Daily Riches: Becoming A New Person In Jesus Christ (Rowan Williams and Augustine)

“… contemplation is very far from being just one kind of thing that Christians do: it is the key to prayer, liturgy, art and ethics, the key to the essence of a renewed humanity that is capable of seeing the world and other subjects in the world with freedom—freedom from self-oriented, acquisitive habits and the distorted understanding that come from them. To put it boldly, contemplation is the only ultimate answer to the unreal and insane world that our financial systems and our advertising culture and our chaotic and unexamined emotions encourage us to inhabit. To learn contemplative prayer is to learn what we need so as to live truthfully and honestly and lovingly. It is a deeply revolutionary matter. …To be converted to the faith does not mean simply acquiring a new set of beliefs, but becoming a new person, a person in communion with God and others through Jesus Christ. Contemplation is an intrinsic element in this transforming process. To learn to look to God without regard to my own instant satisfaction, to learn to scrutinize and to relativise the cravings and fantasies that arise in me—this is to allow God to be God, and thus to allow the prayer of Christ, God’s own relation to God, to come alive in me. Invoking the Holy Spirit is a matter of asking the third person of the Trinity to enter my spirit and bring the clarity I need to see where I am in slavery to cravings and fantasies and to give me patience and stillness as God’s light and love penetrate my inner life. …And as this process unfolds, I become more free—to borrow a phrase of St. Augustine—to ‘love human beings in a human way,’ to love them not for what they may promise me, to love them not as if they were there to provide me with lasting safety and comfort, but as fragile fellow-creatures held in the love of God. I discover … how to see other persons and things for what they are in relation to God, not to me. And it is here that true justice as well as true love has its roots.

“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love …”
Ephesians 3:17

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • If you can, please read this again. Can you see why contemplation is so important and powerful?
  • Do you regularly practice contemplation?
  • If not, do you have another practice that promises the same results?

Abba, let me be rooted and held in your love for me.

For More: The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Address…” by Rowan Williams


Thank you for following and sharing my blog. I really appreciate it! Please leave a question or comment. – Bill

Daily Riches: A Life Uncluttered By Ambition (Wayne Simsic, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, St. Francis)

“Anyone who thinks that his time is too valuable to spend keeping quiet will eventually have no time for God and his brother, but only for himself and for his own follies.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“Responding to God’s presence like a child who trusted completely in a loving Parent, his relationship with God was spontaneous, uncluttered by ambition and calculation. Rather than promote his own agenda or hide behind fear, anxiousness, and other barriers to trust, [Saint] Francis humbly accepted the mystery of his life and relied on the guidance of the Spirit.” Wayne Simsic

“At some point when we’ve made ourselves available for service to God–for some kind of ministry or other–the question will arise, ‘Is this the best use of my time?’ It’s at the same time an unsurprising and provocative query. And just look at what underlies that question: ego, drivenness, a sense of hurry–striving. But in truth, as Francis demonstrated, it’s not necessary to keep busy. It’s necessary to ‘trust completely.’ It’s not necessary to accomplish anything. It’s necessary to ‘humbly accept the mystery of my life.’ It’s not necessary to be productive. It’s necessary to ‘rely on the guidance of the Spirit.’ My time is not so valuable. I’m not so necessary as I think. Any equation will be essentially unchanged by my absence. The way of St. Francis, ‘spontaneous, uncluttered by ambition and calculation’ rebukes my anxious way–my craving for an agenda, my insistence on significance. And Bonhoeffer’s insight is critical: ‘keeping quiet’–seemingly doing nothing, accomplishing nothing, producing nothing, is not only essential, but if ignored leads only to fruitlessness and folly. The ego always lurks nearby, insidious, subtly undoing the best intentions. Both St. Francis and Bonhoeffer insisted upon, and themselves lived, a contemplative life of faith–a life of ‘keeping quiet’ and ‘making time for God.’ Only such lives create a spaciousness where God can meet us in our folly, take us again into the clutch of his parental love, and purify us–making us useful after all.” William Britton

“I do not even judge myself.”
1 Corinthians 4:3
Moving From the Head to the Heart
  • How often are you aware of unconscious forces that affect your behavior? (e.g., ambition, drivenness, ego)
  • Does your behavior show that you grant too much importance to being “productive?” (Are you ever hurrying, obsessed with “calculation?”)
  • How can you practice humbly accepting “the mystery of this life” and relying on the “guidance of the Spirit?” How might that redefine “success?”

