Posts Tagged ‘The Common Wonderful’

Luke 4:16-30: From Death Comes Life  

Ireena Eleonora Worthy: A cedar grows from a log in Fairy Lake, British Columbia, Canada

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Not even death can separate you from Love, and from death comes Life. Rest in this awareness. (Rohr, A SPRING WITHIN US 137)

This week we have reflected on The Common Wonderful, the amazing gift of God’s self to us, the presence of Spirit’s love within, the promise of Christ presented to us each day as we rise, and resting with us each evening as we retire. In his book of reflections, YES AND . . ., Richard Rohr lays out tools for us so that we might move away from a dualistic view of life and toward a unitive one. He helps us to understand how we might, like Jesus, live both in this world while not being of it.

“Jesus consistently ignored or even denied exclusionary, punitive, and triumphalistic texts in his own Jewish Bible in favor of passages that emphasized inclusion, mercy, and honesty. That becomes self-evident once you are told and begin to look for yourself. He had a deeper and wider eye that knew what passages were merely cultural, self-serving, and legalistic additions. (YES AND . . . , Rohr xi)

Perhaps we cannot quite believe God’s deep generosity. Maybe Christ’s gift of self is more than we can take in. Does the Spirit’s fidelity and persistence somehow threaten us? Why do we struggle against this common wonderful gift of union? Are we too comfortable with the old quarrels, and too familiar with lines drawn hastily in ancient sands? We might learn more from Jesus if we look at what he does not cite from scripture along with what he does. Again from Rohr.

“Looking at which Scripture passages Jesus emphasizes (remember, the Hebrew Bible is his only Bible!) shows he clearly understands how to connect the “three steps forward” dots that confirm the God he has met, knows, loves, and trusts. At the same time, Jesus ignores or openly contradicts the many “two steps backward” texts. He never quotes the book of Numbers, for example, which is rather ritualistic and legalistic. He never quotes Joshua or Judges, which are full of sanctified violence. Basically, Jesus doesn’t quote from his own Scriptures when they are punitive, imperialistic (“My country and religion are the ‘only’!”), classist, or exclusionary. In fact, he teaches the exact opposite in every case. This is hard to miss. And our job as Christians is to imitate Jesus!” (www.cac.org  Rohr)

Life from death in Volcanoes National Park in Hawaii, USA

We tussle with the idea of loving our enemies. We argue about doctrine and dogma, and measure everyone – including ourselves – against rigid yardsticks of long-held practices. We become accustomed to our stiff necks and stony hearts; and yet Christ continues to call us to union in the Spirit. Still God searches for each of us – the lost sheep. Still God pardons, mends, heals, redeems and transforms.

Today let us give away our burdens so that we might discover our names written on God’s hands. Let us be patient in Christ’s time rather than ours as we move through the span of our lives. Let us settle into the stunning reality that we already possess the gift of eternal life; and let us share this good news as we open to the common wonderful that we hold together in Christ.

images from: http://www.newt.com/wohler/events/2008/hawaii/volcanoes-np/ and http://www.neatorama.com/2012/09/18/From-Death-Comes-Life/ 

Richard Rohr, OFM. A Spring Within Us: A Book of Daily Meditations. Albuquerque, NM: CAC Publishing, 2016.

Richard Rohr, OFM. Yes and . . . Daily Meditations. Cincinnati, OH: Franciscan Media, 2013.

More from Rohr’s www.cac.com February 9, 2015 post: “Jesus does not mention the list of 28 ‘thou shall nots’ in Leviticus 18 through 20, but chooses instead to echo the rare positive quote of Leviticus 19:18: ‘You must love your neighbor as yourself.’ The longest single passage he quotes is from Isaiah 61 (in Luke 4:18-19): ‘The Spirit of the Lord has been given to me. He has anointed me to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives, and to the blind new sight, to set the downtrodden free, and to proclaim a year of favor from the Lord.’ But Jesus plays fast and easy, as they say, and quotes selectively! He appears to have deliberately omitted the last line—‘and the day of vengeance of our God’ (Isaiah 61:2b)—because he does not believe in a God of vengeance at all.” (https://cac.org/jesus-used-scripture-2015-02-09/)

When we compare different translations of these verses, we discover the futility of vengeance, and the beauty of God’s Common Wonderful.

