A reflection on the past 50 years from Fr. Richard
It is hard to believe, but this month marks 50 years since I was first ordained in my home parish in Topeka, Kansas. It was a beautiful ordination ceremony. I was young and excited; my hair was long (I had hair!), and I wore colorful vestments covered with flowers I’d probably be embarrassed to wear now.
This was during the great years after Vatican II—the inspired spiritual renewal that had put the Gospel back at the center of our lives, just as St. Francis tried to do.
After the ceremony people were waiting in line to congratulate me, and I was feeling very important and holy. A woman held up the receiving line to tell me a story. I was irritated; as many others were in line. She told me about the history of my parish church, and how it was built on the very spot where the Pentecostal movement began. “You’re going to be used by the Holy Spirit,” she said. I tried to hurry her along, but nevertheless she persisted. And by she, I mean both this particular woman and the Holy Spirit—who has never given up on me.
Five decades later I am humbled to think about how it has all played out. I’ve written more books than I care to admit, prayed alongside amazing leaders and spoken in front of countless wonderful people. Through it all the Spirit has persisted in her work despite my many personal limitations and times I passionately believed my own message while also denying it in practice.
God always uses unworthy instruments so we can never think that it is we who are accomplishing the work. The older I get, the more I think, “God, you were so patient with me! I didn’t do it right and you still did it right, you still used me.”
2020 has been an unprecedented year—like nothing I have seen before. I believe we are seeing humanity awaken to a new level of awareness of systemic injustice in the world, the suffering it causes, and of the role each of us play in perpetuating these systems—predominantly by those of us with privilege and power. We would do well to remember that evil can only be substantially overcome by collective good. When one part is hurt, we all share in that pain, and if one part is liberated, we all share in the joy.
There is a great need right now for unworthy instruments—people who have done the necessary work to ground compassionate action in contemplative, non-dual consciousness. When you experience the reality of your oneness with God and Creation, actions of justice and love will naturally follow. This message has been at the core of what I set out to teach over the last fifty years, and now that I rarely leave my hermitage, these meditations have become my primary means of sharing what God is putting on my heart. It is my hope they have been a source of both healing and encouragement for you.
Twice a year we pause the normal Daily Meditations to ask for your support to continue this work. We understand that the needs in our communities are as high as they have ever been, and we trust your discernment about the right way to help. If you’ve been impacted by the Daily Meditations and are financially able, please consider donating. All contributions are appreciated, as we are committed to keeping these messages free and accessible to people all around the world—now more than ever.
Please take a moment to read our Executive Director Michael’s note below about how you can help and a gift we’d like to share.
Tomorrow the Daily Meditations will continue exploring the important theme of Nature and the Cosmos.
On June 13th, 1970, at the age of just 27, Fr. Richard began an incredible life of teaching and service to people all over the world. As a longtime student of Fr. Richard’s, it is an incredible privilege to partner with him and our whole Center for Action and Contemplation (CAC) team each day.
We believe that a more loving, just, equitable and sustainable world is possible, but a new consciousness is necessary to get there. In the tradition of Jesus, St. Francis, and mystics from every tradition, our goal is to provide spiritual wisdom that supports both inner and outer transformation. Action and Contemplation are inextricable on the spiritual journey, especially during a time of worldwide disruption and pain.
As the CAC’s Executive Director my top priority is ensuring Fr. Richard and our other amazing teachers have the structural support they need to continue sharing their work through these daily meditations and our other programs. Because of our partnership with you, more and more people are being introduced to this wisdom. Thank you—there is no way he could do all of this alone, and there is no way we could do all of this alone either.
We do our work in deep respect and awareness of the many other people and organizations playing their part to transform systems of oppression in the great body of Christ. Specifically, we stand in solidarity with activists around the world who are prophetically demanding justice for all Black people who have faced violence, anti-blackness and systemic racism. These are spiritual evils that impoverish us all and they demand our participation in a systemic response. Now more than ever we honor the needs in all of our communities, and we trust your discernment on how best to help. Thank you for any support you are able to offer our mission at this time.
Please consider making a one-time donation or a recurring gift. Your support allows us to keep these Daily Meditations free and accessible to an ever growing audience around the world. Will you contribute and support the future of this work? If you are able, please consider making your donation a monthly one. Monthly support helps create the stability we need to share this vital message to more people in more ways well into the future.
Our hope for this edition is to help us stand on the threshold and see beyond ourselves to the broader and more inclusive world that lies before us.
On this 50th anniversary of Richard’s Ordination, we honor his life and are deeply grateful to be on this journey together.
Peace and Every Good,
Executive Director, Center for Action & Contemplation
P.S. Please consider making a contribution to the Center for Action and Contemplation (tax-deductible in the United States). We invite donations of any size. You can donate securely online at cac.org/dm-appeal or send a check (USD only) to CAC, PO Box 12464, Albuquerque, NM 87195. Learn more about charitable giving at cac.org/support. Read more of Fr. Richard’s thoughts on the systemic nature of Evil. Email us at [email protected] if you are considering making a legacy or estate gift. Thank you.