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Center for Action and Contemplation

Join in the Dance

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Trinity: Week 3

Join in the Dance
Thursday, September 29, 2016

Once you learn to take your place inside the circle of praise and mutual deference, all meaningful distinctions between secular and sacred, natural and supernatural, fall away. In the Divine Economy, all is useable, even our mistakes and our sin. The cross shouted this message of “failure undone and used,” yet we still struggle to hear or accept it.

Everything is holy now. The only resistance to that divine flow of holiness and wholeness is our human refusal to see, to enjoy, and to participate.

We are each a transmitter station, a relay station, but sadly this is somehow humiliating for the ego. I was so happy when I first preached in Germany and found out that my last name, Rohr, was translated as “conduit” or “pipe.” Alleluia!

But my ego self is not satisfied to be a pass-through account; it wants to be a substantial “Richard Rohr!” Yet this small, egoic frame of reference is going to be gone in a few years in the form that I presently identify with. All I can be is a part of the circle of praise. Just knowing that I’m part of the team becomes more than enough, especially when I recognize that it was all given to me freely anyway.

I didn’t ask to be born. I thank God I was born, and I’m grateful to be here. My sister, St. Clare of Assisi, is reported to have said right before she died, “Thank you for letting me be a human being.” There it is. It’s almost too simple and too clear. We each get our little chance to dance on this stage of life, to reflect the glory of God back to God and to participate with everything and everyone else.

Once I was able to move from pyramid thinking to circular thinking, by reason of the Trinity—ah! My mind let go of its own defenses and stopped refusing and resisting the dance. Being a wallflower is not much fun.

Here’s how Thomas Merton more poetically puts it:

For the world and time are the dance of the Lord in emptiness. The silence of the spheres is the music of a wedding feast. The more we persist in misunderstanding the phenomena of life, the more we analyze them out into strange finalities and complex purposes of our own, the more we involve ourselves in sadness, absurdity and despair. But it does not matter much, because no despair of ours can alter the reality of things; or stain the joy of the cosmic dance which is always there. Indeed, we are in the midst of it, and it is in the midst of us, for it beats in our very blood, whether we want it to or not.

Yet the fact remains that we are invited to forget ourselves on purpose, cast our awful solemnity to the winds and join in the general dance. [1]

Gateway to Silence:
Dance with Us.

[1] Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation (Shambhala: 2003), 303.

Adapted from Richard Rohr, The Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation (Whitaker House: 2016), 182.

Image Credit: Dancers (detail), Edgar Degas (1834-1917), 1899. Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, Ohio.
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