Daily Riches: The Prayer of Consent (Francis Fenelon and Thomas Keating)

“What God asks of us is a will which is no longer divided between Him and any creature. It is a will pliant in His hands which neither seeks nor rejects anything, which wants without reserve whatever He wants and which never wants under any pretext anything that He does not want. …Happy are those who give themselves to God! …placing our will entirely in the hands of God, we want only what God wants, and thus we find His consolation in faith and consequently hope in the midst of all suffering. …Happy are those who throw themselves with bowed heads into the arms of the ‘Father of mercies’ and the ‘God of all consolation’.” Francis Fenelon

“Contemplative prayer is a deepening of faith that moves beyond thoughts and concepts. One just listens to God, open and receptive to the divine presence in one’s inmost being as its source. One listens not with a view to hearing something, but with a view to becoming aware of the obstacles to one’s friendship with God. …In contemplative prayer the Spirit places us in a position where we are at rest and disinclined to fight. …Little by little, we enter into prayer without intentionality except to consent… and consent becomes surrender … and surrender becomes total receptivity… and, as the process continues, total receptivity becomes effortless, peaceful.… It is free and has nothing to attain, to get, or desire … So, no thinking, no reflection, no desire, no words, no thing … just receptivity and consent.” Thomas Keating

“Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
as much as in obeying the Lord?
To obey is better than sacrifice,
and to heed is better than the fat of rams.”
1 Samuel 15:22

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Can you imagine being “pliant” in God’s hands, never wanting “anything that He does not want?”
  • Are you willing to listen in prayer “with a view to becoming aware of the obstacles to [your] friendship with God?” …becoming “disinclined to fight?”
  • Are you willing to enter into a kind of prayer that is permeated by only “receptivity and consent?” Imagine what that would look like.

Abba, draw me to you, so that I throw myself with a bowed head into your arms, surrendering to you–the God who loves me and desires only good for me–the God of all mercy and consolation.

For More: Devotional Classics by Richard Foster and James Bryan Smith

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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. 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)

Daily Riches: Activism, Justice and Contemplation (Joan Chittister, Thomas Keating, and Thomas Merton)

“Contemplation is a very dangerous activity. It not only brings us face to face with God. It brings us, as well, face to face with the world, face to face with the self. And then, of course, something must be done. Nothing stays the same once we have found the God within. We carry the world in our hearts: the oppression of all peoples, the suffering of our friends, the burdens of our enemies, the raping of the Earth, the hunger of the starving, the joy of every laughing child.” Joan Chittister

“Without profound purification, how far can social action actually extend? People involved in social action have a false self, too. They need to know the dynamics that are at work within them. Otherwise, social projects may fall apart, or they will suffer burnout.” Thomas Keating

“He who attempts to act and do things for others or for the world without deepening his own self-understanding, freedom, integrity, and capacity to love, will not have anything to give to others. He will communicate to them nothing but the contagion of his own obsessions, his aggressiveness, his ego-centered ambition, his delusions about ends and means.” Thomas Merton

“With what shall I come before the Lord
    and bow down before the exalted God?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
    with calves a year old?
Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
    with ten thousand rivers of olive oil?
Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression,
    the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:6-8

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Does your life with God cause you to “carry the world in your heart?” Does it convince you that “something must be done?”
  • Are you aware of the dangers for activists mentioned by Keating and Merton?
  • Are you seeking to “deepen your own self-understanding, freedom, integrity, and capacity to love” as an integral part of your “attempt to act and do things for others or for the world?”

Abba, keep me from a life of action that springs from aggressiveness, ambition or delusions. Help me walk with you, loving mercy … acting justly.

