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Lesson Three: Your Life Is Hidden with Christ

Reality Initiating Us: Part Two

Lesson Three: Your Life Is Hidden with Christ
Wednesday,  April 8, 2020

It is true that your life is not about you; rather, “your life is hidden with Christ in God. He is your life, and when he is revealed, you will be revealed in all your glory with him” (Colossians 3:4).

Once our soul comes to its True Self, it can amazingly let go and be almost anything except selfish or separate. The True Self does not cling or grasp. It has already achieved its purpose by being more than by any specific doing of this or that. Finally, we have become a human being instead of a human doing. This is what we are practicing when we sit in contemplative prayer: we are practicing under-doing and assured failure, which radically rearranges our inner hardware after a while. And yet even in our pursuit of the True Self, we must be careful not to reject the parts of ourselves that are not there yet. The most courageous thing we will ever do is probably to accept that we are who we are. As Henri Nouwen once shared with me personally, he believed that original sin could only be described as “humanity’s endless capacity for self-rejection.”

All the truly transformed people I have ever met are characterized by what I would call radical humility. They are deeply convinced that they are drawing from another source; they are simply an instrument. Their genius is not their own; it is borrowed. They end up doing generative and expansive things precisely because they do not take first or final responsibility for their gift; they don’t worry too much about their failures, nor do they need to promote themselves. Their life is not their own, yet at some level they know that it has been given to them as a sacred trust. Such people just live in gratitude and confidence and try to let the flow continue through them. They know that love can be repaid by love alone.

In this time of crisis, we must commit to a posture of prayer and heart that opens us to deep trust and connection with God. Only then can we hold the reality of what is happening—both the tragic and the transformative. I am finding myself turning more often in these days to the simple Christian prayer of “Lord, have mercy.” From our place of humility, God can work through us to help our loved ones, neighbors and the most vulnerable. As Francis of Assisi said to us right before he died in 1226, “I have done what was mine to do. Now you must do what is yours to do.” [1]

In the spiritual life, what we think we are doing is actually being done to us. All we can do is say yes to it. This True Self is ironically much more glorious, grounded, original, and free than any self-manufactured person could be. We are interrelated with being, participating with the life of God, while living out one little part of that life in our own exquisite form. The True Self neither postures nor pretends. It comes down to this: the soul and the True Self know that “my life is not about me, but I am about life.”

References:
[1] Bonaventure, The Life of Saint Francis, trans. E. Gurney Salter (London: J. M. Dent, 1904), 150.

Adapted from Richard Rohr, Immortal Diamond: The Search for Our True Self (Jossey-Bass: 2013), 20-21; and

Adam’s Return: The Five Promises of Male Initiation, (Crossroad Publishing Company: 2004), 157-160.

Illuman
In 2012 as Fr. Richard Rohr’s focus shifted to founding the Living School and recovering a Christian path to unitive consciousness, his male-specific work transitioned away from the CAC into Illuman, a US-based nonprofit partnering with organizations across the world which are committed to carrying on Fr. Richard’s work to recover traditional patterns of male initiation, affirm a path to masculine healing, reveal the true and false self, and honor the path of descent. They seek to form future generations of men who will restore these practices, serving to build a world that celebrates the beauty of all beings through the power of ritual, image, story, and council. If you’re interested in learning more about Illuman, you can sign-up for information on their next event, Soularize 2020: A Path to Masculine Healing, featuring Fr. Richard as a guest speaker.

Image credit: Jesus’ Entry into Jerusalem (Entrada de Jesús en Jerusalén) (detail), Master of San Baudelio of Berlanga, Soria, Spain, 1125, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, Indiana.
Inspiration for this week’s banner image: “Can any of you, for all of your worrying, add a single moment to your span of life?” (Luke 12:26)

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