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Discerning What is Ours to Do

We Are Being Guided

Sunday, August 21st, 2022

What will happen if I really trust God’s love for me and allow God to direct my life?
—Ilia Delio, Franciscan Prayer 

This week’s meditations focus on how we discern what actions are ours to do. As Francis of Assisi said on his deathbed, “I have done what is mine; may Christ teach you what is yours!” [1] Father Richard teaches that discernment begins with an authentic trust in God’s presence and guidance:

The full life of faith becomes a life of deep joy and rest. Once we are “grafted to the Vine,” to use Jesus’ words (see John 15:4–5), we don’t have to be anxious about many things (see Luke 10:41). We don’t have to be worried about the next moment or about tomorrow (see Matthew 6:34). We can trust that we are being guided; in fact, almost everything is seen as guidance. Our ability to trust that there is guidance available allows it to become guidance! Basically, we switch from the fixing, fully understanding, and controlling mode to the trusting, listening, and allowing mode. Then we start allowing the Divine Flow instead of stopping it with a “no” or a question mark.

The Spirit in us knows how to use everything that happens to bring about healing and growth. We can trust that “God is even in this!” That does not mean we shouldn’t work to change and improve things; in fact, quite the contrary. But when our first heart and soul response is a “yes” and not a “no,” then we can experience God in the moment and see guidance in the events of our lives. We can trust that nothing is wasted. If there are changes and fixes that have to be made, we can now take care of them in an appropriate, calm, and positive way. That is what characterizes a mature believer in any religion.

Faith, as we see in the Hebrew Scriptures and Jesus’ usage of them, is much closer to our words “trust” or “confidence” than it is about believing doctrines to be true. Simply believing doctrines demands almost no ego-surrender or real change of the small self. Holding confidence that God is good, God can be trusted, and God is actively involved in my life is a much more powerful and effective practice. This is the practical power of biblical faith. Faith-filled people are, quite simply, usable for larger purposes because they live in and listen to a much Larger Self. 

Richard shares that contemplative practice helps us grow in such trusting faith:

From my own experience, I know I need a contemplative practice. Some form of the prayer of quiet is necessary to touch me at the unconscious level, the level where deep and lasting transformation occurs. From my place of prayer, I am able to understand more clearly what is mine to do and have the courage to do it. 

References:

[1] Francis of Assisi, quoted by Thomas of Celano, The Remembrance of the Desire of a Soul, chapter 162, in Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, The Founder (New York: New City Press, 2000), 386.

Adapted from Richard Rohr, A Spring within Us: A Book of Daily Meditations (Albuquerque, NM: CAC Publishing, 2016), 334–335; and

Essential Teachings on Love, selected by Joelle Chase and Judy Traeger (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2018), 88.

Explore Further. . .

Image credit: Jenna Keiper, Untitled (detail), 2020, photograph, Bellingham, used with permission. McKenna Phillips, Free Hands (detail), 2018, Unsplash. Jenna Keiper, Untitled (detail), 2020, photograph, Albuquerque, used with permission. Jenna Keiper & Leslye Colvin, 2022, triptych art, United States. Click here to enlarge image.

This week’s images appear in a form inspired by early Christian/Catholic triptych art: a threefold form that tells a unified story. 

Image inspiration: What is next?  We may want to know, right now. We may want this suspended droplet of water to drop, right now, but it will take its own time. It is beyond our control. We are invited to trust the suspension of liminal moments.

Story from Our CAC Staff Community:

Morgan Overton had the gift of truly seeing people. The rawness of her gift made her a deeply feeling person — empathy for another’s pain, anger at injustice, and absolute joy in the happiness of others.

Morgan died on Aug. 5, 2022, at the age of 32. Working at the CAC for more than a decade, she created the web pages and emails with the same loving care that went into writing them.

Morgan was a fiercely loyal friend who was uncompromisingly honest — even when she was second-guessing herself (which was a lot of the time). She had the sharpest wit and the most attuned sense of comedic timing, as is often the case with people who carry the burden of feeling and seeing this world as it truly is.

In this way Morgan was like a prism — disclosing, in essence, a fractal of intertwining joy and sorrow, humor and hardness. She could ease tension as well as create it, but she was always right there with you, her whole self, in the present moment. It may not have been easy to be Morgan Overton, but it was certainly easy to love her.

Morgan leaves behind two wonderful sons, a large and caring family, and a strong network of friends all over the world. She loved music, cooking big meals, and always knew the perfect quote from the TV show “The Office” for any occasion. Coming from a long line of military service members, she believed that love, honor, and unity were things worth dedicating your life to. She spent her free time supporting women and families in her various communities.

Morgan witnessed first-hand the restoration of spirit that so many people experience through the Daily Meditations. There is a piece of Morgan in every email, every word. There is a piece of her in me. There is a piece of her in you. And we are all better people for it.

—Sara Palmer, Marketing Manager

Prayer for our community:

God, Lord of all creation, lover of life and of everything, please help us to love in our very small way what You love infinitely and everywhere. We thank You that we can offer just this one prayer and that will be more than enough,  because in reality every thing and every one is connected, and nothing stands alone. To pray for one part is really to pray for the whole, and so we do. Help us each day to stand for love, for healing, for the good, for the diverse unity of the Body of Christ and all creation, because we know this is what You desire: as Jesus prayed, that all may be one. We offer our prayer together with all the holy names of God, we offer our prayer together with Christ, our Lord, Amen.

Listen to the prayer.

 

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