Abba, in the midst of my folly, meet me in your love, and purify me.

For More: The Wisdom of St. Francis by Wayne Simsic

Thanks for reading and sharing my blog! Please pray for God’s blessing on this ministry. – Bill

Daily Riches: The Only Safe Foundation for Spiritual Work (Evelyn Underhill)

“The beginning, then, of a strong and fruitful inner life … requires, not merely the acceptance but the full first-hand apprehension, of the ruling truth of the richly living spaceless and unchanging God; blazing in the spiritual sky, yet intimately present within the world of events, moulding and conditioning every phase of life. The religion of the priest, if it is to give power and convey certitude, must be from first to last a theocentric religion; and it must be fed by a devotional practice based upon that objective Power and Presence, and neither on your own subjective feelings, cravings, and needs, nor on the feelings, cravings, and needs of those among whom you work. … only a spirituality which thus puts the whole emphasis on the Reality of God, perpetually turning to Him, losing itself in Him, refusing to allow even the most pressing work or practical problems, even sin and failure, to distract from God, only this is a safe foundation for spiritual work. …The inner life means an ever-deepening awareness of all this: the slowly growing and concrete realization of a Life and a Spirit within us immeasurably exceeding our own, and absorbing, transmuting, supernaturalizing our lives by all ways and at all times. It means the loving sense of God, as so immeasurably beyond us as to keep us in a constant attitude of humblest awe and yet so deeply and closely with us, as to invite our clinging trust and loyal love.”

“apart from me you can do nothing”
Jesus in John 15:5

Moving From the Head to the Heart

Here are the questions that this reading forced me to ask:

  • Am I perpetually turning to God, losing myself in Him?”
  • Will I refuse to allow either pressing work or sinful failure to move my attention from God himself as my only “safe foundation for spiritual work?”
  • Is the life that I offer to others that which immeasurably exceeds my own? Is my life and ministry supernaturalized “by all ways and at all times?”
  • And then – Have I structured my days so that I “recollect myself” (Merton) or “recenter myself” on this God who must be my all in all if I am to keep from living “apart from” him?

Abba, may my faith be theocentric, my life supernaturalized, my heart perpetually turning to you.

For More: Concerning the Inner Life by Evelyn Underhill


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. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

Daily Riches: Contemplatives In the World (Mother Teresa and Richard Rohr) *

“We are called to be contemplatives in the heart of the world –

by seeking the face of God in everything,
everyone, everywhere, all the time,
and his hand in every happening;
seeing and adoring the presence of Jesus,
especially in the lowly appearance of bread,
and in the distressing disguise of the poor.”
Mother Teresa

“Contemplation is an exercise in keeping your heart and mind spaces open long enough for the mind to see other hidden material. It is content with the naked now and waits for futures given by God and grace. As such, a certain amount of love for an object and for myself most precede any full knowing of it.” Richard Rohr

“Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’”    Matthew 25:37-40

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • I love the phrase “contemplatives in the heart of the world.” Does this seem possible for you? What would it mean for you to be a contemplative in the world today?
  • Mother Teresa said, “If we were not in constant union with God, it would be impossible for us to endure the sacrifices that are required to live [in Calcutta] among the destitute.” Think about that phrase “constant union with God.” Is that concept on your radar?
  • Do you think to look for Jesus in the “distressing disguise of the poor?” If not, why not? How can you practice doing that?

Abba, help me to see and adore you “in the distressing disguise of the poor” – and in so many of your other disguises – the elderly, the child, the disfigured, the dirty, the widow, the orphan, the prisoner, the immigrant, the otherwise marginalized. I’m often so much more likely to judge or ignore than to adore.


For More: “An Urban Epiphany” – the article by Edwina Gateley in Daniel Clendenin’s blog Journey With Jesus.


Thanks for reading and sharing Richer By Far! I appreciate it.  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)