Father Richard writes of the sacred nature of all life:
Almost every religion’s history begins with one massive misperception; namely, making a fatal distinction between the sacred and the profane. Religions often put all their emphasis on creating sacred places, sacred time, and sacred actions. While I fully appreciate the need for this, it unfortunately leaves most of life “un-sacred.”
In authentic mystical moments, any clear distinction between sacred and profane quickly falls apart. Afterward, one knows all the world is sacred because most of the time such moments happen in so-called secular settings. For examples, look at the lives of Abraham and Sarah, Moses, Elijah, Mary, and Jesus. Few, if any, of their “sacred” moments happened in “holy” places, but simply wherever they were. Our Franciscan official motto is Deus Meus et Omnia, “My God and all things.” Once we recognize the Christ as the universal truth of matter and spirit working together as one, then everything is holy. Once we surrender to this Christ mystery in our oh-so-ordinary selves and bodies, we begin to see it in every other ordinary place too.
We don’t have to go to sacred places to pray or wait for holy days for good things to happen. We can pray always, and everything that happens is potentially sacred if we allow it to be. Once we can accept that God is in all circumstances, and that God can and will use even bad situations for good, then everything becomes an occasion for good and an occasion for God. “This is the day God has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24).
Our task is to find the good, the true, and the beautiful in everything—even, and most especially, in the problematic. The bad is never strong enough to counteract the good. We can most easily learn this through some form of contemplative practice. In contemplation we learn to trust our Vital Center over all the passing snags of emotions and obsessive thinking. Once we deepen contact with our strong and loving soul, which is also the Indwelling Spirit, we are no longer pulled to and fro with every passing feeling. This is the peace that Jesus gives, a peace that nothing else can give, and that no one can take from us (see John 14:27).
Divine Incarnation took the form of an Indwelling Presence in every human soul and surely all creatures in some rudimentary way. Ironically, our human freedom gives us the ability to stop such a train and refuse to jump on board our own life. Angels, animals, trees, water, and yes, bread and wine seem to fully accept and enjoy their wondrous fate. Only we humans resist and deny our core identities. We can cause great havoc and thus must be somehow boundaried and contained. The only way we ourselves can refuse to jump onto the train of life is by any negative game of exclusion or unlove—even of ourselves. Everything belongs, including us.
Adapted from Richard Rohr, Essential Teachings on Love, selected by Joelle Chase and Judy Traeger (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2018), 225–226, 227.
Image credit: A path from one week to the next— Izzy Spitz, Untitled. CAC Staff, Untitled. Izzy Spitz, Untitled. Watercolor. Used with permission. Click here to enlarge image.
Our divinely-given identities and experiences color our horizons like a sunrise.
Story from Our Community:
It’s 2:08 a.m. I have just given my son time, attention, and a clean set of night clothes. Jeffrey is disabled and, at 51 years of living in our family, depends totally on our loving care. I am often awake at this hour, and sometimes I find myself longing for words of blessing and grace. I know this is also the hour the Daily Meditations are posted. I sit at my kitchen table with my cell phone. I am never disappointed. I experience words of grace if my eyes are open and my mind and heart are ready to receive. The words are reminders of the Spirit’s energy in the world and in my world. The words bring a new perspective, a new understanding, a new direction for me. I am blessed and grateful. —Linda B.