Daily Riches: “Practicing the Presence” (Peter Scazzero and Thomas Merton)

“As emotionally mature Christian adults, we recognize that loving well is the essence of true spirituality. This requires that we experience connection with God, with ourselves, and with other people. God invites us to practice his presence in our daily lives. At the same time, he invites us “to practice the presence of people,” within an awareness of his presence, in our daily relationships. The two are rarely brought together. Jesus’ profound, contemplative prayer life with his Father resulted in a contemplative presence with people. Love is ‘to reveal the beauty of another person to themselves,’ wrote Jean Vanier. Jesus did that with each person he met. We see this in his interaction with the woman with a twelve year bleeding problem in Mark 5. This ability to really listen and pay attention to people was at the very heart of his mission. It could not help but move him to compassion. In the same way, out of our contemplative time with God, we too, are invited to be prayerfully present to people, revealing their beauty to themselves. The religious leaders of Jesus’ day, the ‘church leaders’ of that time, never made that connection.” Peter Scazzero

“Our contemplative practice is a ‘laboratory’ in which we learn to die to our passing emotions and thoughts and to receive the always-permanent Divine gaze. The rest of our life becomes the field in which we live out this participation in Love, bouncing back the gaze of grace to the Other and then having plenty left over for all others besides.” Richard Rohr

“But the goal of our instruction is love….” 1 Timothy 1:5

Moving From Head to Heart

  • When you think of the “essence of true spirituality”, to you think first of “loving well?”
  • Does being “present” to God make you more effective at being “present” to others?  and vice versa? Does either increase your compassion?
  • Is your love for others what is “left over” from your “participation in Love” with God?
  • Have you tried a contemplative approach to your faith? If not, what is stopping you?

Abba, teach me to receive and return your loving gaze as a starting point in being a person who loves.

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For More: The Daily Office by Peter Scazzero

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God, and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. Thanks!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

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