Enter the words God’s Yardstick in the blog search bar to explore more posts.

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Romans 8:38-39: Something Eternal

Friday, May 4, 2018

You are going to die AND life never ends. (Rohr 135)

Science and faith participate in a constant dance of doubt and belief, reality and fantasy, humanity and divinity. Quantum physics tells us that we can apply mathematics as we attempt to understand energy and matter on the smallest of scales. Discussions – and arguments – between those who want an absolute adherence to evolution OR creation theories miss the beauty of creation itself. The reality that this science is perfectly compatible with teachings we find in the Bible may be difficult to believe; yet Richard Rohr, OFM reminds us that . . .

“It seems that we are born with a longing, desire, and deep hope that this thing called life could somehow last forever. It is a premonition from Something Eternal that is already within us. Some would call it the soul. Believers would call it the indwelling presence of God. It is God in us that makes us desire God. It is an eternal life already within us that makes us imagine eternal life. It is the Spirit of God that allows us to seriously hope for what we first only intuit . . . When we love consciously within this love, we will not be afraid to die, because love is eternal, and that core self is indestructible. ‘Love never ends’ (See 1 Corinthians 13:8). The entire evolutionary thrust of time and history is making this very clear. Now we know that nothing really dies anyway”. (Rohr 135-136)

As Rohr describes, we too often search for the gift we already possess, the gift of eternity. We too often doubt that God’s love creates and sustains us. We are too ready to discount the idea that God creates us in and for love.

Quantum physics often deals in probability and is frequently counter-intuitive; and so we may pose the same questions as those in a Discover Magazine article: “Do any physical theories allow room for God to influence human actions and events? And, more controversially, is there any concrete evidence of God’s hand at work in the physical world?” Rohr invites us to open ourselves to the possibility of God’s paradox of love.

Click on this image to take Britannica’s quantum mechanics quiz.

The more we explore the contrast between science and theology, the more we question.  In his article published in the Huffington Post on July 13, 2011, Peter Baksa writes that “ our thoughts are the language of the universe” as he describes the relationship between energy and matter. Might this be the something eternal we possess and still seek? Might our thoughts be actual energy that connects with the energy that is God’s love? Might this be the message that all of creation and all of scripture shouts at us? And might we want to join in this great shout?

Today as we explore both science and scripture, we practice the art of taking in opposites as we allow God to reveal the something eternal within, the Common Wonderful nature of the universe, the splendor of God’s unending love.

Richard Rohr, OFM. A Spring Within Us: A Book of Daily Meditations. Albuquerque, NM: CAC Publishing, 2016.

When we compare different translations of these verses, we find tools to help us understand the common wonderful paradox of our universe, and our place in it. 

Chad Orzel gives us a simple list to describe Quantum Physics at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/chadorzel/2015/07/08/six-things-everyone-should-know-about-quantum-physics/#7d9994187d46

For a quick video lesson on quantum mechanics, and the double-slit experiment, click on the image above or visit: https://www.hidabroot.com/article/194842/Can-Quantum-Physics-Prove-G-d 

Or take the quantum mechanics quiz at:https://www.britannica.com/quiz/quantum-mechanics 

Other resources: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-baksa/who-is-god-can-he-be-expl_b_894003.html and http://www.beliefnet.com/faiths/galleries/how-quantum-physics-proves-gods-existence.aspx and http://discovermagazine.com/2011/mar/14-priest-physicist-would-marry-science-religion and https://www.gotquestions.org/God-and-quantum-physics.html

Enter the words God spots into the blog search bar and reflect on The Common Wonderful gift of the Spirit.

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Luke 12:25: Our Span of Life

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Let go of control AND let God’s life flow. (Rohr 134)

A number of times, we have reflected at noon that when we make certain to devote a portion of each day to time with God, we find that we have more of this precious gift of seconds, minutes, and even hours. Now that I have aged, I smile each time I hear my ego-self say, “I don’t have time to reflect and write today, I have too much to do”. Now that I am wiser, I know from experience that on the days I spend time with scripture, more time appears for me. This is unfailing. Just when I think I can better spend my summer morning in attending Morning Prayer or Mass, I remember the days that magically lengthened when I spent time dedicated to listening for and to God alone. This happens without exception.

