A Rule of Life

Contemplative Practices/Holy Habits:

Introduction (Part Two)

BLOG 19 March 9,2021

Before we rest into the various practices themselves (over the coming weeks). I think it is important we understand that no practice is contemplative, none produce contemplation. In fact, one can make the argument that no person is truly contemplative. The reason being that only God brings us to contemplation, which is a dynamic of being not doing. No practice we do, regardless of how proficient we become, actually makes us contemplative. That being said every Christian as one who is “in Christ Jesus” can know God’s grace of contemplation, of simply being in the midst of the One who truly is, the Great I Am, God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. There has been a lot of thought, over the millennia, on the practices that form a Rule of Life, and being graced by God with contemplation. This is an important consideration as the many Christian’s, over the centuries who have been recognized as contemplative have also been those who have developed a consistent, solid, Rule of Life. A Rule of Life that disposes and awaken us to God’s holy draw has shown much evidence indicating it to be an effective way of life making us more available, sensitive to, and awakened to the Lord’s draw into contemplation. This is not so much a way of life that helps us respond to God’s draw, albeit that is part, but a way of life by which we become conscious of our humble state, which gives us a sort of mystical receptivity to God’s glory, producing spontaneous surrender that eliminates the pride that undergirds trying to seek union with God on our own, from our own feeble attempts to be holy. In other words, when we become open, undefensive, in the moment, as God’s child, humble and surrendered, we have come to a liminal place where God’s gift of contemplation simply happens with no effort of our own. The practices that have helped us, guided by the Holy Spirit as those in Christ Jesus, can bring us to this liminal place, at the precipice of God’s final holy draw into contemplation. Over the years many have tried to articulate the movement that comes by way of practices in cooperation with God’s grace and the pure grace of God that draws into true contemplation.

The first being referred to as acquired contemplation. Practices that bring us to the liminal place before God as we cooperate with God’s grace. This is the Rule of Life of which we will speak more about next week. The second is that of infused contemplation, which is nothing of us but a pure act of grace by God. Again, I would argue that what is referred to as acquired contemplation because it is of us, by our own efforts, albeit in cooperation with the Holy Spirit, is not pure contemplation, for pure contemplation is an act of God’s grace alone, God does it, this is infused contemplation. Although, the part we do in cooperation with God’s grace (acquired contemplation) has been proven to be of tremendous value. To come to the point of infused contemplation it appears that God, for the vast majority of us, makes the way straight for the union we seek by way of the practices that form our Rule of Life. It appears the practices change us by becoming a way for us to declare our intention before God to become open to God’s grace of simply being in God, in Christ Jesus. The practices that form a Rule of Life thus purify, empower, and give truth to our declaration of intent that proclaims that our sole wish is to simply be aware of God’s presecne, to be in Christ Jesus, nothing more and nothing less. We make a soul declaration to God that we wish to simply be, in solitude, in silence, in stillness and to be set free in the spacious mystery who is God.

"Be still, and know that I am God!

NRS Psalm 46:10a

This is the blessed way for those who no longer merely read Scripture but live it. No longer just pray but become prayer. No longer impose any aspect of themselves apart from tat which stands lock step with the will of God, on any other person. Holy inner harmony, Shalom. Fully alive human sprits soaked in the Holy Spirit, healed expanding souls uniting with God inwardly and outwardly, bringing forth the fullness of a renewed mind and transformed body, a body which becomes the seed of the imperishable eternal body. It is glory of God, which is humanity fully alive and the glory of humanity, which is to see God, united in an eternal kenotic flow, as vessels through whom God who is Love flows into a broken world. That of which I am feebly speaking is the way of the Christian mystical journey in Christ Jesus. Historically, this inevitably begins when we declare our intention before God that we truly desire the contemplative way. This way has traditionally begun with the development of a Rule of Life, which we will begin to discuss in our next BLOG post, titled, “Developing a Rule of Life.” Until then may God bless you all.

Gene Yotka

Featured Posts
Recent Posts