Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Becoming a contemplative...

There are several sources on Facebook (yes, Facebook!) that I rely upon for inspiration and encouragement in my faith: Shalem Institute and Contemplative Photography are two of them.  There are others.  Regularly they post quotes or reflections, along with photographs.  This is part of my reflection time during the day.

This morning I went looking for Shalem Institute's recent postings because nothing was coming up from them in my feed (which, by the way, many things don't show up in my feed.... but hey, that's Facebook).  I went to their page, scrolled down and found that they had posted their most recent quote 13 hours ago.  I cannot repost the picture, but it was a white dogwood tree budding in Spring.  (I may go take a picture of my own white [or pink] dogwood tree.)

As I read the quote (and re-read it), it struck me and resonated within me. 

Here it is:

"What is becoming more apparent by the day is that we must all become contemplatives, not merely in the way we reflect or pray, but in the way we live - awake, alert, engaged, ready to respond in love to the groanings of creation. Human life depends upon our living this way."

~ Judy Cannato, Radical Amazement
Wow!  This is a great way to put contemplative living.... as living "awake, alert, engaged, ready to respond in love to the groanings of creation." 
This is an author whom I know nothing about.  But that won't last very long.  From Judy's webpage [click here], I learned that she is no longer with us physically on this terrestrial ball, BUT that she was quite the author, speaker, and retreat leader.  Looking through the four books she wrote and the quotes from other authors on her books, I saw several authors I recognized recommending her.  Among them were Macrina Weiderkehr and Joyce Rupp.  I have just now added one of Judy's books to my Amazon wish list. ☺
I have grown into living a more contemplative life, living a more reflective life.  This is primarily taken place because I have put myself into situations that have allowed me time and space to listen, to be silent, to be in solitude. 
Jesus was a contemplative, taking time to get away for prayer.  This enabled him to be alert, engaged, and ready to respond in love to the groanings of all those he encountered daily. 
Contemplative living is part of the ebb and flow of the inner and outer journey.  What strikes me as odd I guess is that this isn't something I remember hearing about growing up or in my earlier years along the faith journey.  Maybe I heard it and didn't remember.  Or maybe folks didn't talk about it or didn't know about it.  I don't know.  
What I do know is that "contemplative" is part of the journey (at least my journey) in following Christ.  How can it not be when it includes prayer and reflection?!?! 
Now I have a new quote to add to the bunch to inspire me and press me onward, to help me flow from that inner to outer.
Thank you Judy Cannato for your words of inspiration!  Thank you Shalem Institute for once again posting a quote that caused reflection!
Blessings on your journey today,

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