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Sanctuary of Presence

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Richard Rohr wrote: "The presence of God is infinite, everywhere, always, and forever. You cannot not be in the presence of God. There’s no other place to be. It is we who are not present to Presence." In this reflection we will explore what it means to be present to Presence.

Opening music:

Listen to the following piece of music as an opening prayer.

Song for the BrideBrian Doerksen
00:00 / 03:23


I have longed to hold you in My arms
And take all of your fear away
I will take your filthy rags
And make them clean
If you'll receive My love
If you will receive My love
Return to Me and hear My Spirit say
"In repentance and rest is your salvation
In quietness and trust is your strength."

Reflection Talk:


Read the following passages through twice or three times, and listen for any word or phrase that seems to be inviting you to linger with it.

Reading 1: Matthew 28:20

"Behold (know this experientially): I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

Reading 2: Psalm 16

(From Psalms for Praying by Nan C. Merrill)

Remain ever before me, O Loving Presence, for in You am I safe.

You are my Beloved; in You I find my refuge.

I look to those who are at one with You and learn from them of your ways;

My delight increases each time I sense Your presence within me!

Love is my chosen food, my cup, holding me in its power.

Where I have come from, wherever I shall go,

Love is my birthright, my true estate.

I bless the Counsellor who guides my way;

Even in the night my heart instructs me.

I walk attentive to the Spirit of Truth;

Receptive and grateful for Your guiding light.

Thus my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices.

I shall not be afraid, nor fall into the pit of despair;

In Love's presence there is fullness of joy.

You are my Beloved; in You will I live.

Quiet prayer 

I invite you into a time of quiet prayer, using the ten minute timer below which begins and ends with the sound of a gong. If you notice that you are caught up in thinking, gently let go of your thoughts and return to being present to Presence, using your awareness of your breath or your sacred word.

Quiet prayer
00:00 / 10:25

End the time of quiet prayer by listening to the following song:

Just breathe just beAlexa Sunshine Rose
00:00 / 05:04


Come now child, lay it down

Just breathe, just be

Come be cradled in the arms of love

Just breathe, just be

For further reflection:

Below are the readings from the talk and some additional readings for further reflection on this theme.

Richard Rohr describes the present moment as "the place where everything happens, and the place that never seems like it's enough. We always think that the future is going to get better, but all that is needed for wholeness, for freedom, is in the now".

He also wrote: "The presence of God is infinite, everywhere, always, and forever. You cannot not be in the presence of God. There’s no other place to be. It is we who are not present to Presence."

Isaiah 30:15 “In returning and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength”.

Brother Lawrence: “If I so much as pick up something that’s dropped on the ground, I find joy in doing it for God.” …

"My thoughts are the biggest obstacles to this way of living my life. The little useless thoughts that drift through my head, making mischief, distracting me. I’ve learned to reject them as soon as I notice them. They have nothing to do with the reality at hand, and once I stop paying attention to them, I can get back to communing with God."

Jean-Pierre de Caussade: "If we have abandoned ourselves to God, there is only one rule for us: the duty of the present moment. In this the soul is light as a feather, liquid as water, simple as a child."

Russ Hudson: "Any moment that we are present, we are being fed. The grace that we receive when we are present feels like being nourished— our soul and heart being nourished by reality. If we are with what is happening now, we are getting the ingredients that we need to arise, come together, and return. If we’re not present, no matter what experience we have, it will never satisfy our craving inside. What fulfils us is the quality of our openness, receptivity and attention in whatever experience we are having. It doesn’t come from the content of the experience."

Henri Nouwen: "Be sure to taste the moment to the full. The Lord always reveals himself to you where you are most fully present."

Rupert Spira: "Make the now your refuge. It is the place of peace."

Ending prayer:

Beloved our God, let your Spirit,

who sings without sound and speaks without the clamour of words,

bring every truth of Your mysteries into our hearts.

And may we be animated and guided by your living Presence

in every breath we breathe, in every place we go, in every person we encounter.

"Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."


(based on a prayer by Thomas Merton and Matthew 28:20)

Ending music:

Here I amJohn Michael Talbot
00:00 / 05:26


Here I am
Standing right beside you
Here I am
Do not be afraid
Here I am
I'm waiting like a lover
I am here
Here I am.

Do not fear
When the tempter beckons
Do not fear
Even though you might fall
Do not fear
For I have conquered evil
Do not fear
Never be afraid.

Here I am…

I am here
In the face of every child
I am here
In every warm embrace
I am here
With tenderness and mercy
Her I am
I am here.

Here I am…

I am here
In the midst of every trial
I am here
In the face of your despair
I am here
In pardon and forgiveness
Here I am
I am here.

Here I am…

[Alternative lyrics]

Here I am in the beauty that surrounds you

Here I am, the Life within all life

Here I am, I hold all things in being

I am here, here I am

Here I am in the silence that enfolds you

Here I am, too close to comprehend,

Here I am, the Source of your becoming

I am here, here I am

Here I am, in the depths of your own being

Here I am, in the stillness that remains

Here I am, longing to love through you

I am here, here I am

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Sharon's book that was previously called "Contemplative Living" has been republished by AnamChara Books under the title "Deeper: Finding the Depth Dimension Beneath the Surface of Life". The Kindle version is available from Amazon, and the hard copy version can be ordered from or Takealot, or from your local bookshop through Ingram Distribution.

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