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Posts Tagged ‘Richard Rohr’


John 12:24: The Mystery of Resurrectionempty tomb

Monday, June 20, 2022

Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal.

This is perhaps the most difficult of mysteries to comprehend. Richard Rohr, OFM posts this meditation on June 7, 2015. When we reflect upon it today, we begin to discover what it is we already have forever. We begin to understand this mystery that is reckless, real and eternal.

“Jesus himself exemplified and also taught us the path of descent, which Christians have often called ‘the way of the cross.’ The path downward is much more trustworthy than any path upward, which only tends to feed the ego. Like few other Christians, it was Francis of Assisi who profoundly understood that.

Authentic spirituality is always on some level or in some way about letting go. Jesus said, ‘the truth will set you free’ (John 8:32). Once we see truly what is trapping us and keeping us from freedom we should see the need to let it go. But in a consumer society most of us have had no training in that direction. Rather, more is supposed to be better. True liberation is letting go of our false self, letting go of our cultural biases, and letting go of our fear of loss and death. Freedom is letting go of wanting more and better things, and it is letting go of our need to control and manipulate God and others. It is even letting go of our need to know and our need to be right–which we only discover with maturity. We become free as we let go of our three primary energy centers: our need for power and control, our need for safety and security, and our need for affection and esteem.” (Rohr)

When we allow the seed of our old selves to pass away and die we find that we are reborn into a newness of peace that blossoms amidst turmoil and anxiety. When we allow ourselves to let go to fall down the well of our former self, we discover that the dreadful bottom we fear hitting is the very narrow gate of life that we so earnestly seek. This is a mystery that we will want to explore. In and with Christ, it is a mystery that we experience daily.


Compare different versions of these verses and listen for the promise of this mystery of resurrection. 

For more from Richard Rohr, visit his site at: https://cac.org/richard-rohr/daily-meditations

Adapted from Richard Rohr, The Art of Letting Go: Living the Wisdom of Saint Francis (Sounds True), CD. This simple tri-part distinction has been affirmed by many psychologists in many different ways, and is also used by Fr. Thomas Keating in his understanding of the entrapment of the human person.

Richard Rohr, OFM, posted on June 7, 2015 at: https://cac.org/richard-rohr/daily-meditations

Image from: https://www.theursulines.org/2017/04/16/the-empty-tomb-2/

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Genesis 1:9-31: The Mystery of IncarnationNativity_450x259

Monday, June 13, 2015

Richard Rohr, OFM in his June 5, 2015 tells us: “If incarnation is the big thing, then Christmas is bigger than Easter (which it actually is in most Western Christian countries). If God became a human being, then it’s good to be human and incarnation is already redemption. Francis and the Franciscans were the first to popularize Christmas. For the first 1,000 years of the church, there was greater celebration and emphasis on Easter. For Francis, if the Incarnation was true, then Easter took care of itself. Resurrection is simply incarnation coming to its logical conclusion: we are returning to our original union with God. If God is already in everything, then everything is unto glory! Much of the early church did not have trouble with what many would now call universal salvation (apocatastasis, as in Acts 3:21). We are all saved by infinite love and mercy anyway. ‘God alone is good’ (Mark 10:18), so there’s no point in distinguishing degrees of worthiness. Everything in creation merely participates in God’s infinite goodness, and our job is to trust and allow that as much as possible.

“As Matthew Fox said, we made a terrible mistake by starting with ‘original sin’ (a phrase not in the Bible); we absolutely must begin with original blessing. ‘God created it, and it was good’ is stated six times in a row in our Creation story (Genesis 1:9-31), ending with ‘indeed it was very good!’ But, up to the present time, most of Christianity concentrated on what went wrong with our original goodness . . .

“The Franciscan starting point is not sin; our starting point is Divine Incarnation itself. So our ending point is inevitable and predictable: resurrection. God will lead all things to their glorious conclusion, despite the crucifixions in between. Jesus is the standing icon of the entire spiritual journey from start to finish: divine conception, ordinary life, moments of enlightenment (such as his baptism, Peter’s confession, and Jesus’ transfiguration), works of love and healing, rejection, death, resurrection, and ascension. That is not just Jesus; it is true for all of us.”

