to work best anonymously. I suspect that is why the Holy Spirit is often pictured as a simple bird or blowing wind that is here one minute and seemingly gone and then nowhere (John 3:8).

It’s all too easy to project unrealistic expectations on any community. No group can meet all our needs as individuals for emotional, mental, and physical well-being. The human psyche needs space and healthy boundaries and not co-dependent groupings. I certainly learned this lesson myself through my participation in the New Jerusalem Community in Cincinnati in the 1970s and 80s, and even earlier as a Franciscan brother. Almost any community can serve as an excellent school for growth, character, and conversion, even though it may not be a permanent “home” for many reasons.

So what makes a good community? The remainder of this week we’ll look at a few of the factors that contribute to healthy, whole communities. Our very survival as a faith tradition, not to mention a species, might just depend upon this. Remember, the isolated individual is fragile and largely helpless to evoke long-term change or renewal. By ourselves, we can accomplish very little. We must find common ground and common purpose to move forward. It was Jesus’ first and foundational definition of church and even divine presence—“two or three gathered together” in the right spirit (Matthew 18:20), and “I am there”—just as much as in bread or Bible!

Gateway to Action & Contemplation:
What word or phrase resonates with or challenges me? What sensations do I notice in my body? What is mine to do?

Prayer for Our Community:
O Great Love, thank you for living and loving in us and through us. May all that we do flow from our deep connection with you and all beings. Help us become a community that vulnerably shares each other’s burdens and the weight of glory. Listen to our hearts’ longings for the healing of our world. [Please add your own intentions.] . . . Knowing you are hearing us better than we are speaking, we offer these prayers in all the holy names of God, amen.

Listen to Fr. Richard read the prayer.

Story from Our Community:
Our street has become even more [of a community] with our doors shut during the pandemic. We have begun to emerge every Sunday evening with musicians on both ends [of the street], trumpets calling one end to the other, young, old, playing instruments, songs, still distancing, smiles appearing. It has been haunting and beautiful. –Kathleen S.

Share your own story with us.

Adapted from Richard Rohr, Essential Teachings on Love, (Orbis: 2018), 101-105; and

Near Occasions of Grace, (Orbis Books: 1993), 14; 50–51.

Image credit: Dorothy Day, by Julie Lonneman. Used with permission of the artist. Julie Lonneman was a member of the New Jerusalem Community in Cincinnati, Ohio, founded by Fr. Richard Rohr in the early 1970s.

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CONSPIRE 2020

The capstone conference in a seven-year series on Richard Rohr’s alternative orthodoxy

Discover your place in the emerging contemplative community of people who are committed to the intentional work of personal transformation, embodied practice, and engaged living. Learn and dialogue with our core faculty—Cynthia Bourgeault, James Finley, Barbara Holmes, Brian McLaren, and Richard Rohr—teaching together for the first time.

CONSPIRE 2020 will be a capstone experience uniting Richard Rohr’s seven themes of alternative orthodoxy to create a gateway into practical and authentic contemplation—a way of life rooted in radical openness to God’s loving presence. From this vulnerable place, things like adversity, disruption, and suffering become sources of transformation, greater love, and connection.

Register now for the CONSPIRE 2020 Webcast

CONSPIRE 2020
Friday, May 15 – Sunday, May 17

In-person registrations are currently sold-out. If you are interested in attending we encourage you to sign-up for the waitlist.

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Learn about contemplative prayer and other forms of meditation. For frequently asked questions—such as what versions of the Bible Father Richard recommends or how to ensure you receive every meditation—please see our email FAQ.

Join the CAC team!

Friends,

Thanks to Fr. Richard’s vision and inspiration, CAC is in the midst of an exciting phase of growth and renewal as an organization, laying foundations that will enable us to offer the transformative teachings of contemplative Christianity and to nurture right action for generations to come. Right now, we have an opening for a Chief Operating Officer and several other high-level opportunities to join our growing team.

If you or others you know would be excited at the chance to help bring CAC’s mission and message to life, please visit our website and pass the news along!

With gratitude,
Michael Poffenberger
Executive Director

New Faculty Websites

The Center for Action and Contemplation is honored to support our core faculty by amplifying their voices through the Living School, online courses, events, and publications. Our growing community of supporters allows us to invest in new platforms and programs, making our teachers’ work more accessible. We believe the Christian contemplative tradition can transform hearts and minds. We are committed to making this wisdom available to as many people as possible.

As part of these efforts, we are excited to announce Cynthia Bourgeault and James Finley’s new websites! Visit their virtual homes and browse their writings, recordings, and other resources. Sign up for Cynthia and Jim’s emails to stay informed of all they’re doing beyond their collaborations with CAC.

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News from New Mexico

Reflections from the Living School Symposium

Image of core faculty at the Living School symposium holding boxs that read "order" "disorder" and "reorder"

We’re still unpacking the gifts of last month’s annual Living School symposium! Richard Rohr, Cynthia Bourgeault, and James Finley gave us so much to think about—Trinity, the cosmic Christ, restorative justice, and more. Students moved into brave space within their small groups and gatherings for LGBTQ folks and people of color. We bow in gratitude to those who shared vulnerably during a moving Centering the Margins ritual. Through deep listening, Theater of the Oppressed exercises, chanting, contemplative practices, and an exuberant dance party, we opened our hearts, minds, and bodies.