“God is moving among the pots and pans” by Lorraine E. Espenhain in Seton Magazine

Teresa of Avila reminds us that God visits us even among the pots and pans and so we can easily dedicate each moment of work and play as an opportunity to experience God through our work and interactions. Once we master the art of giving and doing all for and in God, we will find ourselves praying non-stop, giving our worries over to God, thanking Christ for accompanying us, asking the Spirit to breath patience, prudence and endurance into our minds and hearts.

This paradox may be difficult to believe and so Richard Rohr, OFM reminds us that . . .

“Only when you give up your preoccupation with control will you be able to move with the Divine Flow. Without all the inner voices of resistance and control, it is amazing how much you can get done and not get tired . . . Giving up control is a school of union, compassion, and understanding. It is also a school for the final letting go that we call death. If you practice giving up control early in life, you will be much happier and much closer to the truth, to the moment, and to God – none of which can be experienced if you are doing all the engineering and steering”. (Rohr 135)

We may wish we had learned this lesson earlier in life; but no matter the age of our understanding, the lesson never leaves us once learned. Our scholarship is well worth the effort.

For all your worrying, you cannot add a single moment to your span of life. (NAB)

This message is so difficult.

Can any of you live a bit longer by worrying? (GNT)

This message is so direct.

Can any of you by worrying add an hour to his life? (CJB)

This message is so simple.

And which of you, by taking thought, can add to his stature one cubit? (DRA)

This message is so wonderful.

Has anyone by fussing before the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? If fussing can’t even do that, why fuss at all? (MSG)

This message is so full of promise.

Today we practice the art of letting go so that God might flow within us. When we fully realize that we cannot make events happen that must happen, or prevent circumstance that must occur, we begin to experience the common wonderful gift of living in God’s time rather than our own. And we begin to recognize and appreciate our place in God’s creation.

God’s actions are not measured by time . . . to better understand this concept opened for us by Teresa of Avila, read God is moving among the pots and pans by Lorraine E. Espenhain iSeton Magazine at: http://www.setonmagazine.com/homeschool/general-homeschooling/god-is-moving-among-the-pots-and-pans 

Enter the words God time into the blog search bar and reflect on The Common Wonderful gift of time.

Richard Rohr, OFM. A Spring Within Us: A Book of Daily Meditations. Albuquerque, NM: CAC Publishing, 2016.

When we compare different translations of these verses, we find tools to help us in our letting go . . . so that we might enter into God’s Common Wonderful.


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1 Peter 5:4-6: In Good Time

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Your life is not about you AND you are about life. (Rohr 133)

Our American culture does not encourage humility. Our impatience, arrogance and anxiety do not inspire modesty or self-effacement. The American experiment strives continually to present to the world a larger-than-life image. We will have to put this indoctrination aside if we wish to be good citizens of the world.

From the first letter of Peter: Beloved, clothe yourselves with humility in your dealings with one another, for: God opposes the proud but bestows favor on the humble. So humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that God may exult you in good time. Cast all your worries upon God for God loves you. (1 Peter 5:4-6)

These are difficult words for many of us to hear. They are difficult to share; and they are difficult to put into practice; yet Richard Rohr, OFM reminds us that . . .

“All the truly great people persons I have met are characterized by what I would call “radical humility”. They are deeply convinced that they are drawing from another source; they are instruments. Their genius is not their own; it is borrowed . . . They live in gratitude and confidence, and they try to let the flow continue through them. They know that ‘love is repaid by love alone,’ as both St. Francis of Assisi and St. Thérèse of Lisieux (1873-1897) have said”. (Rohr 134)

If we have arrived to mid-life and have yet to learn that the multiverse does not revolve around our whims, we will have to learn this lesson before we are able to enter fully into kingdom work. Jesus demonstrates for us that strength comes from our willingness to think and act for the common good. The Spirit is always nudging us to heal others, to place our fears in God’s hands, and to be persistent in our eagerness to follow Christ.