Richard Rohr, OFM, Adapted from an unpublished talk and posted on June 5, 2015 at: https://cac.org/richard-rohr/daily-meditations

Christ is present in all of creation. Christ is present in each of us. This is the mystery of incarnation. We know that God creates the universe and the microverse out of great love and deep compassion. We know that Christ comes to walk among us as salvation and redemption. We know that the Spirit abides with us to console and heal. This we know and yet it is mystery when we wonder . . . how is it that God loves us this deeply and this well? And how is it that we fail to trust this great love?

To read a commentary about the mystery of the incarnation, click on the image above or visit: http://www.catholica.com.au/ianstake/023_it_print.php 

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Matthew 5:8: The Clean of Heartheart_on_fire_wallpaper__yvt2

Easter Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God. (Matthew’s account of the Sermon on the Mount)

How do we strive to be clean or pure of heart? Richard Rohr, O.F.M., write and speaks frequently about our compulsion to see the world as dual rather than united. We humans are drawn to a divisive “us-versus them” world in which we earn God’s attention and grace. What we fail to consider with this model is God’s true identity. We choose to see God as we have created God; and we disregard God as revealed through scripture and the person of Jesus. In this non-dual, unitive concept of the creator we create God in our own image rather than God to create us as sisters and brothers in Christ.

God says: You have read the story of my journey on earth with you in the person of Jesus. Return to those stories and read my words to the people of the first century. I repeat them to you today. You have heard of the hope and promise I have in mind for you. Return to the words of the prophets and remember the plans I have in mind for you. They are plans for your joy and not your woe. You have witnessed the perfection of my kingdom in the persistence on my apostles and disciples. Imitate my followers and do not be surprised when you fail. The pure of heart are not free from error; rather, they have learned that my kingdom has room for the sinner, accepts the fallen and care-worn, lifts up those who have been trampled by life’s woes and worries. Come then, and live in my perfection, a way that perseveres in faith, lives in hope and acts in love.

It is not possible for humans to attain perfection except in their perseverance in belief, except through the fire of Christ’s Easter passion, except by the healing call of the Spirit. It is in this way that we cleanse our hearts and truly come to see the face of God. It is in this way that we witness the goodness of God’s kingdom.

Tomorrow, peacemakers.


Image from: https://priscillapeace.wordpress.com/2014/12/16/you-set-my-heart-on-fire/

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The world watches with a kaleidoscope of emotions as we witness political upheaval in Europe. False news is used to further manipulate our thinking. As imperialism clashes with openness and inclusion, Pope Francis calls us to a day of prayer and fasting in prayer for Ukraine. When we gather our small sacrifices to offer them in hope, may we witness a quick resolution to the conflict and a renewal of peace. 

1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1ash wednesday

Ash Wednesday, March 2, 2022

In a reflection last week Fr. Richard Rohr, O.F.M. posited the thesis that all of scripture, from the beginning of Genesis to the end of Revelation,mirrors the development of human consciousness, with its usual pattern of progression and regression”. He explains that just as in the early books of the Torah and in the narratives that follow, we humans look for a foundation of rules and regulations that govern our lives and relationships. He writes that this is “helpful for developing our first egoic identity (the container), and for most of us this represents at least the first 25 years of our life; but that is not yet a full spiritual identity (the contents). The trouble is, an awful lot of people stay at that first stage of boundary-keeping that ‘law’ and group well provide, even though it traps us inside of a black or white, dualistic consciousness. But we have to start there or we have no ego container”.

Rohr further proposes that as we mature we begin to understand “why most people are hesitant to move further, toward places where they cannot uphold themselves, or prove they are right and good”. Rohr points out that Jesus himself says “the Law actually assures a kind of certain failure so all humans have to rely entirely on God’s grace and mercy and not their own worthiness or any kind of superiority. God is actually pretty clever”.

So where does that leave us as we learn and grow in God? How might these ideas serve us as we enter the season of Lent, this season of growing in Christ? What might we do to create a dwelling place for the Spirit?