1,000,000 Downloads!

Podcast banner reads "another name for every thing" with Richard Rohr

Soon after starting the second season of Another Name for Every Thing, we’ve already surpassed a million downloads. Thanks to all who are listening! The message of The Universal Christ continues to reach people who are longing for a more inclusive and compassionate Christianity. These conversations between Richard, Paul, and Brie are wonderful introductions to an alternative orthodoxy and practical spirituality. Invite others to listen to new episodes each Saturday for free at cac.org/podcast or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Share the Universal Christ

Do you know someone who’s struggling to reconcile their experience of a loving God with injustice and exclusionary theology? Share your own story and resources to support a friend’s journey through order, disorder, and reorder.

We’re also excited to announce we’ve lowered the price on The Universal Christ: How a Forgotten Reality Can Change Everything We See, Hope For, and Believe, the latest book from Richard Rohr. For a limited time you can save $10 when you order the Universal Christ bundle featuring a copy of the book, a companion guide, and an issue of Oneing dedicated to the theme of the Universal Christ. Or buy just the book for a savings of $6.

Reader Favorites:
Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditations

  • A New Cosmology: Thomas Aquinas wrote, “Any mistake we make about creation will also be a mistake about God.” We are called to make the paradigm shift to an utterly new cosmology and worldview.
  • Nonviolence Works: How is it that many Christians have managed to avoid what Jesus actually taught about nonviolence? Perhaps we think his teaching is nice in theory but impractical in real life.
  • The Perennial Tradition and Welcoming Prayer: Unfiltered encounters with the divine are hallmarks of the Perennial Tradition. Contemplative practice is anything we do that intentionally opens our hearts, minds, and bodies to Love.

Find additional meditations by Father Richard in the online archive.

Richard Rohr and podcast co-hosts Paul Swanson and Brie Stoner

Season two of our podcast Another Name for Every Thing is here! Listen in as hosts Brie Stoner and Paul Swanson join Richard Rohr in a casual conversation responding to listener questions from his new book, The Universal Christ. Over the course of twelve episodes they’ll explore how to live the wisdom of the Christian contemplative tradition amidst the shifting state of our world.

Subscribe to get the latest episode every Saturday on iTunesSpotify, and other podcast apps—or listen at cac.org/podcasts.

Learn more and register at cac.org/online-ed. (No application needed!)

Introducing Opie

Richard Rohr seated at table with his dog Opie by his feet

Some of Fr. Richard’s closest companions have been dogs—Peanut Butter, from his days in New Jerusalem, Gubbio, and Venus, who passed away a couple years ago. Their unconditional love has often kept him connected to Life and God.

We are happy to share that Richard recently adopted another dog! Richard shares how Opie came into his life

In June a small circle of us were watching my interview with Oprah Winfrey on SuperSoul Sunday when Judy called (I couldn’t believe she wasn’t watching me on TV!) to say she’d found the perfect dog for me. Ever since Venus died, Judy had been looking for a good match. This time it seemed right for so many reasons.

The shelter could only hold the two-year-old Jack Russell Terrier for an hour, so even before the interview was done airing, Elias and I left to meet him. As we were driving, Elias asked, “Is there a masculine form of Oprah?” And I said “Opie!” Fans of the Andy Griffith show may also remember Opie as the model little boy, played by Ron Howard, who loved Andy.

All the stars aligned, and I have now enjoyed Opie’s company (immensely!) for a couple months. Because I am a senior citizen and have a good dog record, I got him for a mere $15! He paid me back in the first hour with affection and adoration. He is frequently in various states of ecstasy, so I probably should have named him after one of our ecstatic mystics.

Reader Favorites:
Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditations

  • Prayer of GratitudePrayer is sitting in the silence until it silences us, choosing gratitude until we are grateful, and praising God until we ourselves are an act of praise. Mature prayer always breaks into gratitude. —Richard Rohr
  • Opening the Doors of My BeingWe learn how to wait, to ready the mind and the spirit. It is here that I learn to listen, to swing wide the very doors of my being, to clean out the corners and the crevices of my life—so that when God’s Presence invades, I am free to enjoy God coming to God’s self in me. —Howard Thurman
  • ImagesGod is bread when you’re hungry, water when you’re thirsty, a harbor from the storm. God’s father to the fatherless, a mother to the motherless. God’s my sister, my brother, my leader, my guide, my teacher, my comforter, my friend. . . . God’s my all in all, my everything. —Thea Bowman

Find additional meditations by Father Richard in the online archive.

A Monthly Newsletter from the Center for Action and Contemplation

Living School for Action and Contemplation

Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. —Howard Thurman

Our faculty—Cynthia Bourgeault, James Finley, Barbara Holmes, and Richard Rohr—guide students through a formation experience rooted in a Christian lineage of contemplative practice, rigorous study, and meaningful engagement. The two-year program includes online course work and four gatherings in New Mexico.

