The Jesus story is the universe story

By Richard Rohr

The Mystery of the Cross
Sunday, April 23, 2017

It is a wisdom that none of the masters of this age have ever known, or they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory. —1 Corinthians 2:8

Jesus’ life, death, and raising up is the whole pattern revealed, named, summed up, and assured for our own lives. It gives us the full trajectory that we might not recognize otherwise. He is the map. The Jesus story is the universe story. The Universal Christ is no threat to anything but separateness, illusion, domination, and the imperial ego. In that sense, Jesus, the Christ, is the ultimate threat, but first of all to Christians. Only when we follow Jesus through his life, death and resurrection will we have any universal and salvific message for the rest of the earth.

The lead up to and the follow up from the cross is the great interpretative key that makes the core pattern clear. It’s no accident that we have made the cross the Christian logo, because in the revelation of the cross, many great truths become obvious and even overwhelming, even though we do not want to see them.

Those who “gaze upon” (John 19:37) the Crucified long enough—with contemplative eyes—are always healed at deep levels of pain, unforgiveness, aggression, and victimhood. Contemplative gazing demands no theological education, just an “inner exchange” by receiving the image within and offering one’s soul back in safe return. C. G. Jung is supposed to have said that a naked man nailed to a cross is perhaps the deepest archetypal symbol in the Western psyche. [1]

The crucified Jesus offers, at a largely unconscious level, a very compassionate meaning system for history. Without such cosmic meaning and soul significance, the agonies and tragedies of Earth feel like Shakespeare’s “sound and fury signifying nothing” or “a tale told by an idiot.” The body can live without food more easily than the soul can live without such transformative meaning.

If all our crucifixions are leading to some possible resurrection, and are not dead-end tragedies, this changes everything. If God is somehow participating in the suffering of humans and creation, instead of just passively tolerating it and observing it, that also changes everything—at least for those who are willing to “gaze” contemplatively.

We Christians are given the privilege to name the mystery rightly and to know it directly and consciously, but in many ways we have not lived it much better than other religions and cultures. All humble, suffering souls can learn this from the flow of life itself, but the Christian Scriptures named it and revealed it to us publicly and dramatically in Jesus. It all depends on whether you have “gazed” long and deep enough at the paradoxical mystery of life and death.

 

Gateway to Silence:
I am crucified with Christ.

References:

[1] See Jerry Wright, “Christ, a Symbol of the Self,” C.G. Jung Society of Atlanta Quarterly News (Fall 2001), 6-8. Jung wrote extensively about Christ as archetype; Wright’s essay offers a brief overview of key ideas and resources. Available at http://www.jungatlanta.com/articles/fall01-crist-symbol-of-self.pdf

Adapted from Richard Rohr, Things Hidden: Scripture as Spirituality (Franciscan Media: 2008), 185-187

Résultat de recherche d'images pour "geronda"

Easter Sunday

Resurrection

Jesus said to her, „Woman, why are you weeping?
Whom are you looking for?… Jesus said to her, „Mary!”
John 20: 15, 16
Painting by Mathias Gruenewald, Retable d’Issenheim

Reflexion by Henri NOUWEN
WHEN YOU FORGET YOUR TRUE IDENTITY as a beloved child of God, you lose your way in life. Insecure and frightened, you act not freely, but out of fear.
You become preoccupied trying to please others and you lose the confidence to be yourself. You work hard to avoid rejection, or abandonment, and you may cling to people more from fear than freedom. In making compromises you may please people but lose touch with your original blessing, the connection to the deep and everlasting love of God.
Jesus announces to us, „Do not be afraid. I dwell in you till the end of time.”
 
Alleluia! Christ is risen, and we are no longer afraid.

Nu putem evita greselile

Oameni fiind, greselile sunt inevitabile. Poate ca am facut pe cineva sa sufere, poate ca am ranit suflete dragi, si ne pare tare rau. Dar putem totdeauna sa o luam de la capat, greselile pot fi puncte de plecare pentru o transformare. Sunt cea mai buna scoala pentru a învata sa fii mai bun, mai sensibil la durerea altcuiva, mai iubitor, mai tolerant. De aceea greselile isi au rolul lor de jucat în evolutia noastra. Sa nu ne lasam prinsi în capcana vinovatiei daca am facut în viata niste greseli. 

