I found the phrase, ‘the world is my cloister’ in Richard Rohr’s devotions yesterday where he is writing of the Franciscan approach to life. It expresses so beautifully what I have been aware of during this transition month. I don’t see The Holy as something I experience when in seclusion, something out there, but as God’s presence vibrating everywhere, all the time. I’m to know myself within The Holy wherever I am, to live as Jesus lived, listening deeply to God wherever he was, wedding party or hilltop, dinner table or village well, temple or garden, always, always listening and responding.
I’ve spent hours in prayer and reflection during my Sabbath Leave, yet contemplative life is not about interior work for its own sake. It is about service, but Spirit led service. For years I’ve offered as Contemplative Fire’s elevator speech, “We help people slow down, listen to God and then live out of what they hear.” That’s another way of saying prayer/study/action or being/knowing/doing – our Rhythm of Life.
This fourth month has been about transitioning back into a life of action. The expression, ‘the world is our cloister’ makes sense to me. I don’t think I’m called out of the world, but called to get the world out of me so I can be alive, and listening to God while in the world.
I’m finding The Holy in the midst of everyday life. I’m at home in God’s Love wherever I am, be it a train station with police carrying machine guns, or a church, or a believing community, or in the beauty of nature, or in a landscaped garden, or walking the busy city streets, or watching the news. God is always present and I’m at home and hold internal peace. So now the time comes to move more clearly into busy ministry life, but still holding God’s peace within. Be Still …and Still Moving – that’s Rohr’s phrase for the week and couldn’t be better for me! Let our lives be still, and let our service come from that stillness, not compulsion, but from listening to the deep stillness.
The basic addiction of our culture is to activity. We must be busy. We’ve lost the ability to be quiet, to be still, to listen deeply. I don’t want to lose my slowness, my ability to listen and respond when I return next week. Pray for me! May I be a mystic whose motion is grounded in stillness.
Love and prayers
Mystic in Motion