Admissions are now open for the 2020–2022 cohort. Begin your discernment process at cac.org/living-school.

Another Name for Every Thing

Image of Richard Rohr and Another Name For Everything podcast hosts gathered around a table to record the podcast.

Season 2 is coming soon!

Richard, Brie, and Paul have been exploring questions stirred by the first season of our new podcast on the Universal Christ. Thanks to all who shared their wonderings that fed more rich conversations! Watch for bonus episodes and Season 2 later this summer. If you haven’t yet listened to the first season, find all twelve episodes at cac.org/podcast.

Reader Favorites:
Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditations

  • Archetypal Feminine: God and Christ are beyond gender, and all humans are a blend of masculine and feminine traits. But because Western Christianity and culture have primarily worshipped male images, it’s important to reclaim and honor female wisdom.
  • She Is Love: “My God is an incarnate feminine power, who smells like vanilla and is full of sass and truth, delivered with kindness. She’ll do anything for her creation; her love is fierce.” —Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis
  • How We Love: Jesus commands us to “Love our neighbors as we love ourselves.” It is the same Source and the same Love that allows each of us to love ourself, others, and God at the same time!

Find additional meditations by Father Richard in the online archive.

Thank you for helping us grow our online community!

We recently passed 300,000 subscribers to Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditations! Since 2008 when we started sending these free emails, our readers have been our primary evangelists—bringers of good news. Thank you for sharing Fr. Richard’s messages with others who seek a more inclusive, loving, and engaged spirituality. In honor of this milestone, revisit one of your favorite Daily Meditations and send it to someone you care about. Invite them to sign up for the free daily or weekly emails at cac.org/sign-up.

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Back in Stock

Two of our favorite titles sold out almost as soon as they were released last fall. We restocked and have copies enough to share—whether you didn’t get a chance to order them for yourself or would like to give them as gifts!

An image of the cover Oneing: Politics and Religion

In our culture, “Politics and Religion” are taboo topics, themes that seem to stir debate and division. At the CAC, we often hear that politics and religion don’t go together. Yet Jesus himself was clearly political—speaking truth to power, working for justice, seeking equality and inclusion for the marginalized. If we are to follow Jesus, we must engage in these hard conversations with a contemplative approach. This issue of CAC’s journal, Oneing, explores this timely integration with articles by Richard Rohr, Joan Chittister, Rose Marie Berger, Simone Campbell, angel Kyodo williams, and others.

In this small volume of meditations, Father Richard offers simple wisdom to ground us in the blessed, beautiful reality of “what is.” The contemplative mind does not tell us what to see; it teaches us how to see what we behold. Just This is a perfect companion for “Politics and Religion,” a practical guide to nurturing the non-dual consciousness required for bridging our differences.

An image of the new Richard Rohr book, Just This.

Join us for contemplative prayer!

Facebook LIVE

The first Tuesday of each month, join the Center for Action and Contemplation for 20 minutes of silent meditation, sharing our intentions, and being in each other’s and Love’s presence. Watch for the live video on our Facebook page!

Reader Favorites:
Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditations

  • Universal Restoration: We must have a God at least as big as the universe, or else our view of God becomes irrelevant, constricted, and more harmful than helpful.
  • Prayer of the Heart: Next time a resentment, negativity, or irritation comes into your mind, and you want to play it out or attach to it, move that thought or person literally into your heart space.
  • Christ is Everyman and Everywoman: Matter and Spirit must be found to be inseparable in Christ before we have the courage and insight to acknowledge and honor the same in ourselves and in the entire universe. 

Find additional meditations by Father Richard in the online archive.

The Mendicant

In God, our self is no longer its own center. There is a death of the self-centered and self-sufficient ego. In its place is awakened a new and liberated self which loves and acts in the Spirit. 
—Richard Rohr, “Mirror and Mask”  

Enjoy the Center for Action and Contemplation’s quarterly print newsletter online! The February issue features articles by Richard Rohr, Living School student Darlene Ortega, donor Kate Hampton, and staff member Paul Swanson. Read The Mendicant at cac.org.

Reader Favorites:
Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditations

I am always inspired by Fr. Rohr’s posts because he takes me beyond religion! He opens my eyes to what I have always known in my heart. God is Love! Period. —Doe G.

  • Who Was Jesus?: We must understand Jesus in his social, cultural, political, and economic context.
  • At-One-Ment, Not Atonement: Jesus did not come to change the mind of God about humanity (it did not need changing). Jesus came to change the mind of humanity about God.
  • The Lost Tradition of Contemplation: The Spirit planted inside us yearns for and responds to God. Contemplation helps us become attuned and surrendered to this process.

Find additional meditations by Richard Rohr in the online archive.

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“People have good reasons to be angry and afraid. Racism, poverty, climate change, and so many other injustices are causing real suffering. But we cannot fight violence with violence. Only the contemplative mind has the ability to hold light and dark together; only unitive consciousness allows transformation at the deepest levels.”

–Richard

For the latest courses at the CAC, follow this link:

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