Because we are human beings, we cannot avoid making mistakes. We might have caused someone else to suffer, we might have offended our beloved ones, and we feel regret. But it is always possible for us to begin anew, and to transform all these kinds of mistakes. Without making mistakes there is no way to learn, in order to be a better person, to learn how to be tolerant, to be compassionate, to be loving, to be accepting. That is why mistakes play a role in our training, in our learning, and we should not get caught in the prison of culpability just because we have made some mistakes in our life.

– Thich Nhat Hanh

December 27, 2016, Feast of John the Beloved

The Greatest Commandments

by Richard Rohr

Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love. In this way the love of God was revealed to us: God sent God’s only Son into the world so that we might have life through him. In this is love: not that we loved God, but that God loved us and sent God’s Son as expiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another. No one has ever seen God. Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us, and God’s love is brought to perfection in us. —1 John 4:7-12 [1]

“Whoever loves is born of God and knows God.” Unfortunately, many Christians think, “If I read the Bible, I’m born of God; or if I go to church, I know God; or if I obey the commandments, I know God.” Yet John says it’s simply about loving. Note that the converse is true also. “Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.”

As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete. This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. . . . This I command you: love one another. —John 15:9-14, 17 [2]

We might expect Jesus to say, “There is no greater love than to love God.” But he says, “There is no greater love than to lay down your life for your friends.”

Both of these scriptures emphasize the centrality and the importance of love. The beginning and end of everything is love. Only inside of the mystery of love—mutual self-emptying and infilling—can we know God. If we stay outside of that mystery, we cannot know God.

When most of us hear the word “commandment,” we likely think of the Ten Commandments. But Jesus speaks of a “new” commandment surpassing and summing up the “ten” of the Hebrew Bible (Exodus 20:1-17; Deuteronomy 5:6-21): “This is my commandment: Love one another.” He also says: “The entire law and the prophets is summed up in the two great commandments: to love God and to love one another” (see Matthew 22:36-40).

Perhaps we don’t want to hear this commandment because we can never live up to it through our own efforts. We’d like to whittle it down to a little commandment, like “Come to church on Sunday.” But who of us can say we have really loved yet? We’re all beginners. We’re all starting anew every day, and we’re failing anew every day. Loving as imperfect, egoic human beings keeps us in utter reliance upon the mercy, compassion, and grace of God. We can never fully succeed by ourselves.

It seems God gave us a commandment that we could not obey. Perhaps this is so we would have to depend upon the Holy Spirit. This is the greatness, the goodness, the wonder, the impossibility of the Gospel, that it asks of all of us something we—alone, apart, separate—cannot do! Only by living in love, in communion—God in us and we in God (see John 17:20-26)—do we find, every once in a while, a love flowing through us and toward us and from us that is bigger than our own. And we surely know it’s not “we” who are doing it!

 

Gateway to Silence:
Be the change you wish to see in the world. —Gandhi

Adapted from Richard Rohr, “Love Is the Only Message,” homily, May 13, 2012, https://cac.org/love-is-the-only-message/.

O glorie diferita de ce ne închipuim

„Un lucru e sigur şi se impune cu o evidenţă strigă­toare: istoria omenirii, începând cu vârstele ei cele mai îndepărtate, are un caracter tragic. Nu a rămas nică­ieri vreo urmă a unei vârste de aur, decât, desigur, în imaginarul colectiv al popoarelor.

Istoria omenească, în fond, este Babel. Turnul Babel reprezintă simbolul biblic al unei voinţe prometeice a unei puteri omeneşti unite, care degenerează în confu­zie şi împrăştiere. Uciderea lui Abel şi Turnul Babel sunt două mari imagini profetice ale istoriei omeneşti, a cărei desfăşurare apare ca o suită de lupte fratricide pentru putere între sisteme închise. Totul se petrece ca şi cum capacitatea divină de a iubi, depusă în om de la începuturi, s-ar fi prefăcut într-o forţă monstruoasă, lucrând numai pentru a domina şi a exclude.

Câteodată, e adevărat, intervine câte o surpriză feri­cită: un suflu mesianic se ridică, aducând pace şi fră­ţie, părând a croi o cale de destindere şi de înţelegere. O firavă speranţă se naşte. Se înalţă pe catarge drapele de pace. Apoi vântul îşi schimbă brusc direcţia şi izbuc­neşte o altă furtună. Pacea pe care o crezuserăm veşnică nu fusese decât un somn al conflictelor. Antagonismele reapar, ca şi excluderile. Reîncep ura, sfâşierea, cu ala­iul lor de cruzimi.