 

For More: Thomas Merton, Spiritual Master by Thomas Merton

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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. 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: The Constant Purification of Motive (Richard Rohr and Thomas Keating) *

“Whenever you perform a religious action publicly, it enhances your image as a good, moral person and has a strong social payoff. Jesus’ constant emphasis is on interior religiosity, on purifying motivation and intention. He tells us to clean the inside of the dish instead of being so preoccupied with cleaning the outside, with looking good (Matthew 23:25-26). The purifying of our intention and motivation is the basic way that we unite our inner and our outer worlds. (Please read that twice!) All through the spiritual journey, we should be asking ourselves, “Why am I doing this? Am I really doing this for God, for truth, or for others? Or am I doing it for hidden reasons?” The spiritual journey could be seen as a constant purification of motive until I can finally say, “I have no other reason to do anything except love of God and love of neighbor.” Richard Rohr

“In the Near East, centuries ago successive cultures built new cities on top of the last ones. … The ruins of these ancient cities built one on top of the other are called “tells.” The spiritual journey is like an archaeological dig through the various stages of our lives, from where we are now back through the midlife crisis, adult life, adolescence, puberty, early childhood, infancy. What happens if we allow that archaeological dig to continue? We feel that we are getting worse. But we are really not getting worse; we are just finding out how bad off we always were. That is an enormous grace. … What happens when we get to the bottom of the pile of our emotional debris? We are in divine union. There is no other obstacle.” Thomas Keating

“Be careful not to practice your righteousness
in front of others
to be seen by them.”
Jesus in Matthew 6:6

Moving From Head to Heart

  • “Am I really doing this for God, for truth, or for others? Or am I doing it for hidden reasons?” Do you regularly ask yourself these questions?
  • Have you experienced the “enormous grace” or sifting through your “pile of emotional debris?”
  • What practice can you adopt to help you focus on “interior” religion?

Abba, may all that I do be only for love.

__________

For More: The Human Condition by Thomas Keating

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In these “Daily Riches”  my goal is to give you something of uncommon value each day in 400 words or less. Thanks for your interest. When you find it useful, please share!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

 

Daily Riches: Contemplative Prayer and Friendship with God (Thomas Keating) *

“Contemplative prayer is a deepening of faith that moves beyond thoughts and concepts. One just listens to God, open and receptive to the divine presence in one’s inmost being as its source. One listens not with a view to hearing something, but with a view to becoming aware of the obstacles to one’s friendship with God.” Thomas Keating


To his disciples Jesus said:
“I no longer call you servants,
because a servant does not know
his master’s business.
Instead, I have called you friends,
for everything that I learned from my Father
I have made known to you. …

And to his Father Jesus said:
I have made you known to them,
and will continue to make you known
in order that the love you have for me
may be in them
and that I myself may be in them.”
John 15:15 and 17:26

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Sometimes we think of God mostly as “out there.” Keating suggests listening for God’s presence in your “inmost being.” Does that seem strange or wrong, or perhaps misguided, to you?
  • Can you wrap your head around the God of heaven being your “friend” and making his residence “in” you (something emphasized by Jesus in John 13-17)?
  • “One listens … with a view to becoming aware of the obstacles to one’s friendship with God.” Are you willing to listen that way? If so, what specific plan can you make to see that you follow through with your good intentions?

Abba, I can’t understand why you would long to be my friend, desire my affection, or condescend to live in me. As I’m able to bear it, and as I take time to listen to you, please show me the obstacles in my life that hinder our friendship.

__________

For More: The Human Condition by Thomas Keating

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The “Daily Riches” from RicherByFar are for your encouragement as you seek after God, and as he seeks after you. My goal is to give you something of uncommon value each day in 400 words or less. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it with others. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: Practicing Attentiveness to the Divine Presence Within (Thomas Keating and Gerald May) *

“Contemplative prayer begins to make us aware of the divine presence within us, the source of true happiness. As soon as we begin to taste the peace that comes from the regular practice of contemplative prayer, it relativizes the whole unreal world of demands and ‘shoulds,’ of aversions and desires that were based on emotional programs for happiness that might have worked for children, but that are, in fact, killing us.” Thomas Keating

“In one sense, quiet prayer is really nothing other than the practice of faithful attentiveness. I am not speaking here of meditation that in­volves guided imagery or scriptural reflections, but of a more contemplative practice in which one just sits still and stays awake with God. This kind of meditation is extremely difficult, especially in the midst of battles with addiction, because it gives us nothing special to do, no fancy ways to entertain our­selves or to escape from the simple truth of the moment. Attentive meditation can be a true ascetic practice. It is like fasting for the mind. One only sits there, inclined toward God, noticing the thoughts and sensations that come and go, adding nothing to them, subtracting nothing from them. The mind is allowed to be what it is, but it is seen. When properly practiced and truly graced, this kind of meditation—to the extent that we can bear it—can be very powerful in exposing and vaporizing mind tricks.” Gerald May

