The crux of Part 5 of our program on The Spiritual Journey is the fact that God doesn’t just show love, but God is love – that unconditional, self-giving disposition expressed in the Trinity. Because we are called by God to participate in the divine life, through the process of inner transformation, we discover that we too are love. We discover this because through the practice and grace of contemplative prayer, we access the presence of God within us and within all of creation. The grace in this discovery is in the letting go of attachments and our cultural conditioning, and in echoing a deep inner yes to God – our consent.
Fr. Thomas says, “We are not the same as when we began.” Richard Rohr says that God invites us into this mystery of who we already are in God, that love is not something we decide to do now and then. It’s who we are. The spiritual journey is about awakening to who we already are in God.
Who we are is God’s idea of who we are:
Do you not know that you are the temple of God,
and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
– 1 Corinthians 3:16
In the silence of the inner room we experience the presence of God who has always been with us and in us. We relate to God through the portal of contemplative prayer which deepens our relationship in trust and faith. This God, rather than being an onlooker in our lives, joins us in our joy and suffering. This God who Jesus taught us to embrace as Abba is close, concerned, nurturing, bending over us with boundless protection, tenderness and love.
Our experience in the inner room softens up our will to consent to the divine therapy where two things are taking place at the same time.
- Our consent to God’s presence affirms our basic core of goodness, leading to an increasing trust in God.
- Our consent to God’s action allows for the purification of the unconscious, the healing of our repressed emotional wounding.
The simultaneity of affirming our basic core of goodness and the purification of the unconsciousness makes room for the Fruits of the Spirit to emerge in our lives – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).
So whoever is in Christ is a new creation:
the old things have passed away;
behold, new things have come.
– 2 Corinthians 5:17
Centering Prayer comes out of the life of God moving within us… The source of Centering Prayer is the Trinity, the divine life within us…
Divine love, when it enters creation…becomes totally involved in creation because each creature expresses something of the beauty, goodness, and truth of the Eternal Word, the absolute fullness of God’s expression… Jesus Christ is the human manifestation of this extraordinary love… The Trinitarian relationships, of their very nature, invite us into the stream of divine love that is unconditional and totally self-surrendered. This boundless love emerges from the Father into the Son, and through the Son is communicated by the Spirit to all creation. The invitation is given to every human being to enter into the stream of divine love… As we let go of our false self, we move into this stream of love that is always flowing and bestowing endless gifts of grace. The more we open our capacity to receive, the more we can give. And as we give, we enlarge the space in us to receive still more.
-Thomas Keating, Reflections on the Unknowable
- As you have journeyed in this program – praying, watching, listening, reflecting – how has the grace of the presence and action of the God who is love and who joins you in your joy and suffering changed you, made you a new creation?