God for us, we call you Father. God alongside us, we call you Jesus. God within us, we call you Holy Spirit. —Richard Rohr
For Richard Rohr, the Trinity provides the foundation of a benevolent universe. Here Richard reflects on the meaning of “Father” in Trinitarian theology:
God for us is my understanding of, and code word for, the Father. It tells us that reality is foundationally benevolent. Reality is on our side. It’s not a scary universe. It tells us that God, like a good father, is for us and is protective of us. You can just as easily call God Mother, or Inherent Goodness, or Primal Love. God within us is my code word for the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is that inner aliveness that heals people and awakens them from their wounds. I often call the Spirit an interior homing device. For all our stupidity and mistakes, we have a deep internal intuition that we are children of God. It’s called the divine indwelling.
I understand Jesus as God alongside us. Jesus is the accompanying God who walks with us, especially through the mystery of death and resurrection. The paschal mystery is the summary of all of Jesus’ teaching and experience. Jesus is the manifest one who comes forth from the unmanifest and reveals the divine pattern. The pattern that Jesus the manifest one reveals is that the divine pattern is loss and renewal, death and resurrection. There is no other way. We dare not try to define any universe where there is no death and where there is no loss.
Unfortunately, very few people really want to believe in the paschal mystery. By and large, what human beings want is resurrection without death, answers without doubt, the conclusion without the process. We don’t like Jesus in this sense, leading us through this mystery.
When trust in God as Father is missing, there is a foundational scariness and insecurity to our experience of reality. In that sense, we could say that we are living in a world without the Father. It’s not a safe universe. It’s not a benevolent universe. We think there is an enemy behind every rock and that we’ve got to protect our lives at all costs because no one else will. It’s all on us. It’s understandable why people get so paranoid and preoccupied with security systems of every form and shape. When we don’t know God as the One who most desires our goodness, safety, and growth, there is no underlying “okayness” to the world and to our own lives. There’s no sense that reality is on our side, so we of course try to save ourselves.
Engaging with this mystery of the Trinity leads us into a desperate and dangerous love affair with God. It’s a love affair that’s always going on inside of us, almost in spite of us, and all we can do is start saying yes and start recognizing and honoring it.
Adapted from Richard Rohr, The Divine Dance: Exploring the Mystery of Trinity (Albuquerque, NM: Center for Action and Contemplation, 2004). Available as CD and MP3 download.
Explore Further. . .
- Read Richard and CAC teacher James Finley on the face of others as the face of God.
- Learn more about this year’s theme Nothing Stands Alone.
- Meet the team behind the Daily Meditations.
Image credit: Benjamin Yazza, Untitled – Sandia Mountains (detail), 2022, photograph, Albuquerque, used with permission. Jenna Keiper & Leslye Colvin, 2022, triptych art, United States. Click here to enlarge photo.
Image Inspiration: when i began photographing birds during the pandemic it was meant to fuel a creative need. as i continued it began to fuel a life need, a missing connection to nature. i not only felt a need to see different birds but to see the change in nature around me. a connection to my own heritage – wondering again and again if my ancestors roamed the same fields, came across the same animals or took meditation in the same plots. —Benjamin Yazza (photographer), Albuquerque, New Mexico
Story from Our Community:
I was so moved by the Daily Meditations post “Luminous Darkness.” I can, at long last, find words to express the wisdom that has been at the center of my life since I was 5 years old: “Mystics experience a full-bodied embrace and acceptance by Divine Love, and then spend their lives trying to verbalize and embody it.” At a young age, I experienced God’s love in such a profound way that I knew the only way I could reciprocate was by becoming a priest. For a woman in the Catholic Church, that was impossible. But after a long journey, I found my way to become an Anglican priest, which fulfilled my call. Along my path, I have walked through many valleys of darkness but have held on to the knowledge that God and I share a dance of love. I am so grateful for this meditation that has put words to my experience of God as my lover. Thank you. —Loy B.
Prayer for our community:
God, Lord of all creation, lover of life and of everything, please help us to love in our very small way what You love infinitely and everywhere. We thank You that we can offer just this one prayer and that will be more than enough, because in reality every thing and every one is connected, and nothing stands alone. To pray for one part is really to pray for the whole, and so we do. Help us each day to stand for love, for healing, for the good, for the diverse unity of the Body of Christ and all creation, because we know this is what You desire: as Jesus prayed, that all may be one. We offer our prayer together with all the holy names of God, we offer our prayer together with Christ, our Lord, Amen.