I am currently reading The Wisdom Jesus: Transforming Heart and Mind – a New Perspective on Christ and His Message by Cynthia Bourgeault.
To provide some quick background, Bourgeault presents Jesus as a wisdom teacher: teacher of the path of inner transformation.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.” Mercy is not something God has; it’s something God is. We participate in this exchange. Brian Zahnd mentions that, “Mercy should be our default mode. In Jesus they found mercy.” Mercy means when a stranger comes to us and needs a meal, we provide one. Mercy means when we see a stranger freezing in the cold, we provide a coat or blanket. Mercy means when a distraught widow enters our church, we lend a listening ear.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” When we learn to see through the eyes of God, we are pure in heart. We can learn to develop this ability with the use of a contemplative practice: silent prayer, chanting, painting, walking meditation, photography. We cleanse our lens of perception and see without splitting the field into subject/object, right/wrong/, inside/outside and so on. Everything belongs as Richard Rohr says and it is wonderful and beautiful just the way it is.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.” When we are pure in heart, we no longer feel the need to divide the world into winner/loser, right/wrong, insider/outsider. Our interior peace naturally flows into our outer world. We seem to bring a peaceful, compassionate and empathetic presence into the world. I am sure you have met people who seem to have this wonderful disposition.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Jesus is talking about an interior freedom here. Cynthia mentions that the Gospel of Thomas captures the essence of this Beatitude. “Blessed are you in the midst of persecution who, When they hate and pursue you even to the core of your being, Cannot find “you” anywhere.” I am sure many people come to mind as you think about this: Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Dietrich Bonhoefffer. These are well-known, past public figures. I am certain there are lesser well known ones who walk amidst us on a daily basis who we can learn much from.
I hope you enjoyed this two part series on the Beatitudes. I invite you to read last week’s meditation if you did not get a chance to do so.
The Wisdom Jesus: Transforming Heart and Mind – a New Perspective on Christ and His Message by Cynthia Bourgeault.
The Way of the Wisdom Jesus: Going Beyond the Mind to the Heart of His Teaching – If you put aside what you think you know about Jesus and approach the Gospels as though for the first time, something remarkable happens: Jesus emerges as a teacher of the transformation of consciousness. In this online course, Episcopal priest, teacher, and retreat and conference leader Cynthia Bourgeault serves as a masterful guide to Jesus’s vision and to the traditional contemplative practices you can use to experience the heart of his teaching for yourself.
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Our friends at Contemplative Light are offering Contemplative Practices. This course examines in-depth traditional practices of the Christian mystics, including: The Examen, Centering Prayer, Lectio Divina, The Jesus Prayer and Christian Meditation.
I am currently taking on clients for Centering Prayer One on One Coaching sessions. I am happy to setup weekly, bi-weekly or monthly sessions with you over the phone or skype to help you go deeper into your centering prayer practice and integrate it into your daily life. Contact me for more information. The first session is 1/2 off.
I am currently reading The Wisdom Jesus: Transforming Heart and Mind – a New Perspective on Christ and His Message by Cynthia Bourgeault and Contemplative Living: An Invitation to a Deepening Journey by .
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. It is based on his book Simply Jesus. Enjoy an article I wrote about one of the lectures on the Beatitudes.
This course is a short course based on Prof. N.T. Wright’s latest book, Simply Good News. Tom Wright will guide you through the chapters of his book through videos that suggest what some of the main points are. You will instantly get into the heart of the idea of ‘good news’ as it was understood by the 1st Century writers of the New Testament. You will be brought into their world in order to make more sense of what ‘good news’ means in our world.
Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks – This is a great way to listen to books with your cell phone while you drive, walk or relax at home. I frequently listen in my car during my commute to and from work. I’m a proud affiliate.
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.
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.
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.)