“On that day you will realize that I am in my Father,
and you are in me, and I am in you. …
The one who loves me will be loved by my Father,
and I too will love them and show myself to them.”
Jesus in John 14:20-21

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Can you identify “emotional programs for happiness” in place in your life that are “killing” you instead?
  • Do you believe the words of Jesus that as God’s child, God dwells in you? How often are you aware of this “divine presence within” you? Can you simply be “faithfully attentive” to it?
  • The regular practice of contemplative prayer “relativizes the whole unreal world of demands and ‘shoulds’…” and gives us peace. The world’s demands are relentless, so it is any wonder that this relativizing work must also be “regular” or relentless?
  • Is your practice of contemplative prayer helping you find peace, and expose and vaporize “mind tricks?”

Abba, help me to recognize and reject my emotional programs for happiness, as I regularly spend time in your presence and you lovingly put the world’s demands and desires into perspective for me. Help me to grow in my awareness of your divine presence in me, and find my happiness there.

__________

For More: The Human Condition by Thomas Keating

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“There is nothing new except what has been forgotten.” (Marie Antionette) , and thus “Men more often require to be reminded than informed.” (Samuel Johnson) The purpose of Daily Riches is to return again and again to a list of critical concepts at the core of the spiritual life. “Therefore, I will always remind you about these things—even though you [may] already know them and are standing firm in the truth you have been taught.” (2 Peter 1:12)  I appreciate your interest! When you find this helpful, please share! – Bill

Daily Riches: The Spiritual Journey is a Series of Humiliations (Thomas Keating and Richard Rohr) *

“The spiritual journey is not a career or a success story. It is a series of humiliations of the false self that become more and more profound. These make room inside us for the Holy Spirit to come in and heal. What prevents us from being available to God is gradually evacuated. We keep getting closer and closer to our center. Every now and then God lifts a corner of the veil and enters into our awareness through various channels, as if to say, ‘Here I am. Where are you? Come and Join me.'” Thomas Keating

“The path of descent is the path of transformation. Darkness, failure, relapse, death, and woundedness are our primary teachers, rather than ideas or doctrines.” Richard Rohr

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.
Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He lifts up;
and every branch that bears fruit,
He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.”
John 15:1,2 [my trans.]

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Are you able to think of the Christian journey as “a series of humiliations?”  as a painful cutting away? as a “path of descent?”
  • If the “false self” consists of all the masks we wear, our defense mechanisms and egocentric way of life, can you see why it must be “humiliated” or put in its place? Can you see the need for this in your life?
  • Can you see God’s good behind it (availability, fruitfulness, transformation) and hear his invitation: “Here I am. Where are you? Come and Join me.”?

Abba, thank you for seeking greater intimacy with me – for evacuating and pruning away what hinders me from that intimacy – and from fruitfulness. Here I am Lord, willing to embrace the necessary humiliation and loss to be made more whole.

__________

For More: The Human Condition: Contemplation and Transformation by Thomas Keating

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Thomas Merton’s goal is his writing is the same as mine in this blog: “The purpose of a book of meditations is to teach you how to think and not to do your thinking for you. Consequently if you pick up such a book and simply read it through, you are wasting your time. As soon as any thought stimulates your mind or your heart you can put the book down because your meditation has begun.” I’m not Thomas Merton (!), yet I hope these Daily Riches will lead you into much life-enriching mediation. – Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: The Limits of Patriotism (Thomas Keating, Parker Palmer and Os Guiness)

“This sort of spiritual discipline is a therapy for the tyranny of the false self … for our over-identification with family, nation, religion, or group. Of course we owe a measure of gratitude to our nation, religion, and family. But it is interesting that Jesus said that unless we hate our parents, we can’t be his disciples. By this he didn’t mean that we should not love and respect them and care for them in their old age, as commanded by the Fourth Commandment of the Torah, but that we should not have a naive loyalty to a particular group (even one’s family) that disregards injustices that need to be corrected.” Thomas Keating

