The goal must be kept simple and clear—love of God and neighbor, union with God and neighbor. Our common word for this state of union is heaven. (Sunday)
Heaven is first of all now and therefore surely later. If God loves and accepts us now in our broken state, why would the divine policy change after our death? (Monday)
Once we know there is an original implanted and positive direction to our existence, we can trust the primary flow (faith); eventually we will learn to calmly rest there (hope); and we can actually become a conduit (love). (Tuesday)
Experiences of the Real here on earth are the pledge, guarantee, hint, and promise of an eternal something. Once we touch upon the Real, there is an inner insistence that the Real, if it is the Real, has to be forever. (Wednesday)
If you are already at home in love, you will easily and quickly go to the home of love, which is what we mean by heaven. (Thursday)
“Heaven is not a place of eternal rest or a long sleep-in, but a life of creativity and newness in love; one with God in the transformation of all things.” —Ilia Delio (Friday)
Practice: Praying Always
Prayer is not a transaction that somehow pleases God but a transformation of the consciousness of the one doing the praying. Prayer is the awakening of an inner dialogue that, from God’s side, has never ceased. This is why Paul could write of praying “always” (see 1 Thessalonians 5:17). Prayer is not changing God’s mind about us or about anything else, but allowing God to change our mind about the reality right in front of us (which we usually avoid or distort).
When we put on a different mind, heaven takes care of itself. In fact, it begins now. If we resort too exclusively to verbal, wordy prayers, we’ll remain stuck in our rational, dualistic minds and will not experience deep change at the level of consciousness. Prayer is sitting in the silence until it silences us, choosing gratitude until we are grateful, and praising God until we ourselves are an act of praise.
Jesus tells his disciples, “Be awake. Be alert. You do not know when the Lord of the house is coming, whether in the evening, at midnight, at cock crow, or in the morning” (Mark 13:33-35). Jesus is not threatening, “You’d better do it right, or I’m going to get you.” He’s talking about the forever, eternal coming of Christ now . . . and now . . . and now. God’s judgment is always redemption. Christ is always coming. God is always present. It’s we who fall asleep.
Be ready. Be present to God in the here and now, the ordinary, the interruptions. Being fully present to the soul of all things will allow you to say, “This is good. This is enough. In fact, this is all I need.” You are now situated in the One Loving Gaze that unites all things in universal attraction and appreciation. We are practicing for heaven. Why wait for heaven when you can enjoy the Divine Flow in every moment, in everyone?
Gateway to Silence:
Going home to Love
Adapted from Richard Rohr, Just This (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2017), 16, 18, 37-38.
For Further Study:
Richard Rohr, Are You Eager to Love? St. Francis on the Edge of the Inside (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2014), CD, MP3 download
Richard Rohr, Immortal Diamond: The Search for Our True Self (Jossey-Bass: 2013)
Richard Rohr, Things Hidden: Scripture as Spirituality (Franciscan Media: 2007)