ENTICED THROUGH LOVE

Fr Richard Rohr OFM

please click image to go to Fr Richard Rohr’s Center for Action and Contemplation where you can choose to subscribe to his Daily Meditations

GOD ALWAYS ENTICES US THROUGH LOVE

Most of us were taught that God would love us if and when we change. In fact, God loves you so that you can change. What empowers change, what makes you desirous of change, is the experience of love and acceptance itself. This is the engine of change. If the mystics say that one way, they say it a thousand ways. But because most of our common religion has not been at the mystical level, we’ve been given an inferior message—that God loves you when you change (moralism). It puts it all back on you, which is the opposite of being “saved.” Moralism leads you back to “navel-gazing,” and you can never succeed at that level. You are never holy enough, pure enough, refined enough, or loving enough. Whereas, when you fall into God’s mercy, when you fall into God’s great generosity, you find, seemingly from nowhere, this capacity to change. No one is more surprised than you are. You know it is a total gift.

Richard Rohr OFM

FRESH AIR

FR RICHARD ROHR’S The Naked Now is presently on my desk and is full of gems. For now, though, it’s some words from Jim Wallis’s review of the book (on the front cover) that are fresh and clear in my mind and lungs. Jim describes Fr Richard’s book as

A Deep Breath of Fresh Air

Wow! That’s succinct. That’s what the Church needs. That’s what all our faith traditions need. That’s what all humankind needs. That’s what the whole world needs. A Deep Breath of Fresh Air. And that’s exactly what we’re given, day after day. New every morning but as old as the hills. Too often, though, we fail to notice it.

We fail to notice the Deep Breath of Fresh Air that is permanently available to us because we’re always hankering after some new thing – some new form of ephemeral entertainment. What we NEED we don’t notice. We don’t take deep enough draughts of what already is – the Ancient of Days, the immortal, the invisible, the only wise, hid from our eyes.

God, the Source of all Life, breathes A Deep Breath of Fresh Air into every living thing 24/7 – and in doing so proclaims that all Adam – ‘adamah (Heb) – mud, dust or matter matters! And the Breath of Fresh Air is patently intended to be bracing and enlivening. It’s intended to be energy at large in the world. It’s intended to be clean and fresh. It’s intended to unite us and not divide us. It reminds us that not only do we share our need for it/Her/Him with every other living thing but that, further, all living things were brought to life out of the very earth that we share – and that we’ll all be returned to, all ways.

A Deep Breath of Fresh Air is the ground upon which a “holy communion” for all humankind will be built – a communion in which, as Bishop Stephen Cottrell observes – addressing one of the many areas of stale old division in the Church – there is neither male nor female, slave nor free … a communion that has its life “out there” in the world and not just in stale and stuffy old Arks, Temples and Churches.

How many times have I heard the old chestnut that it’s our task to guard the old tradition? Too many times, I think – though I value “the old tradition” with my very life and service. It’s just that I don’t think it’s all that old. I think the tradition’s still evolving, still breathing. I think that it’s the Source of Life Her/Himself that’s truly Ancient, that is truly the Tradition. I’m with Archbishop Michael Ramsey in proclaiming “We’re the early Christians!”. I’d take that further. We’re the early humans. And settling for stale old breath just won’t do – now any more than it ever did. What we need, what all humankind needs is A Deep Breath of Fresh Air. And … Yay!!! … it’s free. We already have it. Neither fund-raising, nor collection plate, nor church attendance, nor bishops male or female are required for this one. This is Grace / gratis. Free. We only need to learn to breathe deeper … until the Kingdom’s fully come.

 

SILENCE AND FR RICHARD

THANK GOD for Fr Richard Rohr, who writes in his Daily Meditations here (or click on the image)

The goal of all spirituality is to lead the “naked person” to stand trustfully before the naked God. The important thing is that we’re naked; in other words, that we come without title, merit, shame, or even demerit. All we can offer to God is who we really are, which to all of us never seems like enough. I am sure this is the way true lovers feel, too.

As you know, the act of lovemaking requires some degree of nakedness, and perhaps sacred silence to absorb the communion that is happening. The same is true in loving and being loved by God. We have to let go of our false self (as either superior or inferior) to allow God to choose us “in our lowliness” as Mary says (Luke 1:48). To do that, we have to be silent and wait. What a crucifixion this is sometimes!

Silence is the language of God, and the only language deep enough to absorb all the contradictions and failures that we are holding against ourselves. God loves us silently, because God has no case to make against us. Silent communion absorbs our self-hatred, as every lover knows.

HOLY, HOLY, HOLY

FR RICHARD ROHR is one of the great inspirations of my life and I’m grateful to my friend Ivon Prefontaine for reminding me recently of Richard’s Daily Meditations.

