Dear Fellow Mystics,

Thank you for blessing us with your presence as we joined together today in contemplation at our Releasing an Enslaved Spirit Big Sit event on Zoom. We are thankful to be united with all of our fellow contemplatives around the world.

Below you will find the scripture readings, songs, chants and reflections used in today's program. We appreciate your feedback, as it will help our future planning. Please click here to take a survey about our event. We value everything you share. Thank you for responding to it.

Upcoming Events:

July 16, 2022 Wisdom Teachers Panel – With Merton and Keating’s Roadmap, Where Do We Go from Here? Register here.

August 20, 2022 Divine Feminine Big Sit on Zoom 10 am-12 noon EST. Register here.

September 10, 2022 Body Presence and Contemplative Awareness: BioSpiritual Focusing Day of Presence on Zoom with Mike Smoolca. Register here.

We deeply appreciate your donations of any amount to our nonprofit chapter of Contemplative Outreach Ltd. They help defray our technology costs. You can donate here on our website. Thank you. 

We look forward to centering with you in the future. If you have any questions, email us here.

We are all one,

Leslie Geer, Julie Gordon, Melba Hill Pascal, Nayoung Kim, Bernadette Porche, Karen Thomas, James Schippers, and Maggie Winfrey

Coming Tuesday:

Click to watch the Releasing An Enslaved Spirit Big Sit again on COA's YouTube channel

Our opening and closing Zulu song for peace “Ukuthula” is available here

Lectio Divina Scripture:

"The spirit of the Lord is upon me because The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,

    because the Lord has anointed me

    to proclaim good news to the poor.

He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,

    to proclaim freedom for the captives

    and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor

    and the day of justice of our God,"  Isaiah 61:1-2 

Ending reading for Centering Prayer period at end of Lectio Divina:    

“as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:12-15

Taizé  History
The Taizé musicalform of worship was created by composer Jacques Berthier and the Taizé Brothers who, with Brother Roger Schutz, the community founder, dedicated their lives to ecumenical reconciliation. Brother Roger emphasized that the love of God and our fellow humans is the core meaning of our lives. He said, "A life of communion with God opens us to seek reconciliation with others and to commit ourselves to alleviate the sufferings of the poorest."  In the Taizé tradition, we become one with the music as a prayer beyond words.


Taizé Chant and video link here:

“Give peace to every heart.”

Reflection from Michael Battle:

Michael Battle shows us why Releasing an Enslaved Spirit is important, by quoting St. John of the Cross. St. John says:

“The soul that is attached to anything, however much good there may be in it, will not arrive at the liberty of divine union. For whether it be a strong wire rope or a slender and delicate thread that holds the bird, it matters not, if it really holds it fast. For, until the cord be broken the bird cannot fly.”  [1]

In his book named Ubuntu, Michael Battle teaches us how individualistic Christianity prevents us from seeing our fellow members as beloved. Ubuntu is the way forward for us to see each other united as one: in, with, and through God. He explains

“The lesson we learn from kindergarten children…and from Jesus when he makes us huddle up and go away to a quiet place—is that our primary relationships are not determined rationally, biologically, culturally, even logically. They are not determined in competition. In our individual consciousness we cannot see ourselves as primarily white people, black people, Irish people, women, men, low income, gay, conservative. Ubuntu reorients our vision. In our individual consciousness, we must learn to see self in the other—the greatest other being God. When we go into our closets [or inner rooms] and pray alone, we do not talk to ourselves…we acknowledge a community already present with us. We acknowledge a relatedness that only some have eyes to see. Our relatedness is in Christ…Isn’t this what we claim with our Christian life—that our interdependent nature changes us forever?” [2]

Reflection from Desmond Tutu:

My humanity is caught up, is inextricably bound up, in yours.” [3] He further states,A person with ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, for he or she has a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished.” [4]

Tutu explains our essence of being human in this video link here.  

Reflection from Howard Thurman:

“Give me the listening ear. I seek this day the ear that will not shrink from the word that corrects and admonishes - the word that holds up before me the image of myself that causes me to pause and reconsider - the word that challenges me to deeper consecration and higher resolve - the word that lays bare needs that make my own days uneasy, that seizes upon every good decent impulse of my nature, channeling it into paths of healing in the lives of others.

Give me the listening ear. I seek this day the disciplined mind, the disciplined heart, the discipline life that makes my ear the focus of attention through which I may become mindful of expressions of life foreign to my own. I seek the stimulation that lifts me out of old ruts and established habits which keep me conscious of my self, my needs, my personal interests.

Give me this day- the eye that is willing to see the meaning of the ordinary, the familiar, the commonplace - the eye that is willing to see my own faults for what they are - the eye that is willing to see the likable qualities in those I may not like - the mistake in what I thought was correct - the strength in what I had labeled as weakness. Give me the eye that is willing to see that Thou hast not left Thyself without a witness in every living thing. Thus, to walk with reverence and sensitiveness through all the days of my life.” [5]

Howard Thurman’s Prayer for courage from his Meditations of the Heart:

Dear Lord, I seek the courage to live – this day. How easily I slip into the mood that is desultory, that quietly informs my mind that tomorrow I can begin the new way, tomorrow I can make the fresh turning in my road. Courage to strike out on a path I have never trod before. Courage to make new friends, courage to yield myself to the full power of the dream, courage to yield my life with abiding enthusiasm to the spirit of God and the wide reaches of God’s creative undertaking among all the children of humanity. This I seek today. Give me the courage to live – this day! [6]

For more information about Howard Thurman, here is an 8-minute video.

[1] John of the Cross, Ascent of Mt. Carmel, Book One, 11

[2]Michael Battle, Ubuntu: I in You and You in Me, New York: Seabury Books, 2009,  page 13]

[3]  Mungi Ngomane, Everyday Ubuntu: Living Better Together, the African Way (New York: Harper Design, 2020), 13, 14

[4] Desmond Tutu, “The Quest for Peace,” address, Johannesburg, August 1986, quoted in Michael Battle, Ubuntu: I in You and You in Me (New York: Seabury Books, 2009), 83.Desmond Tutu, No Future without Forgiveness

[5] Howard Thurman, Meditations of the Heart, New York: Harper & Row, 1953, 208

[6] Ibid, 201

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