contemplative monk : Intentional Spirituality Transforms

Silence: The Prayer of Rest

Punchbowl-Falls-Eagle-Creek-Oregon

Our restoration begins as we move into our rest in Christ finished work, and live out of our wholeness in him. 

Contemplation is engaging silence with our spirit.

We all want and need rest. Our brokenness complicates everything. It fractures within us and in every relationship around us. We’re constantly looking for a way out of this mess.

We develop all kinds of  strategies to keep us going. We even put a religious face on it, to make it look good. But like a tower of Babel, ‘it all falls down.’ It can even become like a black hole in our soul, sucking all the life and light into the darkness as we build our dysfunctional structures over it, to keep it at bay. But it ultimately all fails us. We need a way out, and suicide is only a temporary solution to an eternal problem.

Bear with me if you know this: When Jesus says, “I Am The Way, The Truth, and The Life,” He means it. Jesus is your way to a new life. And it’s not just a one-time thing, to get your ticket punched for heaven. It’s the lifestyle of eternity. That’s why He says, “Come to me all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest...”

So we die daily, in our spiritual practice, to our old broken self, our soul, so that we might live to our spirit. This is huge. This is the turning point. This is the language of all mystics. We can’t fix it. But in Jesus, we not only transcend it, we enter and live the eternal life of God our Father, in and through Him.

Contemplation is the prayer of rest.

When we enter the vast eternal presence of God, we enter rest. Our spirit can breathe. Our soul stands outside gazing in wonderment that it can never understand, on this side of eternity.

Again, here is the critical point, we’ve got to die to ourselves to enter in. This is what meditation and all spiritual practices are about…Letting go, emptying ourselves, dying to ourselves. Only our spirit, our breath, our essence, our presence, who we really are, can cross the threshold into the eternal.

Create Spiritual Practices

Build spiritual disciplines that cause rest to explode into your soul.

Spiritual disciplines are ways to exercise our spirit after all.

Here’s the deal. Our soul, left to itself, will create vast networks of circular reasoning, closed systems of thought that, like a man made diamond appears real but isn’t the real deal. Why? Our soul, because it is broken, and full of the knowledge of good and evil, will always give you more than you asked for, more systems, more disciplines, more ways to please God, more and more hoops to jump through.

Our Spirit Simplifies Everything.

Now here it is: Jesus simply says, “It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh (our old self) accomplishes nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit and they are life.”  Jesus’s words carry life, like portholes into the eternal. We can get all caught up and lost in the context, the meanings, and the forms, and not enter in. But the point here is that it’s the spirit and not the soul that gives life.

Dive on in. The water’s fine!

~*~*~*~

Picture: Punchbowl Falls

 

 

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  • This: “we’ve got to die to ourselves to enter in” echoes words from Richard Rohr that I’ve been reading recently. The death feels dreadful until we realise it’s actually a key into life itself, real life like we’ve never known it before, vital and nurturing. Last year I spent a lot of time pondering on rest and much of it ties in with your ideas here. Who knew that rest could be so hard yet so sublime? Thank you for sharing these contemplative insights. Bless you, Bob!

  • Beautifully said Joy! Thank you for sharing.

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