From the Bottom Up: Summary
Thursday, December 28, 2017
If we are going to rebuild Christianity “from the bottom up,” what is the foundation upon which we’re building? Love is our foundation and our destiny. It is where we come from and where we’re headed. As St. Paul famously says, “So faith, hope, and love remain, but the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13).
St. Augustine (354-430) said, “The church consists in the state of communion of the whole world.”  Wherever we are connected, in right relationship—you might say “in love”—there is the Christ, there is the authentic “Body of God” revealed. This body is more a living organism than any formal organization.
My hope, whenever I speak or write, is to help clear away the impediments to receiving, allowing, trusting, and participating in a foundational Love. God’s love is planted inside each of us as the Holy Spirit who, according to Jesus, “will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you” (John 14:26). Love is who you are.
Only God in you can know God. You cannot know God in an intimate, experiential way with your mind alone. You are going to need full access knowing, which many of us call the contemplative mind, or even the “mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16).
Great religion seeks utter awareness and full consciousness, so that we can, in fact, receive all. Everything belongs and everything can be received. We don’t have to deny, dismiss, defy, or ignore. What is, is the great teacher. The purpose of prayer and religious seeking is to see the truth about reality, to see what is. And at the bottom of what is is always goodness. The foundation is always Love.
Enlightenment is to see and touch the big mystery, the big pattern, the Big Real. Jesus called it the reign of God; Buddha called it enlightenment. Philosophers might call it Truth. Many of us see it as Foundational Love.
The central practice in mature spirituality, therefore, is that we must remain in love (John 15:9). Only when we are eager to love can we see love and goodness in the world around us. We must ourselves remain in peace, and then we will find peace over there. Remain in beauty, and we will honor beauty everywhere. This concept of remaining or abiding (John 15:4-5) moves religion out of any esoteric realm of doctrinal outer space where it has been lost for too long. There is no secret moral command for knowing or pleasing God, or what some call “salvation,” other than becoming a loving person in mind, heart, body, and soul. Then you will see what you need to see. Jesus did not say, “Thou shalt be right”; Jesus said, “This is my commandment, ‘Love one another’” (John 13:34, 15:12; Matthew 22:39).
Gateway to Silence:
You make all things new.
 Augustine, “Ecclesiam in totius orbis communione consistere,” from De unitate ecclesiae (On the unity of the Church), XX, 56.
Adapted from Richard Rohr, “Creation as the Body of God” in Spiritual Ecology: The Cry of the Earth: A Collection of Essays, ed. Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee (The Golden Sufi Center: 2013), 239;
Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer (The Crossroad Publishing Company: 2003), 55-57; and
Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi (Franciscan Media: 2014), 9-10.