Monday, August 26, 2013

the contemplative loop

Sculpture by Jeanne Dueber, SL

" ... Sooner or later (usually sooner) our plan for contemplative living leads us directly into all the obstacles, within and without, which undermine our efforts. Those of us who have been on this contemplative journey for very long know full well how ineffective our plans for contemplative living tend to be. We can look back over our shoulder to see a trail of abandoned spiritualities, like so many cars that have run out of gas. Each, for an enthusiastic moment, seeming to be the long awaited point of arrival. Each leaving us, all too quickly, once again a malcontent in discovering ourselves to be, even after all our efforts, our plain old distracted self.

"But the realization of the extent to which our path seems to be paved with the shards of enthusiastic beginnings come to naught is not the only shortcoming to be faced. For this is, as well, the shortcoming of self-absorption. If we are not careful our efforts to commit ourselves to living a more contemplative way of life become suspiciously limited to an exclusionary process of attempting to rise above or leave behind all that is broken and lost within ourselves and others. In such approach our very efforts to overcome our ignorance become sublimated variations of the ignorance we are attempting to overcome."

- Jim Finley, The Contemplative Heart,  pp. 38-39


  1. I find this very perceptive, Beth. We seem to spend so much of our time merely changing into "nicer" masks. They are usually just as self-deluding as those we discard.


Christ in the Rubble

The Rev. Munther Isaac lighting a candle next to an improvised crèche this month in the West Bank city of Bethlehem. Credit... Samar Hazboun...