“Our problem as Americans—at least, among my race and gender—is that we resist the very ideas of limits, regarding limits of all sorts as temporary and regrettable, impositions on our lives. Our national myth is about the endless defiance of limits…. We refuse to take no for an answer.” Parker Palmer

American Cultural Core Values: information, convenience, options, time maximization, comfort, feel good, independence, happiness, entertainment, instant gratification, skepticism, image, style, and control  –  Os Guiness

“…give back to Caesar
what is Caesar’s,
and to God
what is God’s.”
Jesus in Luke 20:25

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Are you loyal to any group (family, church, denomination, religion, political party, nation) in a naive, uncritical way? in a way that puts that group outside the reach of the prophetic voice of Scripture and its insistence on justice?
  • Does your gratitude for, or loyalty to, any of these groups allow you, or perhaps even cause you, to “disregard injustices that need to be corrected?”
  • Have you embraced our “national myth” as described by Parker Palmer? Can you see any weaknesses in that “mythology?”
  • How many of the “American Cultural Core Values” Os Guiness mentions do you embrace? Are you allowing your religious faith to critique these values? Take some time to consider that.

Abba, forgive my blindness, my careless assumptions and my cowardly silence. Help me to pledge uncritical allegiance and absolute loyalty to you alone – the God over all, and only savior.

__________

For More: The Human Condition by Thomas Keating 

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In “Daily Riches” my goal is to give you something of uncommon value each day in 400 words or less. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it with others. I appreciate it! –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

 

Daily Riches: The Constant Purification of Motive (Richard Rohr and Thomas Keating)

“Whenever you perform a religious action publicly, it enhances your image as a good, moral person and has a strong social payoff. Jesus’ constant emphasis is on interior religiosity, on purifying motivation and intention. He tells us to clean the inside of the dish instead of being so preoccupied with cleaning the outside, with looking good (Matthew 23:25-26). The purifying of our intention and motivation is the basic way that we unite our inner and our outer worlds. (Please read that twice!) All through the spiritual journey, we should be asking ourselves, “Why am I doing this? Am I really doing this for God, for truth, or for others? Or am I doing it for hidden reasons?” The spiritual journey could be seen as a constant purification of motive until I can finally say, “I have no other reason to do anything except love of God and love of neighbor.” Richard Rohr

“In the Near East, centuries ago successive cultures built new cities on top of the last ones. … The ruins of these ancient cities built one on top of the other are called “tells.” The spiritual journey is like an archaeological dig through the various stages of our lives, from where we are now back through the midlife crisis, adult life, adolescence, puberty, early childhood, infancy. What happens if we allow that archaeological dig to continue? We feel that we are getting worse. But we are really not getting worse; we are just finding out how bad off we always were. That is an enormous grace. … What happens when we get to the bottom of the pile of our emotional debris? We are in divine union. There is no other obstacle.” Thomas Keating

“Be careful not to practice your righteousness
in front of others
to be seen by them.”
Jesus in Matthew 6:6

Moving From Head to Heart

  • “Am I really doing this for God, for truth, or for others? Or am I doing it for hidden reasons?” Do you regularly ask yourself these questions?
  • Have you experienced the “enormous grace” or sifting through your “pile of emotional debris?”
  • What practice can you adopt to help you focus on “interior” religion?

Abba, may all that I do be only for love.

