From Religion to Faith

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In explaining my recent path of divinity study and contemplation to my own children, I try to convey that I am moving toward something deeper in my secret heart and expanded in my consciousness. So while I participate in a church community, I also practice centering prayer and lectio divina and contemplative journaling.

These practices expand my approach and practice of seeking the divine. My religious grounding provides me with a ‘cataphatic’ (terminology that describes or refers to what the divine is believed to be), approach to the divine. Language and symbols that allow me to praise, to give thanks, to mourn and to otherwise celebrate the divine as tangible in my be-ing with others in community and the reality of the world. And it is in my letting go of expectations and assumptions about the divine in stillness and silence that I seek an ‘apophatic’ (Divine essence is unknowable or ineffable; human language is inadequate to describe the divine) approach to the divine. It is in this way that I ground myself in authentic be-ing that enriches the cataphatic by nurturing it and empowering it to, in turn, deepen my apophatic experience.

All talk of the divine – all language used to express it -merely hints at the deeper mysteries therein. When we cling to the language we are drawn into the ‘literal’ and too often that inspires a dualistic expression of what the divine is and what the divine is not. All around me I see the ways in which such efforts to harness the divine mystery lead us into exclusivity where there ought to be abundant inclusivity.

Language is used for self-expression first and foremost and is by its nature symbolic. Words help us make the imperceptible-perceptible. At their best, words have the power to illuminate beyond the perceptible- into depth – imperceptible- providing greater visibility. Language must be liberated to dwell between the ‘is’ and the ‘is not’ so as to empower the metaphorical and mystical nature of knowing the holy.

My faith approach to knowing the divine inspires me to stand in the tension of absence and presence, honor the mystery of stillness and silence, and approach the holy as it is encountered –through a glass darkly. As a result, my religious experience and expression is enlivened by the claritas of an open mind and open heart proclaiming ever more inclusively the deeper, mutual values of , with and in, belonging through divine co-creation.

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So that nothing may be lost….

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I find myself dwelling in the way my attention brings me to awareness, to witness  the many gifts of my life. It seems evident that the closer I attend to the present moment, the clearer the gifts of grace become. And so it is that I notice that as I give my attention to things interior, an intention toward a deeper reality a, more expansive, integrated way of knowing, evolves from the depths of the interior. In a way, my attention generates the space for my intention by opening me toward it. And as my intention grows clearer and stronger in the silent presence and reality of my interiority, it in turn, enriches, expands and directs my attention. All of this leads me to a greater place of awareness from where I glean the interconnectedness of me, others, life and creation. And so, I endeavor to attend ever more fully to this way of knowing as my intention strengthens through the nurturing presence of my attention. Nothing is lost as it is gathered and woven more intimately into my be-ing.

The Secret Heart’s Way of Knowing

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I have been spiritually discerning for a while and as I strengthen my inner awareness, knowing from the seat of my most secret heart reveals itself. It is from here that I discover more about resting in the divine as found in silence. More about listening, trusting, opening up and most important of all, letting go. These are the resources, the ways I learn to know from my secret heart. It is here that I awaken to all that is real and the nature of love.  This silent language of stillness originates in my secret heart and connects me to my deepest sense of identity within it.

My secret heart allows me to know and perceive life as connection and compassion- to taste wholeness. This invites me into a living connection, a sense of divine presence, blessing and wisdom. It is from here that I seek to move farther away from a spirituality that is about ‘the way’ and closer toward and deeper into a practice with, through and of ‘this way of knowing’.

A Desire To Be Whole

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I find myself really exploring my spirituality and confronting the paternalism of the world in all of its manifestations. For me, there are many injustices that seem to be connected to paternalism. I am wondering about the world’s interlocking oppressions and how spirituality may serve to liberate each of us and all of us.
My religious restlessness, is born of a need for nourishment of what I feel is the wisdom way of knowing that is ancient and deep. Nonetheless, for me it revolves around the eucharist and the invitation therein to live grace and truth which must begin by relinquishing any unjust power I hold and living to transform suffering and brokeness into solidarity and hope. THis begins by acknowledgeing my own brokeness and desire to be whole.
I want to better live this intention for all humanity and experience this intention as the call to emancipatory spirituality.
Perhaps this is just a long way of wondering if there might be something more in this and that in exploring that I might find a path toward self-emptying love and therein, my connection to all that is.