January 9th, 2018 by Dave Leave a reply »

The Lost Tradition of Contemplation
Tuesday, January 9, 2018

The awesome and even presumptuous message of divinization is found in the Judeo-Christian story of Creation: we are “created in the image and likeness of God” (Genesis 1:27 and 5:2). Many tomes of theology have been written to clarify this claim, and this is theologians’ primary consensus: “Image” is our objective DNA that marks us as creatures of God from the very beginning. “Likeness” is our personal appropriation and gradual realization of this utterly free gift of the image of God. It’s all too easy to recognize our daily unlikeness to God in ourselves and others, so we have a hard time believing this could be true in ourselves or others. But some form of contemplative practice will allow us to rest in and trust this deeper and truest self.
Actually, who you are in God and who God is in you is the only self that has ever existed. It’s the only self that exists right now. The trouble is, most people don’t know it. It’s not their fault; we just have not given them the tools they need to connect with who they really are. The dualistic and argumentative mind will never get you there. Thus we have an identity crisis on a massive scale!
The contemplative mind has not been systematically taught in the West for the last five hundred years. The Spanish Carmelites Teresa of Ávila (1515-1582) and John of the Cross (1542-1591) were the last well-known teachers of contemplative awareness in European thought. With the so-called “Enlightenment” and the argumentative Reformation, Western Christianity almost abandoned contemplation in favor of dualistic thinking and its own strange form of “rational” thought, which actually produced fundamentalism in both its Catholic and Protestant forms. Thomas Merton (1915-1968) felt that even the monasteries no longer taught the contemplative mind in any systematic way, as monks just “said prayers” with their old dualistic minds. Without contemplation, there is not much depth or interiority to Christianity. It is just beliefs and belonging systems. That is probably why the Reformation was so necessary. Unfortunately, reacting to unjust or unhealthy systems with only dualistic thinking will produce more of the same.
You cannot know God the way you know anything else; you only know God or the soul of anything subject to subject, center to center, by a process of “mirroring” where like knows like and love knows love—“deep calling unto deep” (Psalm 42:7). The Divine Spirit planted deep inside each of us yearns for and responds to God—and vice versa (see James 4:5). The contemplative is deeply attuned and surrendered to this process.
We are not so much human beings trying to become spiritual. We’re already inherently spiritual beings and our job is learning how to be good humans! I believe that’s why Jesus came as a human being: not to teach us how to go to heaven, but to teach us how to be a fully alive human being here on this earth.


Prayerful Inner-Searching
By Oswald Chambers

May your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless… —1 Thessalonians 5:23
“Your whole spirit….” The great, mysterious work of the Holy Spirit is in the deep recesses of our being which we cannot reach. Read Psalm 139. The psalmist implies— “O Lord, You are the God of the early mornings, the God of the late nights, the God of the mountain peaks, and the God of the sea. But, my God, my soul has horizons further away than those of early mornings, deeper darkness than the nights of earth, higher peaks than any mountain peaks, greater depths than any sea in nature. You who are the God of all these, be my God. I cannot reach to the heights or to the depths; there are motives I cannot discover, dreams I cannot realize. My God, search me.”

Do we believe that God can fortify and protect our thought processes far beyond where we can go? “…the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). If this verse means cleansing only on our conscious level, may God have mercy on us. The man who has been dulled by sin will say that he is not even conscious of it. But the cleansing from sin we experience will reach to the heights and depths of our spirit if we will “walk in the light as He is in the light” (1 John 1:7). The same Spirit that fed the life of Jesus Christ will feed the life of our spirit. It is only when we are protected by God with the miraculous sacredness of the Holy Spirit that our spirit, soul, and body can be preserved in pure uprightness until the coming of Jesus-no longer condemned in God’s sight.

We should more frequently allow our minds to meditate on these great, massive truths of God.


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