SLD ResourcesSpiritual Life Development

Contemplation in Action – by Richard Rohr & Friends

“Contemplation is not the avoidance of the problem, but a daily merging with the problem, and finding its full resolution.”

Contemplation-in-Action bookThe words “action” and “contemplation” seem to be exact opposites, but in a world weary of war and hungry for deeper meaning and direction author Richard Rohr helps us to find balance in his book, Contemplation in Action.

We live in an action-packed world where we live at neck-break speed. There has been a clarion call from today’s church to take a second look at the life of the Desert Fathers and Mothers by becoming more contemplative and allowing ourselves to live more attentive lives. The thought of contemplation and reflection conjures up thoughts of sitting in silence in God’s presence for concerted amounts of time. Certainly this aspect of contemplation must be first and foremost, but true faith must continue and flow through us. We need to sit still long enough to allow what we hear, read and experience to germinate in our souls. Where do we go from there? If we do not allow the seed of contemplation to germinate into missional acts we are no more than “navel gazers”.

One well-crafted definition of spiritual formation says, “The process by which we are conformed to the image of Christ for the sake of others.” (Robert Mulholland) We must always keep in full view the fact that our spiritual journey is “for the sake of other”.

Richard Rohr has compiled articles by a variety of writers that help us understand how we each can best live out Micah 6:8, “And what does the Lord require of you: to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.”

Contemplation in Action deals with subjects such as simplicity, restorative justice, living a life of nonviolence in a violent world and living incarnationally.

A life of contemplation and action that glorifies God takes attention to the balance of both. Tipping the scale to one side or the other can make us lose our spiritual equilibrium and God will not be glorified. Rohr puts it this way, “Avoiding people does not compute into love of God; being quiet and alone does not make you into a contemplative. Introversion and shyness are not the same as inner peace or communion. ‘Still waters run deep,’ they say, but water can be either very clear or quite toxic. Your practice must somehow include the problem. Prayer is not the avoiding of distractions, but precisely how you deal with distractions. Contemplation is not the avoidance of the problem, but a daily merging with the problem, and finding its full resolution.”

Allow Contemplation in Action to help your bring your inner self and outer service into harmony and balance.