Reality Initiating Us: Part Two
Lesson Two: Your Name Is Written in Heaven
Tuesday, April 7, 2020
You are not important, and yet Jesus says, “Rejoice because your name is written in heaven” (Luke 10:20).
We need a still point in this twirling world of images and feelings, especially in a time such as ours. If we are tethered at some center point, it is amazing how far out we can fly and not get lost. The True Self, “our name in heaven,” is our participation in the great “I Am.” It is what Peter daringly calls the “ability to share the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4). This True Self is characterized by contentment, an abiding low-level peace and happiness. Every now and then it even becomes pure joy.
If there is no list of names in eternity, no confidence that we are known and chosen by God, we are burdened with making a name for ourselves every day. We must be self-made, every person out for themselves in a dog-eat-dog world, vying with one another for zero-sum dignity and importance. Instead of comparison, envy, competition, and scarcity, authentic spirituality is an experience of abundance and mutual flourishing. We are tempted to count only our material and ego gifts which decrease with usage, whereas spiritual gifts actually increase with each use, in ourselves and in those around us.
If we have no foundational significance, we must constantly attempt to self-signify and self-validate. Everyone is then a competitor and rival. We cannot help but be pushed around by our neediness and judgments, and we will push others around too. If we have no unshakable experience of divine approval, we will be lost in fragile momentary experiences of “victory” that cannot be sustained or really enjoyed.
We must find our North Star outside our own little comparative systems or we will be lost in rivalry and daily defeat. It is a whole different way of looking at what we mean by “God saving us.” God first of all saves us from ourselves, our emotional neediness and hurt, and our obsessive mind games. Then the truth of being is obvious and all around us.
Our importance is given and bestowed in this universe as part of the unbreakable covenant between us and our Creator. We are declared important “from the beginning” (Ephesians 1:4, 9), and when we really know it, we have no need to prove it. We are reminded who we really are in God when Jesus tells us that our “name is written in heaven.” Surely God holds medical workers and first responders close to God’s heart right now, as they put their lives on the line to support us all. The courage they are showing is the kind of courage that comes from knowing the value of life. I pray we might all operate from that place as we struggle through the coming days.
Adapted from Richard Rohr, Adam’s Return: The Five Promises of Male Initiation, (Crossroad Publishing Company: 2004), 44, 155–157.
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.