SEEKING GOD

Why would I spend my time seeking God? As some sort of intellectual exercise? To test whether God exists? To escape my personal problems? To avoid ‘reality’? None of these. Simply love.

I have a strong desire to draw closer to my Creator. God, my creator and Eternal Father, and his Son, Jesus Christ my redeemer and advocate. “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” John 17:3 To know is not merely a matter of belief, of faith, though it may be at the beginning of the journey. Rather I am suggesting experience no matter how fleeting with The Divine. Knowing in a way that cannot be expressed through reason nor even expressed in words. William of St Thierry expressed it well, “Reason cannot see God, except that he is not…”. Pennington, A School of Love.   Pretty deep stuff but, really, open to all who seek.

As with any journey I start with the guidebook: the road map and rule book if you will. Those would be the Holy Scriptures: The Old and New Testaments, and additionally for Latter-Day Saints The Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants. Our church Sunday School curriculum this year focuses on the New Testament so that will be much of the basis of my personal scripture study.

Next I will seek out the wisdom and writings of modern-day apostles and prophets to frame my journey within the doctrine of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  In addition, I will consult former and current contemplatives from the Cistercian tradition and consider incorporating certain practices into my life as a lay person. I feel that my physical limitations preclude activity typical to Latter-Day Saints ie children and family life is the focus. My life situation, however, suits the life of prayer akin to contemplatives.

In the coming weeks and months I will be simplifying my worldly activities, social media involvement, downsize material possessions, and create a home environment of love, beauty and simplicity.   At the same time I will increase consistency and frequency of prayer and scripture time. Sounds idealized and impractical. Not suggesting to pull up a dumpster and toss the entire contents of my home into it (though attic stuff could probably qualify), and live on bread and water for the rest of my life. Merely saying that as I mature I feel I can live with less stuff and fewer worldly commitments. Moreover, physical impairment limit activities I can do with any regularity.  So why not turn limitation into a spiritual journey without limitations? We are all invited to “…lay aside the things of this world and seek for the things of a better” Doctrine and Covenants 25:10

 

Without God, life would end at the grave and our mortal experiences would have no purpose. Growth and progress would be temporary, accomplishment without value, challenges without meaning. There would be no ultimate right and wrong and no moral responsibility to care for one another as fellow children of God. Indeed, without God, there would be no mortal or eternal life.

Robert G Hales, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles “Seeking to Know God, Our Heavenly Father, and his Son, Jesus Christ” Ensign, October 2009.

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A Contemplative Life

I am a latter-day saint contemplative.  To me a contemplative is one who leads a very simple life that focuses on personal prayer, scripture study, solitude and contemplation. Contemplation is the active waiting for God to speak to our spirit.  In common parlance meditation and contemplation are used interchangeably, but I am using it how Roman Catholic contemplatives would explain it.   A future entry will delve greater into the differences between meditation and contemplation.

In this blog I will discuss my life as an LDS contemplative. What brought me to define myself this way?  How I practice my faith? And what insights I gain along the way?