In the opening weeks of Lent we will search the Torah and narratives as we explore the materials and process we have used to construct our temple dwelling place for the Spirit. We will later move into a time when we dare to say that the Law has failed us in some way. And we will – with God’s grace – arrive at the Easter miracle with a new and open heart. If these Lenten reflections do not serve us, we might turn to the Connecting at Noon page on this blog and consider a change in our prayer life that will create a fresh place for the Spirit and allow for renewal. Or we may simply rest in God’s hands and allow the Spirit to revive any inertia and to heal any wound.

beginner's mindAs we move from one season to another, as we approach the great gift of Eastertide, we might remember the words of Paul to the Corinthians: Brothers and sisters: Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the greater glory of God. Avoid giving offense, whether to the Jews or Greeks or the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in every way, not seeking my own benefit but that of the many, that they may be saved. Be imitators of me as I am of Christ. (1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1)


Read about Pope Francis’ call for prayer and fasting at: https://www.ncronline.org/news/politics/pope-calls-day-prayer-fasting-peace-ukraine

Citations from Richard Rohr’s Meditation from February 12, 2015: Adapted from Scripture as Liberation: https://cac.org/richard-rohr/daily-meditations Click on the Beginner’s Mind image to explore videos that open us to renewal, or visit: http://rohr.franciscanmedia.org/user/?browse=Videos 

Image from: http://rohr.franciscanmedia.org/user/?browse=Videos

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Ezekiel 33:14-16: We Shall Surely Live

Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life". (John 6:68)

Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life”. (John 6:68)

Monday, February 28, 2022

Though I say to the wicked man that he shall surely die, if he turns away from his sin and does what is right and just, giving back pledges, restoring stolen goods, living by the statutes that bring life, and doing no wrong, he shall surely live, he shall not die. None of the sins committed shall be held against him; he has done what is right and just, he shall surely live.

Just when we believe that there is no redemption we read these verses. The wicked may also survive to live eternally once they repent. If there are enemies among, let us pray as Jesus asks us to pray.

From Fr. Richard Rohr, O.F.M.: “A prophet is one who keeps God free for people and who keeps people free for God. It is a two-sided task. He or she is committed to the covenant love between humanity and the Divine–at all costs–and keeping God totally free for people. That is a very hard thing to do, because at least in the Bible the priestly class invariably makes God less accessible instead of more so: ‘Neither entering yourselves nor letting others enter in’ as Jesus boldly puts it (Matthew 23:13). For our own job-security, the priestly mentality tends to say, ‘You can only come to God through us, by doing the right rituals and obeying the rules.’ Formal ministers are too often good at teaching people ‘learned helplessness.’ That’s why the prophets spend so much time destroying and dismissing these barriers to create ‘a straight highway to God’ (Matthew 3:3) as John the Baptist tries to do, and Jesus does with such determination and partial success. But now you know why they were both killed”.

Spend time with these verses from Ezekiel and Matthew today and reflect on their meaning along with the words from Richard Rohr and consider . . . as we go through our days, do we liberate more than we bind, do we heal more than we hurt, do we love more than we judge, do we live more than we die?


Richard Rohr citation in this post is from “Prophets as Liberators,” Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation for Monday, February 20, 2015. http://myemail.constantcontact.com/Richard-Rohr-s-Meditation–Prophets-as-Liberators.html?soid=1103098668616&aid=O17vFLcGtV4  

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With deep sadness we witness the destruction taking place in Ukraine. With outrageous hope we pray for the safe conduct of refugees. With Christ’s love we pray for those who bring destruction to a people who declare their right to self-govern. May the hearts of oppressors be softened. May the hearts of the oppressed be fortified. May we all learn to live in loving support of one another. Today’s message from Isaiah brings us words to ponder.  

Isaiah 61:1-2: Favor from the Lord2013-07-07-Psalm-34_18

Sunday, February 27, 2022

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring glad tidings to the lowly, to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and release to the prisoners, to announce a year of favor from the Lord.

These are words that Jesus reads out from the Isaiah scroll when he begins his ministry. (Luke 4:14-30) Click on the scripture link and read varying versions of these verses.

