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Center for Action and Contemplation

Everything Is Grace

Friday, February 5, 2016

Grace: Week 2

Everything Is Grace
Friday, February 5, 2016

Mercy is not a virtue that you choose to put on one day. Mercy has to be your deepest way of seeing, a generosity of spirit that draws from your identity, your deepest dignity, which is love. It is basically a worldview of abundance, wherein I do not have to withhold, protect, or hoard myself.

I liken this deepest dignity, this True Self who we are at our core, to a diamond buried deep within us and constantly forming under the intense pressure of our lives. We must search for and uncover this diamond, freeing it from the surrounding debris of guilt and shame. In a sense, our True Self must, like Jesus, be resurrected. That process is not resuscitation of something old and tired, but a wonderful discovery of something always new—and already perfectly formed.

For the True Self, there is nothing to hate, reject, deny, or judge as unworthy or unnecessary. It has “been forgiven much and so [it] loves much” (Luke 7:47). Once you live inside the Big Body of love, compassion and mercy come easily. The detours of the false self were all just delays, bumps in the road, pressure points that created something new in the long run, as pressure does to carbon deep beneath the earth. God uses everything to construct this hard and immortal diamond, our core of love. Diamonds are said to be the hardest substance on this earth. It is this strong diamond of love that will always be stronger than death (Song of Songs 8:6).

All, absolutely everything, is now made use of in this great economy of grace. “Grace is everywhere,” Georges Bernanos said both at the end of his great novel and at the very end of his life. [1] Likewise, nearing her death, Thérèse of Lisieux said, “Everything is a grace!” [2] Living from your core of love, you can now enjoy unearned love in yourself and allow it in everyone else too. This patient mining process will make you compassionate and forgiving with the unfinished diamonds of others who are on the same journey as you are. This True Self cannot find or know God without bringing everybody else along for the same ride. It is one great big finding and one great big being found, all at the same time. Surely this is the meaning of the Day of YHWH, Dame Julian’s “Great Deed,” and God’s Final Judgement.

You do not find the Great Love except by finding your True Self along with it, and you cannot find your True Self without falling into the Great Love. As you fall, you will discover that the meaning of the universe, at its deepest and final level, is only “mercy within mercy within mercy.” [3]

Gateway to Silence:
Everything is grace.

[1] Georges Bernanos, The Diary of a Country Priest (Carroll & Graf: 2002), 298.

[2] John Clarke, trans., Story of a Soul: The Autobiography of Saint Therese of Lisieux (ICS Publications: 1996), 266.

[3] Thomas Merton, The Sign of Jonas (Harcourt: 1953), 362.

Adapted from Richard Rohr, “Today Is a Time for Mercy,” December 10, 2015,; and Immortal Diamond: The Search for Our True Self (Jossey-Bass: 2013), 184-185.


Image Credit: Photograph by BryanHanson, 2015.
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