Când se porneşte o nouă avalanşă de orori, Dumne­zeu îşi regretă actul creator, ne spune Biblia: „s-a căit pentru că l-a creat pe om pe pământ şi s-a mâhnit în inima lui” (Gen 6,6). Dumnezeu ar fi putut opri trage­dia, renunţând la proiectul său grandios, prefăcând totul în pulbere. Însă Dumnezeu nu este ca omul. Gândurile sale nu sunt ca ale noastre, iar el nu iubeşte distrugerea: „… căci Eu sunt Dumnezeu… iar nu om… nu voi veni să te prăpădesc” (Os 11,9). Iubirea care a plămădit lumea, iubirea care a dorit creaţia pentru a se împărtăşi unor fiinţe distincte de sine, iubirea aceasta nu va renunţa la proiectul la temelia căruia stă venirea „Primului-născut din toată creaţia”. Dum­nezeu a văzut nenorocirea oamenilor, iar priveliştea aceasta a născut în inima lui o iubire nouă, plină de milostivire şi de duioşie. Cine ar putea măsura puterea unei asemenea iubiri? Dumnezeu a luat hotărârea de a salva ceea ce fusese pierdut.

Nu, Ziditorul nu-şi va uita măreţul proiect. Se va revela pe deplin celui pe care l-a voit şi iubit din vecie: omul, dorit ca să-i aducă lui Dumnezeu bucurie, fericire, slavă. Misiunea de a-şi mântui fraţii întru umanitate îi va reveni Fiului cel iubit; el îi va smulge din haos, din ură şi din moarte, cufundându-i în unda iubirii ce zideşte şi îndumnezeieşte: pentru ca şi ei să se poată bucura de viaţa divină, având, de asemenea, parte de plinătatea ei. Dăruindu-se neprecupeţit omului decăzut, Dumne­zeu va revărsa asupra inimii omeneşti dragostea sa milostivă; va dărui propria privire îndurătoare asupra celui rătăcit. Pe scurt, îl va trimite pe Fiul său cel iubit pentru a fi chipul omenesc al Iubirii răscumpărătoare.

De aceea a coborât Fiul unic al lui Dumnezeu în lumea noastră dezbinată şi sfâşiată. Sosirea lui fusese anunţată, însă el a apărut printre oameni fără nimic din strălucirea aşteptată: „într-o asemenea obscuritate (ceea ce lumea numeşte „a fi obscur”), scrie Pascal, încât istoricii, cei ce nu notează decât evenimentele importante ale statelor, abia dacă l-au observat”. „Glo­ria pe care venise s-o arate” era de alt ordin.”

Eloi Leclerc, Chemin de contemplation, în româneste „Cale de îndumnezeire”, ed. Sapientia

Your True Self Is Love

Richard Rohr, for Sunday, December 18, 2016

Those who have gone to the depths—of suffering, awe, or silence—discover an Indwelling Presence. It is a deep and loving “yes,” an “amen” or “let it be,” that is inherent within you. In Christian theology, this inner presence is described as the Holy Spirit: God as immanent, within, and even our deepest and truest self.

Some saints and mystics have described this presence as “closer to me than I am to myself” or “more me than I am myself.” This is what Thomas Merton called the True Self. It is inherent in all of us, yet it must be awakened and chosen. The Holy Spirit is totally given—and given equally—to all; but it must be received, too. One who totally receives this Presence and draws life from it is what we mean by a saint.

That is how “image” becomes “likeness” (Genesis 1:26). We all have the indwelling image, but we surrender to the likeness in varying degrees and stages. None of us are morally or psychologically perfect or whole, but a saint or mystic nevertheless dares to believe that he or she is ontologically (“in their very being”) whole and that this wholeness is a gift from God. It has nothing to do with “me” in my separateness!

The Holy Spirit is never concocted by our actions or behavior. The Spirit is naturally indwelling from the moment of our conception (Jeremiah 1:5); it is our inner being with God (which, by the way, is the basis for the sacredness of life in the womb!). With that understanding, we sometimes called the Holy Spirit “Uncreated Grace.” Culture and even religion often teach us to live out of our false self of reputation, self-image, role, possessions, money, appearance, and so on. It is only as this small self fails us—and it always eventually does—that the True Self stands revealed and ready to guide us.