Fr. Richard Rohr, O.F.M., reminds us that prophets walk among us today. He suggests that we might be prophets ourselves . . . once we grow up. “It is in facing your conflicts, criticisms, and contradictions that you grow up. You actually need to have some problems, enemies, and faults! You will remain largely unconscious as a human being until issues come into your life that you cannot fix or control and something challenges you at your present level of development, forcing you to expand and deepen. It is in the struggle with our shadow self, with failure, or with wounding, that we break into higher levels of consciousness. I doubt whether there is any other way. People who refine this consciousness to a high spiritual state, who learn to name and live with paradoxes, are the people I would call prophetic speakers. We must refine and develop this gift”.

Spend time with these verses from Isaiah and Luke today and reflect on their meaning along with the words from Richard Rohr and consider . . . do the events in our present lives call us to prophetic work? Have we been gifted with favor from the Lord? Might we heal broken hearts and free captives from their worries? Is it time to develop our gift from the Lord?


Image from: http://glenwoodchurch.org.za/2013/07/09/close-to-the-brokenhearted/

Richard Rohr citation in this post is from “Self-Critical Thinking,” Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation for Monday, February 15, 2015. http://myemail.constantcontact.com/Richard-Rohr-s-Meditation–Self-Critical-Thinking.html?soid=1103098668616&aid=rnft6vyUO0Q

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Jeremiah 1:19: God Will Prevailheart-on-fire-for-god

Saturday, February 26, 2022

They will fight against you, but not prevail over you, for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord.

Fr. Richard Rohr, O.F.M., tells us that prophets are an essential element of a society that hopes to improve and progress. He writes: “The Hebrew prophets were free to love their tradition and to criticize it at the same time, which is a very rare art form . . . The presumption for anyone with a dualistic mind is that if you criticize something, you don’t love it. Wise people like the prophets would say the opposite”. Prophets are afire with the understanding that keeping silence is worse than suffering for speaking up. Prophets understand that . . .

They will fight against you, but not prevail over you, for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord.

Rohr knows the human spirit well when he writes, “We don’t want people who point out our shadow side or our dark side. It is no accident that the prophets and the priests are usually in opposition to one another”. Power structures abhor critiques of any kind. They use the power of silence to control thinking; and yet . . .

They will fight against you, but not prevail over you, for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord.

Rohr also suggests that “Human consciousness does not emerge at any depth except through struggling with [our] shadow”. In other words, we cannot really grow except when we tussle with life and those we encounter each day. We cannot grow without a passionate desire to experience God’s ways; and so . . .

They will fight against you, but not prevail over you, for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord.

The prophet Jeremiah sees the corruption and hypocrisy in his society. He speaks up and speaks out, knowing that in so doing he endangers his life. Jeremiah, afire with a deep passion for God’s word and God’s way, confronts the power structure and ultimately prevails because he knows that . . .

They will fight against you, but not prevail over you, for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord.


Image from: http://www.theeyesoflove.com/

Richard Rohr citations in this post are from “Self-Critical Thinking,” Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation for Monday, February 15, 2015. http://myemail.constantcontact.com/Richard-Rohr-s-Meditation–Self-Critical-Thinking.html?soid=1103098668616&aid=rnft6vyUO0Q

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Saturday, February 12, 2022stumblingbnr

Ezekiel 3:17-27

The Prophet as Watchman: Loving our Stumbling Blocks

As we study our stumbling blocks we hear the call to be prophets in the Messianic Age. We are asked to call others to kingdom work just as we have been called.

Once we spend time with our stumbling blocks we begin to understand the important role they play in our lives, the vital function they perform. We are asked to demonstrate our comprehension by willingly taking on our responsibility as Sentinel People. We are asked to call out to others the message of the Word Among Us.

Rather than walk around or away from our stumbling blocks we freely and even cheerfully go in search of a ladder that will allow us to climb atop our obstacle. We see the world and ourselves from a different angle, perhaps an angle that God the Creator might use. We are asked to bring this gift of insight to our Kingdom building.