Rohr points out for us these words from St. Paul: Your life is hidden with Christ in God. He is your life, and when he is revealed, you will be revealed in all your glory with him. (Colossians 3:3-4)

When we demonstrate our understanding that our goals are best achieved in God’s good time rather than our own, we reap the gift of modesty. When we put ourselves into proper proportion with all that surrounds us, we sow the gift of generosity. When we accept the paradox that we are something when we are nothing, we embody Christ for ourselves and others.

Today we practice the art of humility so that we might experience and share the common wonderful peace of Christ.

Enter the word humility into the blog search bar and explore.

Richard Rohr, OFM. A Spring Within Us: A Book of Daily Meditations. Albuquerque, NM: CAC Publishing, 2016.

When we compare different translations of these verses, we open the door to meekness as practiced by Christ. We accept the gift of humility as given by God. And we experience the peace and love that only the Spirit can grant.

To learn more about how humility exalts us, click on the image from THE GREATER GOOD MAGAZINE: SCIENCE-BASED INSIGHTS FOR A MEANINGFUL LIFE at: https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/humility_will_make_you_greatest_person_ever

Hands image from: https://www.notiziecristiane.com/la-commovente-preghiera-di-capodanno-scritta-da-un-contadino-sudamericano/ 


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Luke 10:20: Written in Heaven

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

You are not that important AND your name is written in heaven. (Rohr 133)

A friend once told me that if she gets to heaven to see that Adolph Hitler is seated at the banquet, she doesn’t want to go. We laughed a bit and then she said, “Well, of course, if he is there, God must have worked a miracle. I wonder what it was”. We sometimes re-visit that conversation and marvel at God’s generosity. We explore the many ways God might have called Hitler to conversion in his last moment of life in this world. We debate, in our child-like way, what might be the best strategies to call someone away from fear and toward compassion. No matter the length of the conversation, we can never agree on how God works with us to strip away our suspicions and temptations to divide. We listen for God’s voice as we move slowly toward the transformative understand that everything in creation belongs to, and with, and in God. And this is how it should be. God is God, and we are not.

“If we cannot trust that we have an eternal identity in God, then we are burdened with creating our own personal importance day after day . . . We become lost in comparison, envy, competition, and codependency . . . Authentic spirituality is an experience of abundance and mutual flourishing instead of a limited world of scarcity (‘Their success is my loss!’).” (Rohr 133)

When we are able to see that each of us is a living stone in the living temple of God, we are better able to put aside our small conceits to accept the greater gift of God’s promise and grace. When we agree to calm our fears and to accept “the other” as a vital piece of God’s mosaic, we find a firm place to plant our feet.

I can never forget you! I have written your name on the palms of my hands. (Isaiah 49:16)

When we accept the idea that we are born with original blessing as well as original sin, we take up the tools God gives us to come together at the great banquet that is heaven. We build bridges in order to sit beside our former enemies; we tear down walls so that we might fully understand that our names truly are written on the palms of God’s hands.

Today we practice letting go of the personal importance we have given ourselves, and we open our hearts to the common wonderful idea that the inclusive, equalizing banquet of heaven awaits us here and now.

Richard Rohr, OFM. A Spring Within Us: A Book of Daily Meditations. Albuquerque, NM: CAC Publishing, 2016.

Come Sunday is a Netflix film based on an interview from NPR’s This American Life. https://www.netflix.com/title/80152625 A preacher’s desire to tell the world about the common wonderful promise of God turns his world upside down. Read a Sundance review at: http://collider.com/come-sunday-review-netflix/ or a Variety review at: http://variety.com/2018/film/reviews/come-sunday-review-1202671818/ 

When we compare different translations of these verses, we see that our world is full of paradox, and that our names are written in heaven.

Images from: http://variety.com/2018/film/reviews/come-sunday-review-1202671818/ and http://callmevictorian.com/252/handwritten-signatures/

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Matthew 11:30: Giving Away the Burden

Monday, April 30, 2018

Life is hard AND my yoke is easy. (Rohr 132-133)

As Richard Rohr points out, once we are able to hand our catastrophes to God, we enter into co-redemption with Christ. When we participate in the transformation of the world – even in the smallest of ways – we become an authentic part of the divine plan. We may not be able to clean plastic waste out of an entire river, but we can carry a cloth shopping bag for purchases that would otherwise come to us in plastic. We cannot end all violence, but we can ask questions of those who advocate for war and listen carefully to their voices. In a million small ways, we can lighten the darkness of the world. In a kaleidoscope of actions, we can bring comfort to the weary, healing to the sick, and justice to those on the margins.

