Oblate Program at Belmont Abbey, NC

Five Ways to Pray Always: Part 2, Contemplation

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[click here to view part one of this seven part series]

lghtbendict_webToday's Challenge: Contemplation

Those of us who live our Christian lives out "in the world" have to fashion a spirituality that fits our way of life without looking for a fast-food cop-out. Maybe we will choose to pray the rosary on the way to work--it's certainly better than much of the radio garbage polluting the airwaves these days! What is important is that we find creative ways to pray. We need to deepen our call to love and serve God in ourselves, our neighbors and in all of creation. And we don't have to become monks or nuns to do it.

The path before us may seem overwhelming at times, so we must choose a spiritual practice that will prepare us for the long haul. But that's O.K. The good news is that we do not have to hurry. God has graced us with a whole lifetime. But we have to turn off our mystical microwave for a while and begin the journey--one step at a time.

Our purpose here is not to give an overview of contemplative prayer. For that there are classical and contemporary authors who are masters on this topic. What we will do is to look at how to discover the contemplative dimension of everyday life, in other words, how to do the things we do each and every day with contemplative ease. The sun rising in the kitchen window, the walk to the post office, the church bell ringing on Sunday morning, the little niece's kiss on her uncle's cheek, the bright red tomato in the salad: They are all an opportunity to breathe deeply and "be filled with all the fullness of God" (Ephesians 3:19).

We will look at five dimensions of daily life: seeing, breathing, walking, eating and speaking. There is no trick or magic blessing to convert these raw materials of daily living into a life of contemplative ease. All we have to do is downshift our frenetic pace and begin to live with mindfulness, the prayerful awareness that all that is contains the fullness of God's glory. Each of us can be contemplative. The first of our five ways to pray always is by opening our eyes.

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"Reprinted from' Five Ways to Pray', St. Anthony Messenger, copyright 2008. Used by permission of St. Anthony Messenger Press, 28 W. Liberty St., Cincinnati, OH 45202; 800-488-0488. All rights reserved."

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