In a series of Meditations on his “lineage”, whilst planning the opening of a new Living School for Action and Contemplation Fr Richard’s meditation on Sunday read

Orthopraxy in much of Buddhism and Hinduism

Orthopraxy is usually distinguished from orthodoxy. Orthodoxy refers to doctrinal correctness, whereas orthopraxy refers to right practice. What we see in many of the Eastern religions is not an emphasis upon verbal orthodoxy, but instead upon practices and lifestyles that, if you do them (not think about them, but do them), end up changing your consciousness.

This was summed up in the Eighth Core Principle of the Center for Action and Contemplation: We don’t think ourselves into a new way of living; we live ourselves into a new way of thinking. I hope that can be a central building block of the Living School.

And – joyfully – today I’ve been chestily croaking ALLELUIA! upon reading today’s thoughts about the witness of art

Unique witness of mythology, poetry, and art

My earliest recordings often included mythological stories, poetry, or art to make the point. Many people are more right-brained learners than left-brained. When you bring in a story, or a poem, or refer to a piece of art, you can see people’s interest triple: “Wow, I’m with you!” Whereas, if you stay on the verbal level all the time, their eyes glaze over, they lose interest, they lose fascination and identification with the message.

I don’t think Western preachers and teachers have really understood the importance of art in general. Until people can “catch” the message with an inner image, it usually does not go deep. We’ve also been afraid of myths that weren’t Christian. In fact, we were afraid of the very word “myth.” We thought it meant something that wasn’t true when, in fact, it’s something that’s always true—if it’s a true myth. This will be a very important substratum of the Living School curriculum.

One of the things I most love and admire about Richard Rohr is his generosity of heart, mind, soul and body. He’s open to seeing the Divine all around us, open to contemplation and to receiving the Wisdom from traditions other – though as he shows us, not always so very “other” – from his own. I love that Fr Richard balances the importance of both orthodoxy and orthopraxy; that he both thinks deeply and feels profoundly. That, it seems to me, is what the call of Jesus Christ – and of other great spiritual masters and teachers – is really all about. As Richard has it, “living ourselves into a new way of thinking”. That’s something all of us can do, all of the time, with or without particular religious frameworks – though many, in the living, will thrive in the kind of religious environment that seeks – as the word religion intends (from Latin religare – “to reconnect, to bind together”) – to bind up the whole.

My friend Mimi is a generous contemplative – Between Night And Day; as is the marvellous Rebecca Koo – Heads or Tails; and Bill Wooten’s – The Present Moment brings a wonderful word from Thomas Merton – and a stunning photo; Francesca Zelnick is as special as her Today’s Special; David Herbert is one of my diocesan friends and I love his latest post (and we share affection for Parker Palmer); and Rachael Elizabeth’s been having a good time doing Christology and incense-sampling ( ! ) in Durham; James Fielden – always showing us “The Way Home” – meditates exquisitely upon Time; Ginny at “Chasing the Perfect Moment” writes about Re-creation; Ria Gandhi has been wondering about who and what’s Beautiful and has flagged up one answer here; Jenni has been Watching the Symphony here.

What are we looking at in all these human “works of art”. What do I see as I reflect upon the colours, upon the wide spectrum that arches over the whole of my life?

Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus

Holy, Holy, Holy

Multi-coloured and blessed sanctity – God’s art: whether we’re always aware of it – or not …

BREATHE TOGETHER

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SADLY I KNOW I CAN’T be in Albuquerque, New Mexico, this summer, but I’m seriously hoping I might make it to the “the much anticipated Rohr Institute Living School for Action and Contemplation” in Autumn 2013. I’m profoundly inspired by Franciscan priest Fr Richard Rohr’s teaching on the Perennial Tradition, “which challenges us to look beyond systems, sects, gender and dogma, into a place of universal truth that invites us all to re-awaken to our union with God.  It is from that awareness that we can serve as co-creators of the world, breathing together so “That all may be one.” (John 17:20)”

I was thrilled with Fr Richard’s Meditation for today – an excerpt of which is

If we want to go to the mature, mystical, and non-dual levels of spirituality, we must first deal with the often faulty, inadequate, and even toxic images of God that most people are dealing with before they have authentic God experience. Both God as Trinity and Jesus as the “image of the invisible God” reveal a God quite different—and much better—than the Santa Claus image or the “I will torture you if you do not love me” God that most people are still praying to. Such images are an unworkable basis for any real spirituality.

Trinity reveals that God is the Divine Flow under, around, and through all things—much more a verb than a noun; relationship itself rather than an old man sitting on a throne. Jesus tells us that God is like a loving parent, who runs toward us, clasps, and kisses us while we are “still a long ways off” (Luke 15:20). Until this is personally experienced, most of Christianity does not work. This theme moves us quickly into practice-based religion (orthopraxy) over mere words and ideas (orthodoxy).