“Prayer does not blind us to the world, but it transforms our vision of the world, and makes us see it, all men, and all the history of mankind, in the light of God. To pray 'in spirit and in truth' enables us to enter into contact with that infinite love, that inscrutable freedom which is at work behind the complexities and the intricacies of human existence. This does not mean fabricating for ourselves pious rationalizations to explain everything that happens. It involves no surreptitious manipulation of the hard truths of life.” ― Thomas Merton, Contemplative Prayer Our “long, loving look at the Real” (thanks for that phrase, Walter Burghardt!) makes it possible to see more of reality. We don’t live in assumptions and defensive positions. Seeing the world “in the light of God” doesn’t make everything look rosy or super-spiritual. It brings us down to earth, to see the truth of ourselves and others (and God, as God relates to us!), as they are, in reality. When we think of mystics (often the people who, historically, have probably most practiced this kind of contemplation), we tend to think of heads in clouds, not quite living in the real world. But there is something profoundly real in this kind of prayer and attention, to God and the world. We meet people as they are, not as our preconceptions of them are. We recognize the truth of ourselves and it brings us to a place of humility—and confidence that we can be fully ourselves in a life drenched with grace. Our images of God are healed as we spend time with the God-who-is, not the one our experiences have led us to believe in; a reality in which we are loved in our deepest places, known, held, invited, and empowered. How do you find yourself longing to live more deeply into these realities? How might contemplative prayer be a gift for you in this season, a way of entering into reality, with God? How might it transform how you see the world and the people around you? What invitations are you sensing?

Posted by Jamie Bonilla at 2022-08-10 14:11:55 UTC