“Hard and soft, difficult and easy, painful and ecstatic do not eliminate one another, but actually allow each other. They bow back and forth like dancers, although it is harder to bow to pain and to failure. You can bear the hardness of life and see through failure if your soul is resting in a wonderful and continuing sweetness and softness”. (Rohr 132-133)

When we practice taking the suffering with the joy in order to allow the joy to overcome, we unite in Christ. When we rehearse how we might reconcile more than we plot how we might avenge, we enter into the kingdom that God has in mind. When we exercise forgiveness more than we demand apologies, we begin to experience God’s Common Wonderful.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (MSG)

Today we practice giving away our burdens to Christ so that we might not only enter in the common wonderful, but also share this precious gift of God’s grace with others.

When we compare varying translations of this verse, we find that crises large and small become worries. When we practice the Common Wonderful, we find that our worries and anxieties melt away.

Richard Rohr, OFM. A Spring Within Us: A Book of Daily Meditations. Albuquerque, NM: CAC Publishing, 2016.

Images from: https://tjmcclelland.wordpress.com/2013/12/04/thousand-pound-boulder/ 

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1 John 1: The Duality of Joy

Fifth Sunday of Easter, April 29, 2018

Once we are able to experience the duality of God’s ways, God’s justice, mercy, and love, we will want to share the joy that overtakes us.

Our motive for writing is simply this: We want you to enjoy this, too. Your joy will double our joy!

Our capacity to live in both this world and the next determines our capacity for joy in God’s duality. Richard Rohr, OFM, writes: Only the non-dual, contemplative mind can hold everything in its wholeness, including both death and resurrection. Rohr further explains that once we can step away from the them-us, black-white, either-or stance, we can better see that God and all of  God’s creation has a yes-and rather than a yes-but essence. In his excellent collection of meditations entitled, Rohr points out to us in daily reflections that: Life is hard AND “my yoke is easy,” you are not that important AND “your name is written in heaven,” your life is not about you AND you are about life, you can let go of control AND you can let God’s life flow in you, and you are going to die AND life never ends. Rohr gathers this wonderful collection of introspective considerations under the title of The Common Wonderful. To spend time with these reflections is to invite each of us into God’s wonderful duality in which “death and life are in an eternal embrace”. (Rohr 131-137)

National Catholic Reporter: Vigil after the Las Vegas, USA shooting – The Dos and Don’ts of Handling Compassion Fatigue

Our modern world brings us far too much information to process. We suffer from crisis fatigue and we struggle to sort our emotions as we interact with family, friends, colleagues and strangers. Our world seems smaller and the climate more erratic. Unless we grapple with God’s duality and come to terms with the demands our citizenship in God’s kingdom make on us, we will never fully accept the many gifts of joy God gives us.

We saw it, we heard it, and now we’re telling you so you can experience it along with us, this experience of communion with the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ.

Today we reflect on the duality of God’s joy, we take in the wonder and mystery of this message, and we turn to one another as we witness to this most wonderful of God’s gifts.

When we compare other translations with The Message version of these verses, we begin to experience the overwhelming joy of God’s duality, and we will want to share this Easter joy with others.

Richard Rohr, OFM. A Spring Within Us: A Book of Daily Meditations. Albuquerque, NM: CAC Publishing, 2016.

Click on the image of the child to learn about finding paths to happiness, or visit: https://innerself.com/content/personal/happiness-and-self-help/self-help/9471-the-paths-to-joy-experiencing-more-joy-in-your-life.html 

Visit the Center for Contemplation and Action bookstore for more information about Rohr’s work. A SPRING WITH US and YES, AND are excellent resources. http://store.cac.org/ Also see, EVERYTHING BELONGS. 

See this article in THE NATIONAL CATHOLIC REPORTER on the dos and don’ts as we struggle with compassion fatigue: https://www.ncronline.org/news/environment/feeling-crisis-fatigue-here-are-3-dos-and-3-donts

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