Daily Meditations

Over the course of this year’s Daily Meditations, Richard Rohr explores how we can incarnate love in our unique context by unveiling the image and likeness of God in all that we see and do. Each week builds on previous topics, but you can join at any time! Watch a short intro (5-minute video) and explore past reflections. Scroll down to read the most recent post.

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Most Recent Post


Inner Light
Friday, March 23, 2018

I have the immense joy of being a [human being], a member of a race in which God became incarnate. As if the sorrows and stupidities of the human condition could overwhelm me, now I realize what we all are. And if only everybody could realize this! But it cannot be explained. There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun. —Thomas Merton [1]


You are the light of the world. . . . Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven. —Matthew 5:14, 16

A mystic—like Merton, Francis of Assisi, Julian of Norwich, John Duns Scotus, and many others—is one who recognizes God’s image and likeness in this human being, in this creature, in this moment, and from that encounter with the sacred comes to see God everywhere and always. The mystic cannot help but love and have compassion for what is right in front of them. God’s indwelling presence—in every created thing—is inherent and cannot be earned or destroyed.

In her book, Scotus for Dunces, Mary Beth Ingham writes:

Haecceitas points to the ineffable within each being. . . . According to Scotus, the created order is not best understood as a transparent medium through which divine light [from the outside] shines (as Aquinas taught), but is itself endowed with an inner light that shines forth from within. [This is like the] difference between a window (Aquinas) and a lamp (Scotus). Both give light, but the source of light for Scotus has already been given to the being by the creator. Each being . . . possesses an immanent dignity; it is already gifted by the loving Creator with a sanctity beyond our ability to understand. . . .

Once we recognize the value of nature, of others, and of ourselves, we are called to act in imago Christi, as images of Christ who embodied divine love. [2]

At a CAC conference many years ago, Ingham reflected:

In the most concrete we discover the most ultimate. That is what it means for God to become one of us. The concrete individual who lived in the Middle East 2000 years ago, Jesus of Nazareth, was both divine and human.

And so, what does this mean for us? We are called to see the greatness of God in the smallest of things. We see divinity within humanity. We discover in ourselves a light within, and we discover in every human being, and as Scotus teaches, in everything that exists, an inner light that is a gift from God. [3]

When we become open and receptive to the ordinary, we discover:

The one is the way to the many.
The specific is the way to the spacious.
The now is the way to always.
The here is the way to the everywhere.
The material is the way to the spiritual.
The visible is the way to the invisible.

[1] Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander (Image Books: 1968), 157.

[2] Mary Beth Ingham, Scotus for Dunces: An Introduction to the Subtle Doctor (The Franciscan Institute: 2003), 53, 54-55, 66.

[3] Mary Beth Ingham, Holding the Tension: The Power of Paradox, disc 5 (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2007), CD, MP3 download.

Adapted from Richard Rohr, Just This (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2017), 10-11.

You can only know anything by meeting it in its precise and irreplaceable thisness and honoring it there. Each individual act of creation is a once-in-eternity choice on God’s part. —Richard Rohr

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