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Pondering the Paradox

The Gospel accepts the essentially tragic nature of human existence; it is willing to bear the contradictions that are imprinted on all of reality. …It is contact with Reality that finally heals us. And contemplation, quite simply, is meeting reality in its most simple, immediate, and paradoxical forms. It is the resolving of those seeming contradictions that characterizes the mystics, the saints, the prophets, and all those who pray.

- Richard Rohr, OFM




Many of us have sat together in direction and reckoned with these exact questions in the particular contexts of our personal circumstances. We confront our experience of reality as paradoxical. We suffer the tragedy that is human existence – ours and others’ – while simultaneously experiencing, remembering, or hoping for joy, tenderness, beauty, mercy, and love.


Spiritual direction is a practice of contemplation. We name reality as we have come to know it so far. We wonder together over its contradictions. We journey toward discovery of how reality – which we might rightly call the Christ – lives in and through and for us. We explore how the Christ-mystery – the incarnation of God, life itself, suffering, death, and, at long last, resurrection life – is the shape of our own ordinary extra-ordinary lives.


♥ What are some of the contradictions that you are wresting with in your life? How do you understand God today, in light of these contradictions?

♥ What wisdom or insight or grace do you desire? Might you be willing to sit still in the invisible presence of God with your own simple, immediate, paradoxical reality, and see what arises in you?

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