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The Prophetic Path: Motivated by Love
The Prophetic Path: Motivated by Love

The Prophetic Path: Motivated by Love

Sunday, November 26, 2023

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
—Romans 8:38–39

This week we focus on people who call us to act out of loving union with God for the sake of others. Father Richard considers union with God as something that has already taken place, whether we experience it or not:

We are already in union with God! There is an absolute, eternal union between God and the soul of everything. At the deepest level, we are “hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3) and “the whole creation … is being brought into the same glorious freedom as the children of God” (Romans 8:21). The problem is Western religion has not taught us this. For most Christians that I’ve worked with as a priest, God is still separate and “out there.” Most people are still trying to secure God’s approval. Our ego over-emphasizes our individuality and separateness from God and others. We limited God’s redemption to the human species—and not very many individuals within that species! [1]

Daily contemplative prayer helps us rediscover our inherent union and learn how to abide in Presence, trusting that we are already good and safe in God. We don’t have to worry about our little private, separate, insecure self. Jesus taught, I am one with you and you are one with your neighbor and we are all one with God. That’s the gospel! That’s the whole point of Communion or Eucharist; we partake of the bread and wine until they convince us that we are in communion. It seems easier for God to convince bread and wine of their identity than to convince us.

Believe it or not, we’re not here to save our souls. That’s already been done once and for all—in Christ, through Christ, with Christ, and as Christ (see Ephesians 1:3–14). By God’s love, mercy, and grace, we are already the Body of Christ: the one universal body that has existed since the beginning of time. You and I are here for just a few decades, dancing on the stage of life, perhaps taking our autonomous selves far too seriously. That little and clearly imperfect self just cannot believe it could be a child of God. I hope the gospel frees us to live inside of a life that is larger than the one our small selves have imagined. The larger life of the Body of Christ cannot be taken from us. It is the very life of God which cannot be destroyed. [2]

As Thomas Merton wrote in his journal, “We are already one. But we imagine that we are not. And what we have to recover is our original unity. What we have to be is what we are.” [3]

[1] Adapted from Richard Rohr, Emotional Sobriety: Rewiring Our Programs for “Happiness” (Albuquerque, NM: Center for Action and Contemplation, 2011), webcast. Available as MP3 audio download.

[2] Adapted from Richard Rohr, “There Is Only One Suffering; There Is Only One Happiness,” homily, September 13, 2015. 

[3] Thomas Merton, The Asian Journal of Thomas Merton, ed. Naomi Burton, Patrick Hart, James Laughlin (New York: New Directions, 1973), 308. Rohr’s emphasis.

Image Credit: A path from one week to the next—Loïs Mailou Jones, Shapes and Colors (detail), 1958, watercolor on paper, Smithsonian American Art Museum. Madison Frambes, Untitled 4 (detail), 2023, naturally dyed paper and ink, Mexico, used with permission. Madison Frambes, Untitled 1 (detail), 2023, naturally dyed paper and ink, Mexico, used with permission. Click here to enlarge image.

For this series of pieces for CAC [I explore] the loneliness of grief, and the fleeting moments of beauty, grounding, and community that make it bearable.
Madison Frambes, artist

Story from Our Community:  

I see God in the faces of friends and loved ones, in the eyes of the newborn, in the birds who sit on my balcony waiting for their supper. God gave us the gift of love. It’s both the method and the outcome. We have failed miserably in our world—but the gift is always there. It’s waiting to be recognized, to be embraced—to be lived. —Jaquelin F.

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