__________

For More: The Human Condition by Thomas Keating

_________________________________________________

In these “Daily Riches”  goal is to give you something of uncommon value each day. Thanks, and please share!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

 

Daily Riches: Contemplative Prayer and Friendship with God (Thomas Keating)

“Contemplative prayer is a deepening of faith that moves beyond thoughts and concepts. One just listens to God, open and receptive to the divine presence in one’s inmost being as its source. One listens not with a view to hearing something, but with a view to becoming aware of the obstacles to one’s friendship with God.” Thomas Keating


To his disciples Jesus said:
“I no longer call you servants,
because a servant does not know
his master’s business.
Instead, I have called you friends,
for everything that I learned from my Father
I have made known to you. …

And to his Father Jesus said:
I have made you known to them,
and will continue to make you known
in order that the love you have for me
may be in them
and that I myself may be in them.”
John 15:15 and 17:26

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Sometimes we think of God mostly as “out there.” Keating suggests listening for God’s presence in your “inmost being.” Does that seem strange or wrong, or perhaps misguided, to you?
  • Can you wrap your head around the God of heaven being your “friend” and making his residence “in” you (something emphasized by Jesus in John 13-17)?
  • “One listens … with a view to becoming aware of the obstacles to one’s friendship with God.” Are you willing to listen that way? If so, what specific plan can you make to see that you follow through with your good intentions?

Abba, I can’t understand why you would long to be my friend, desire my affection, or condescend to live in me. As I’m able to bear it, and as I take time to listen to you, please show me the obstacles in my life that hinder our friendship.

__________

For More: The Human Condition by Thomas Keating

_________________________________________________

The “Daily Riches” from RicherByFar are for your encouragement as you seek after God, and as he seeks after you. My goal is to give you something of uncommon value each day in less than 400 words. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it with others. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: The Practice of Contemplative Prayer (Thomas Keating)

“Contemplative prayer begins to make us aware of the divine presence within us, the source of true happiness. As soon as we begin to taste the peace that comes from the regular practice of contemplative prayer, it relativizes the whole unreal world of demands and ‘shoulds,’ of aversions and desires that were based on emotional programs for happiness that might have worked for children, but that are, in fact, killing us.” Thomas Keating

“On that day you will realize that I am in my Father,
and you are in me, and I am in you. …
The one who loves me will be loved by my Father,
and I too will love them and show myself to them.”
Jesus in John 14:20-21

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Can you identify “emotional programs for happiness” in place in your life that are “killing” you instead?
  • Do you believe the words of Jesus that as God’s child, God dwells in you? How often are you aware of this “divine presence within” you?
  • The regular practice of contemplative prayer “relativizes the whole unreal world of demands and ‘shoulds’…” and gives us peace. The world’s demands are relentless, so it is any wonder that this relativizing work must also be “regular” or relentless?
  • Are you finding peace and “true happiness” in regular contemplative prayer?

Abba, help me to recognize and reject my emotional programs for happiness, as I regularly spend time in your presence and you lovingly put the world’s demands and desires into perspective for me. Help me to grow in my awareness of your divine presence in me, and find my happiness there.

__________

For More: The Human Condition by Thomas Keating

_________________________________________________

The “Daily Riches” from RicherByFar are for your encouragement as you seek after God, and as he seeks after you. My goal is to give you something of uncommon value each day in less than 400 words. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it with others. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: Spiritual Formation (Thomas Keating)

“The spiritual journey is not a career or a success story. It is a series of humiliations of the false self that become more and more profound. These make room inside us for the Holy Spirit to come in and heal. What prevents us from being available to God is gradually evacuated. We keep getting closer and closer to our center. Every now and then God lifts a corner of the veil and enters into our awareness through various channels, as if to say, “Here I am. Where are you? Come and Join me.” Thomas Keating

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.
Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He lifts up;
and every branch that bears fruit,
He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.”
John 15:1,2 [my trans.]

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Are you able to think of the Christian journey as “a series of humiliations?”  of painful cutting away (“pruning”, “evacuating”)?
  • If the “false self” consists of all the masks we wear, our defense mechanisms and our egocentric approach to life, can you see why it needs to be “humiliated” or put in it’s place? Can you see the need for this in your own life?
  • Can you see God’s good behind it (more “available” to God, “more fruit”) and hear his invitation: “Here I am. Where are you? Come and Join me.”?

__________

For More: The Human Condition: Contemplation and Transformation by Thomas Keating

_________________________________________________

The “Daily Riches” from RicherByFar are for your encouragement as you seek after God, and as he seeks after you. My goal is to give you something of uncommon value each day in less than 400 words. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it with others. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)