Thursday, January 2, 2014

Rohr Into the New Year

My regular readers are aware of my fondness for Richard Rohr, the Franciscan mystic whose thinking has been so instrumental in the growth of my own faith life.What he has to say always strikes me as so blindingly true that it's a wonder that millions of other people just don't seem to get it at all. Look around you, he says. Look inside. Things ain't right. We've lost a sense of the most important identification we have: as brothers and sisters in a huge human family. Which is the first and primary one, the one which claims our fundamental allegiance. "We need new ways of thinking and being to engage with others through our simple humanity," Rohr says. It's a profound challenge because we all fall short of the essential prerequisite: dying to our own selfishness and short-sightedness. The only way we see everything else is lose ourselves in the sight . . . the paradox at the heart of the virtuous life.

Here's Rohr:
Listen to the news or look around and within you—it is clear that we are mostly going nowhere. Each individual is on his or her own to find and create his or her personal meaning. This does not work, especially for the young. As a result, there is little sense of the common good. Thus we are repeating the same patterns that produce violence, suffering, emotional immaturity, and death. We need new ways of thinking and being to engage with others through our simple humanity, our brokenness, differences, and complexity. We must do the hard work of learning to live a generative life for others, living out our sacred soul task in service to the world.
How you do anything is how you do everything! For our spirituality to be authentic, we must practice unitive consciousness in our conversations, problem solving, politics, vocations, lifestyle, and even our dying. Indeed, the goal of mature religion is to help us die before we die, so we are ready for our real life! All major religions describe this in one way or another: a false sense of self must be let go of before the True Self can stand revealed. This is basic and essential conversion.
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