Becoming the Field

by Chris Koellhoffer, IHM, March 12, 2017

Right now, at this very moment, everything in the Universe is moving, vibrating, giving off energy in some form.  This astounding reality is one of many insights quantum physics and the new cosmology have broken open in recent years.  If you have any difficulty fully embracing this, observe how children and animals often intuitively sense a place of safety and goodness in a person they’re encountering for the very first time, and how they’re drawn to this positive energy.  Consider how the vibrational pulse of people in a room can change dramatically when one person with negative energy joins the conversation.  Or recall a time when, even if you couldn’t summon words to articulate or describe it, you knew yourself in the presence of peace and compassion through the energy field of another.

heartekg copyThis past week of offering a guided retreat for Maryknoll Sisters, I experienced a palpable sense of energy, a resonance with the mission of love and service these women have given over to the Universe: lives open to what Vatican II called “the joys, hopes, griefs and anxieties” of the people of this world; lives transformed by relationship to the other, to welcoming the other’s wisdom and insight and sense of the Holy.

Each morning and each afternoon of the retreat, we engaged in breathprayer, remembering how the Spirit of God hovered over the waters at the beginning of creation, breathing out breath that was generative, that summoned life.  In inhaling and exhaling, we sent our prayer and compassion and intention beyond the chapel.  Just like the singing bowl rung at the close of our breathprayer, we rang our love out into the Universe without knowing our reach or impact.  We simply trusted in the breathing and the sending.

At Maryknoll, a place made sacred by the lives of hundreds of missionaries, the theme of resonance kept returning to me long after the sounds of the singing bowl had diminished and disappeared.  All around the building were vibrations of images, photos and artwork from countries and cultures around the globe, each one speaking of energies invested and given over in love and sacrifice.

In our shared struggle to contribute to a world of tenderness and peace, Teilhard de Chardin might have been speaking of these vibrations when he wrote, “Our role is not only to ease suffering, bind up wounds, and feed the hungry, but through every form of effort to raise the powers of Love upward to the next stage of consciousness.”

To raise the powers of Love upward to the next consciousness.  To do this from wherever we may happen to live.  Isn’t this what Judy Cannato references in her beautiful IMG_1879 (2)work,  Field of Compassion?  She speaks of British biologist Rupert Sheldrake’s concept of morphogenic fields, in which “…the human person is a field of energy and information rooted in the body but extending out from the body, interacting with the energy and information of others.”  We humans, she asserts, have the ability to be aware of and to transform our energy fields by the choices we make.  We can, with God’s grace, alter the kinds of energy we pass on to the world around us.  Our call is to make enlightened and compassionate choices that resonate for the good of all.

Cannato asks a series of “What ifs” about these energy fields, this raising upward of the powers of Love:

“What if we experiment with the notion that what Jesus was about was the creation of…a morphogenic field, one that resonates with love and draws others like a magnet?

What if we could intentionally contribute to the fashioning of a field in which attitudes and speech and action flow out of the very best human beings can be?

What if we with great intentionality take up the challenge to love God and neighbor with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength?

What kind of morphic resonance would that create?
How would we change?
How would the world change?”


Imagine your life displayed as a collage of photos and artwork and words and images, an intimate glimpse into the fields of energy you have shared and are sharing with our world.

What do you see?  Hear?  Feel?

What kind of energy field are you giving out to the Universe?

How are you the presence of Love that invites others to see their beauty and worth?

Spend some time in silence giving thanks for the energies of Love within you and around you.


NOTE:  My deep thanks to the many who enriched and contributed to the retreat experiences offered during the past two weeks in Scranton, PA; Watchung, NJ;  Ossining, NY; and Sullivan County, NY, and to all of you who supported in prayer these sacred moments.

May I ask you to again surround the next round of retreat experiences with your prayer:

March 18:                   “Standing, Staying, Accompanying,”  St. Peter of Alcantara IHM  Center, Port Washington, NY
March 22:                   Social Justice Ministry, Christ the King parish, Springfield Gardens, NY
March 25-29:              “Walking with Jesus on the Lenten Journey,” parish mission at St. Susanna Church, Penn Hills, PA

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6 thoughts on “Becoming the Field”

  1. Chris, this touched a deep place in my heart and reflecting on it continues to challenge me to live from the Center of grace and peace within –more faithfully. Many thanks!

  2. Just reading this post. I am booking you now for anytime you say to pray in this way with a group. It feels like we experienced this very thing this afternoon in Sullivan County. Our words together at the singing bell at the conclusion spoke of this phenomenon. What a fitting reflection on the end of this day and this incredible week.

    1. Any time for you, Linda–I just have to honor all my Lenten commitments first! You are so right, we were deeply connected to raising the energies of Love upward in our retreat afternoon yesterday, and I was so very blessed to lead the time together in such good company.

  3. Dear Chris,

    What a wonderful ministry and gift you are to so many. You offer such hope in a time that surely needs that hope….and the call to uplift others by love of all creation and creatures of this planet. Thank you,

    I signed up yesterday for the Cape May retreat at the end of June. I hope to see you again there.

    Springtime blessings and joy,

    Mary Louise Chesley-Cora

    Hockessin, DE


    1. Dear Mary Louise,
      Thanks for your kind words, and know that hope is a mutual experience–my heart is strengthened and emboldened by connections with people like you. Hope to see you in June!

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