As I meditated upon this verse, I decided to google it. I came across this verse as reflected in the Message Bible.
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“You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.”
If I get my inside world right, then I will see God in the outside world!
What is my mind? What is my heart?
I turned to the dictionary for both. The heart is regarded as the center of a person’s thoughts and emotions, especially love or compassion, capacity for sympathy or generosity, compassion.
The mind is the part of a person that thinks, reasons, feels, and remembers.
Let’s put this together. If I think in terms of love and compassion and act in terms of love and compassion, I will see God in the outside world.
If you think about it, this is what Jesus was all about. The actions of Jesus were filled with love and compassion.
So, if I think in terms of love and compassion, I will see God in my outside world. I will see God because like Jesus, my actions will also be filled with love and compassion. My inside world will be in balance with the outside world.
If I cannot feel love in me, it will be more difficult to see love outside of me. When I no longer see love outside of me, it is time to do an internal check. What are my innermost thoughts? Are they anger, greed, jealousy, rage, frustration, fear?
If so, it is time to focus my mind on love and compassion so they can sink into my heart and become available for action in my outer world.
A contemplative practice such as centering prayer can aid in this process. A contemplative practice slows you down so you can conduct this very important internal check.
Contemplative practices will help you operate from your heart. This is where love and compassion live. This is where God lives.
What do you think?
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I just finished Presence and Process: A Path Toward Transformative Faith and Inclusive Community by Daniel P. Coleman and Intimacy with God: An Introduction To Centering Prayer by Thomas Keating. I am currently reading The Bible Makes Sense by Walter Brueggemann.
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David Frenette’s book The Path of Centering Prayer reenergized the Centering Prayer tradition with its fresh insights and teachings. Centering Prayer Meditations: Effortless Contemplation to Deepen Your Experience of God is a wonderful companion audio program created to be equally rewarding as a stand-alone guide – gives listeners an immersive resource to learn contemplative prayer, step by step and in the moment. With clarity and compassionate presence, Frenette explains the essential principles of this contemplative practice for both new and seasoned practitioners.
I use a Prayer Rope after each Centering Prayer Sit.
Centering Prayer is a silent prayer practice that can move you toward a profound relationship with the Spirit of God within. It is a way of praying that opens the door to the Divine Indwelling—the ground of our being. With Centering Prayer, Father Thomas Keating and his colleagues Gail Fitzpatrick-Hopler and Father Carl Arico present the first online course in this method for deepening your intimacy with God and ultimately consenting to the presence and action of the Divine in all aspects of your life.
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Since the time of the Desert Fathers in the third century, Finley begins, Christian mystics have practiced meditation as a way of opening to the direct presence of God in daily life. Legendary seekers such as Saint John of the Cross, Saint Teresa of Avila, and Meister Eckhart explored how meditation can lead us beyond the closed horizon of the ego, to an interior and holy refuge that is always available to us. On Christian Meditation, James Finley offers a gentle introduction to this all-transforming way of life, and the ever-deepening realization of oneness with Christ it leads us to. (Based upon his book, Christian Meditation.)
Check out my review of Christian Prayer Methods by Dr. Philip St. Romain.
Prepare to be immersed in the 1st Century A.D. context of the life, work, teachings, and actions of Jesus. Check out Simply Jesus by N. T. Wright. Enjoy an article I wrote about one of the lectures on the Beatitudes.
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