Contemplative Monk : Intentional Spirituality Transforms

Presence cuts to the Heart of the Matter


Photo Credit: Bob Holmes

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience. ~ Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Let me say something to you that I hope will allow you see with new eyes.

Whereas for the Buddhist, the beginning is enlightenment. Enlightenment is not the Buddhist goal. It is the beginning of living an enlightened life.

So for the Christian, the beginning is eternal life. Eternal life is not our goal. Eternal life is our beginning as we receive Jesus. This is what being born again really means. This is the Christ life we live.

So, every morning we begin again, by cultivating this eternal life of Jesus in us, by being present with Him, by abiding in ‘the vine,’ by mutual dwelling. We cultivate the presence of God.

Brother Lawerence called this practicing the presence of God.

Jesus said, “You will realize…I am in you and you are in me.” And things like, “You are the light of the world. You are the salt of the earth.”

These are things of being, of Presence, first and foremost. This is what and who we are at rest, before we ever take a step.

Let me repeat it. This is who we really are, and live out of, in becoming. We manifest Jesus Christ to the world, like chinks of light through our broken mess as we are being transformed:

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

So dwell, cultivate and practice Presence. As Teresa of Avila said it so well:

Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.

And now may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with us all forevermore. ~ Amen.


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  • I love the wisdom of Brother Lawrence and I love these words too:”We manifest Jesus Christ to the world, like chinks of light through our broken mess as we are being transformed” Amen! He shines through the cracks and crevices of our woundedness as His grace leaks into each part. Thank you for another lovely, helpful post. Bless you 🙂

  • Thank You! You’re awesome Joy!

  • mountainserenity .

    Yes, a spiritual being having a human experience! When we learn to BE and confront our need to DO, we’re making progress as spiritual beings! But that process, of course, will put us in deep conflict with what we are taught in the world. But it is essential to our spiritual enlightenment. My practice of centering prayer changed everything for me. Subtly, softly, outside my awareness. I’ll never forget the day I realized my relentless thoughts had given way to a rested state of being in which I could sit quietly with my toddler granddaughter and just be present to her and “play.” Time did not exist. Oh, the joy that flooded my soul! That still floods my soul when I think of the gifts God brings through the simple practice of silent prayer.

  • That’s beautiful! Thank You so much!

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