True Self and False Self: Week 1
Completing the Divine Circuit
Thursday, August 10, 2017
Let me describe God’s universal love as best I can: love is recognizing oneself in the other by realizing they are not other! We are all in this together. We normally have to start with little others—beloved, friend, child, parents—to be ready for the great leap into the Great Other. This is a continuous mirroring process from both sides, and God does it first of all in us, so we can learn to pass it on. Paul says it well: “At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then we shall see face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known” (1 Corinthians 13:12).
In some form of wordless, contemplative prayer, you are letting yourself be known nakedly by God, with no pretense, no perfect words, no performance principle whatsoever. Like a mirror, you just allow yourself to be seen exactly as you are. All God can love is who you really are, your True Self, because that’s the only thing that exists anyway. If you have to make yourself better or judge yourself to be worse, you are not allowing the perfect and unconditional gaze of God.
The false self that you think you are or need to be is just an idea in your head. During quiet prayer, little by little, you become more naked and more vulnerable. It’s like love-making. You slowly disrobe and become mirrored perfectly in the safety and gentleness of God’s intimate presence.
In prayer, you are allowing God to love you and to complete the circuit of love, which is the way all electricity must work—in a circuit. God sees the Christ in you and cannot not love you. That part of you—your True Self—has always loved God and has always said yes to God. Contemplative prayer is recognizing yourself in God and letting God recognize God’s very self in you. Now the circuit is complete, and the power called grace can flow freely.
Gateway to Silence:
I am love.
Adapted from Richard Rohr, True Self/False Self, discs 2 and 3 (Franciscan Media: 2003), CD.