The True Self—where you and God are one—does not choose to love as much as it is love itself already (see Colossians 3:3-4). The True Self does not teach us compassion as much as it is compassion. Loving from this core of your being is experienced as a river within you that flows of its own accord (see John 7:38-39). From this more spacious and grounded place, one naturally connects, empathizes, forgives, and loves everything. We were made in love, for love, and unto love. This deep inner “yes,” that is God in me, is already loving God through me. The false self does not really know how to love, in a very deep or broad way. It is too opportunistic. It is too small. It is too self-referential to be compassionate.

Throughout this year’s meditations I have explored love as the very foundation of reality, God’s character, and our own selves. This week and next I’ll try to summarize how everything is connected by this unbreakable thread throughout history and in our short lives.

Gateway to Silence:
Where there is hatred, let me bring love.

Reference:

Adapted from Richard Rohr, Silent Compassion: Finding God in Contemplation(Franciscan Media: 2014), 46-48.

Simplicity/Simplitate

Thomas R. Kelly (1893-1941), misionar Quaker, este autorul unui volumas care figureaza printre clasicii literaturii spirituale crestine: A Testament of Devotion. O carte în care straluceste acea întelepciune perena provenita din contactul staruitor cu Duhul. Fiindca, ni se pare evident, Un Spirit Unic ne este învatator. Mai jos, descrierea facuta de Kelly “celei de-a doua simplitati”, care este scopul unei maturitati întru credinta, o credinta pe masura unui adult (adaug: care a înteles ce înseamna sa asculti de Dumnezeu):

“În fine, ultimul rod al sfintei ascultari despre care vreau sa va vorbesc e simplitatea, o simplitate de copil încrezator, cea a copiilor lui Dumnezeu. O afli dincolo de complexitate. E naivitatea care nu are nimic de-a face cu subtilitatile. Cu simplitatea aceasta începe maturizarea spirituala, dupa ce a trecut vârsta în care, cu stângacie, omul cauta Împaratia lui Dumnezeu în activismul religios. Cu toate acestea, destui ramân prinsi într-o asemenea capcana care-i opreste într-o adolescenta a sufletului… Semnul vietii simplificate este o bucurie radioasa. Stiind bine ce înseamna durerea, oamenii ajunsi la acest nivel înceteaza sa se chinuie si sa se zbata, ci îsi parcurg senin, fara graba, timpul de viata ce le e dat, cu bucuria si siguranta vesniciei. Stiind bine cât de complicate sunt problemele oamenilor, ei se îndreaptà cu hotarâre spre dragostea lui Dumnezeu, si se leaga pentru întotdeauna de El… Simplitatea acesta leaga între ele sufletele care traiesc în ascultare smerita si în închinare, stând necontenit în prezenta Celui care este Totul în toate.”

Thomas R. Kelly (1893-1941), a Quaker missionary, wrote a slender spiritual classic called A Testament of Devotion. I will quote him at length, and you will see another example of perennial wisdom. We are obviously being taught by the One Spirit. Here is Kelly’s powerful description of the second simplicity that is the goal of mature adulthood:

The last fruit of holy obedience is the simplicity of the trusting child, the simplicity of the children of God. It is the simplicity which lies beyond complexity. It is the naiveté which is the yonder side of sophistication. It is the beginning of spiritual maturity, which comes after the awkward age of religious busyness for the Kingdom of God—yet how many are caught, and arrested in development, within this adolescent development of the soul’s growth! The mark of this simplified life is radiant joy. . . . Knowing sorrow to the depths it does not agonize and fret and strain, but in serene, unhurried calm it walks in time with the joy and assurance of Eternity. Knowing fully the complexity of men’s problems it cuts through to the Love of God and ever cleaves to Him. . . . It binds all obedient souls together in the fellowship of humility and simple adoration of Him who is all in all”.

This amazing simplification comes when we “center down,” when life is lived with singleness of eye, from a holy Center where the breath and stillness of Eternity are heavy upon us and we are wholly yielded to Him. Some of you know this holy, recreating Center of eternal peace and joy and live in it day and night. Some of you may see it over the margin and wistfully long to slip into that amazing Center where the soul is at home with God. Be very faithful to that wistful longing. It is the Eternal Goodness calling you to return Home, to feed upon green pastures and walk beside still waters and live in the peace of the Shepherd’s presence. It is the life beyond fevered strain. We are called beyond strain, to peace and power and joy and love and thorough abandonment of self. We are called to put our hands trustingly in His hand and walk the holy way, in no anxiety assuredly resting in Him. [1]

Gateway to Silence:
Live simply so that others may simply live.