×

By continuing to browse our site you agree to our use of cookies and our Privacy Policy.

Falling in Love

Sunday, July 24th, 2016

Spirituality of Imperfection: Week 2

Falling in Love
Sunday, July 24, 2016

Some have called the principle of going down in order to go up a “spirituality of imperfection” or “the way of the wound.” It has been affirmed in Christianity by St. Francis of Assisi as the way of poverty, by St. Therese of Lisieux as her Little Way, and by Alcoholics Anonymous as the necessary first step of powerlessness. St. Paul taught this unwelcome message with his enigmatic statement, “It is when I am weak that I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10). Of course, in saying that, he was merely building on what he called the “folly” of the crucifixion of Jesus—a tragic and absurd dying that became resurrection itself.

The transition from the first half of life to the second half of life is itself a “falling upward.” Contrary to the idea of climbing a ladder of perfection, the way up is the way down. It is not by our own willpower or moral perfection that we ascend to higher levels of consciousness. This is completely counterintuitive! Moreover, we can’t engineer enlightenment by ourselves. It is done unto us.

You will not know for sure that this message is true until you are on the “up” side. You will never imagine it to be true until you have gone “down” and come out on the other side in larger form. You must be pressured “from on high,” by fate, circumstance, love, or God, because nothing in you wants to walk the path of descent. Falling upward is a “secret” of the soul, known not by thinking about it or proving it but only by risking it—at least once. Those who have allowed it know it is true, but only after the fact.

This is probably why Jesus praised faith and trust even more than love. It takes a foundational trust to fall or to fail—and not to fall apart. Faith alone holds you while you stand waiting and hoping and trusting. Then, and only then, will deeper love happen. It’s no surprise at all that in English (and, I am told, in other languages as well) we speak of “falling” in love. I think falling is the only way to get to authentic love. None would go freely, if we knew ahead of time what love is going to ask of us. Very human faith lays the necessary foundation for the ongoing discovery of love. Have no doubt, though: great love is always a discovery, a revelation, a wonderful surprise, a falling into “something” much bigger and deeper that is literally beyond us and larger than us.

Gateway to Silence:
When I am weak I am strong.

Reference:
Adapted from Richard Rohr, Falling Upward: A Spirituality of the Two Halves of Life (Jossey-Bass: 2011), xxiv, xxvi-xxvii.

Join our email community

Sign-up to receive the Daily Meditations, featuring reflections on the wisdom and practices of the Christian contemplative tradition.


Hidden Fields

Find out about upcoming courses, registration dates, and new online courses.
Our theme this year is Nothing Stands Alone. What could happen if we embraced the idea of God as relationship—with ourselves, each other, and the world? Meditations are emailed every day of the week, including the Weekly Summary on Saturday. Each week builds on previous topics, but you can join at any time.
In a world of fault lines and fractures, how do we expand our sense of self to include love, healing, and forgiveness—not just for ourselves or those like us, but for all? This monthly email features wisdom and stories from the emerging Christian contemplative movement. Join spiritual seekers from around the world and discover your place in the Great Story Line connecting us all in the One Great Life. Conspirare. Breathe with us.