Daily Meditations
Archive: May 2019

Over the course of the 2019 Daily Meditations, Richard Rohr mines the depths of his Christian tradition through his Franciscan and contemplative lens. Each week builds on previous topics, but you can join at any time! Learn more about this year’s theme—Old and New: An Evolving Faith—watch a short intro, and explore recent reflections. Scroll down to read the most recent post.

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Most Recent Post

Indwelling Spirit

Loving Relationship
Tuesday, May 21, 2019

The highest expression of the spirit is the one that opens us to the Great Other, in love and trust. It establishes a dialogue with God, listens from the conscience to God’s call, and delivers us trustingly into the palm of God’s hand. This communion can be so intense, say the mystics of every tradition, that the soul of the beloved is fused with the Lover in an experience of nonduality; by grace we participate in God’s very being. Here the human spirit is touching the hem of the Holy Spirit’s garment. —Leonardo Boff [1]

The Holy Spirit is the love relationship between the Father and the Son. It is this relationship itself that is gratuitously given to us! Or better, we are included inside this universal love. This is salvation in one wonderful snapshot.

Jesuit Richard Hauser (1937–2018), who focused much of his teaching and writing on the Holy Spirit, saw that the indwelling Spirit leads to union and love:

This love has as its object God, as well as other people. Christian theological tradition has most often seen the Holy Spirit in the Trinity as the bond of love between the Father and the Son. . . . The primary effect of the Spirit acting in people . . . will be love, both for one another and for God. . . .

God’s Spirit joins our spirit; it does not replace it. The good acts we perform are truly our acts, not simply acts of the Holy Spirit in us. The deepest part of the self is the spiritual dimension. From the center flows all our freedom and love; at this level we remain free to choose to move or not to move with the Spirit. The Holy Spirit is indeed active in us at all times drawing us toward greater love and service of God and others, but the Spirit does not control our response. That flows from our freedom. [2]

This loving relationship shows itself in myriad forms, such as the endless diversity of insects and wildflowers, culture and art, medicine and science. Each manifestation expresses God’s endless desire to create new forms of life and externalized love. All things good, true, and beautiful are already baptized in the one, same Spirit. (Read Ephesians 4:4-7 anew!)

The Holy Spirit shows up as the central and healing power of absolute newness and healing in our relationship with everything else. Anglican mystic Evelyn Underhill (1875–1941) defined mysticism as “the art of union with Reality.” [3] The Spirit is the artist painting this union through us!

The Spirit’s work is helping us stay in relationship and building connection. The Spirit warms, softens, mends, and renews all the broken, cold places in and between things. Invisible but powerful, willing to be anonymous, the Spirit does not care who gets the credit for the wind from nowhere, the living water that we take for granted, or the bush that always burns and is never consumed.

References:
[1] Leonardo Boff, Come Holy Spirit (Orbis Books: 2015), 42.

[2] Richard J. Hauser, In His Spirit (Beacon Publishing:  2011), 37, 38.

[3] Evelyn Underhill, Practical Mysticism: A Little Book for Normal People (E. P. Dutton & Company: 1915), 3.

Adapted from Richard Rohr with Mike Morrell, The Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation (Whitaker House: 2016), 186-187.

Image credit: The Miraculous Haul of Fishes (detail), Henry Ossawa Tanner, between 1913 and 1914, National Academy of Design, New York, NY.
Inspiration for this week’s banner image: When the Spirit is alive in people, they wake up from their mechanical thinking and enter the realm of co-creative power. —Richard Rohr

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