Once we begin to act in and through Christ we receive abundant grace, courage, fortitude, and mercy. Love grows out of our suffering. Sudden and inexplicable joy takes hold and in a moment of irreversible transformation we move into the life God has planned for us since our inception.

And once we have run the arc from grief to joy, we give thanks for the great suffering we have endured.

As Fr. Richard Rohr, O.F.M. points out in his February 10, 2015 Meditation, it is not so much that we are so chosen or so suddenly more greatly loved by God in our moment of fear and turmoil; rather, it is that we have listened, waited, and pruned ourselves for the reception of this enormous and endless love. As we consider the grace and peace and blessing of the Stumbling Block, let us give thanks to the one who abides, and heals and loves.


Richard Rohr: Adapted fromThe Great Themes of Scripture: Old Testament, pp. 1-5 (published by Franciscan Media); and Scripture as Liberation (MP3 download

Image from: http://www.lebtahor.com/StumblingBlocks/stumblingblocks.htm

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Ezekiel 25: Against the Nations

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Bridge over the Drina in Mostar, Bosnia

As we read this chapter of Ezekiel we might be lured into what Richard Rohr – and many others – calls dualistic thinking.  Decisions are made in a yes/no, black/white, off/on world.  If we are able to step outside of our small perspective and move into a greater view of the world we understand that this kind of reasoning is dangerous in that it limits our vision . . . and therefore limits us.  Rohr examines how life is a paradox in his blog posts at http://richardrohr.wordpress.com They are worth visiting as are his CD lectures, the webcasts and other resources on his Rohr Institute site at http://www.cac.org/ as we reflect on the way we think, the way we respond to conflict, and the way we seek resolutions to the difficult passages in our lives.

The portion of Ezekiel that we read today may be used as fuel for the fire of prejudice . . . if we allow the voice of revenge and conquest to go unchecked.  As the recent events in our global community unfold, we are reminded that fanaticism can never be good. As my siblings and I grew, my Dad intoned to us regularly: Anything is a bad thing when taken to extremes . . . even a good thing.  He understood that words like the ones we read today can be taken out of context, can be blown out of context and morphed in importance. Any single verse, Dad would say, when taken in isolation does not tell the whole story. Read the story.  When my father and grandfather told us to read the whole story what they meant was this: stop, think, pray, listen, think, read, think, pray, share ideas, pray, think, pray . . . and act.  We want to take this method with us as we plunge into Ezekiel’s words against the nations.  To what does he call us?

The Old Testament Yahweh can be seen here as a god of vengeance and when we read these verses with anger in our hearts we might believe that God himself justifies the revenge we feel against those who have injured us; but we are also reminded that Yahweh’s love for creation knows no bounds.

The Old Testament Yahweh can be seen here as a god who exacts precise payment for wrongs committed; but we know that Yahweh’s generosity and compassion cannot be outdone when we remember his care for the enslaved and powerless.

The New Testament Jesus fulfills the promise of reunion and union first uttered by Yahweh.

The New Testament Jesus brings human hands and feet and voice to the mercy and compassion first shown by Yahweh.

When we find ourselves in turmoil and wishing to take revenge against the people who have injured us we must not let dualistic thinking close off possibilities of healing, reconciliation and union.

When we find ourselves in deep sorrow over a loss we have suffered we must not let simplistic rule-following to replace decision-making by a well-formed conscience.

When we feel ourselves being pulled into the vortex of darkness that would have us chant slogans that condemn, that would lead us to take an eye for an eye, that would ask us to rail against the nations . . . we must first stop to think and to pray, and to seek so that we might find . . . the forgiving, open, healing way of Christ.  For it is Christ who embodies all that is good.  It is Christ who brings us the outrageous hope that even the most dire circumstances may be righted. It is Christ who will help us to build bridges to the nations.


A re-post from September 15, 2012.

The name “Mostar” means “the city of bridges”.  To read more about what happened to the bridges in Bosnia during the most recent Balkan wars, click on the image above or go to: http://balkansnet.org/mostar.html  Follow more links on that page to read and reflect on reconciliation and revenge.

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