Reality Initiating Us: Part Two
Saturday, April 11, 2020
Summary: Sunday, April 5 -Friday, April 10, 2020
The larger-than-life, spiritually transformed people I have met have all died before they died. (Sunday)
Life is hard, and yet Jesus says, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” –Matthew 11:28 (Monday)
You are not important, and yet Jesus says, “Rejoice because your name is written in heaven.” –Luke 10:20 (Tuesday)
It is true that your life is not about you; rather “your life is hidden with Christ in God.” –Colossians 3:4 (Wednesday)
It is true that you are not in control, for “can any of you, for all your worrying, add a single moment to your span of life?” –Luke 12:26 (Thursday)
It is true that you are going to die, and yet “neither death nor life . . . nothing can ever come between us and the love of God.” —Romans 8:38-39 (Friday)
Practice: Prayer Ties
Before we share our practice, we invite you to join us in prayer for all those who are suffering as a result of COVID-19, those who have already lost their lives, and those who are healthcare workers attending to the sick. You can also dedicate your contemplative practice as a prayer for the benefit of all.
God, we ask that all who are affected by this virus be held in your loving care. In this time of uncertainty, help us to know what is ours to do. We know you did not cause this suffering but that you are with us in it and through it. Help us to recognize your presence in acts of kindness, in moments of silence, and in the beauty of the created world. Grant peace and protection to all of humanity for their well-being and for the benefit of the earth.
In a teaching from the desert fathers, “an old Desert Father was asked what was necessary to do to be saved. He was sitting making rope. Without glancing up, he said, “You’re looking at it.”  Just as so many of the mystics have taught us, doing what we are doing with presence and intention is itself prayer.
At this time of social distancing, I want to emphasize contemplative insights and practices that help us heal our sense of separation and isolation, promote connection and awaken a sense of creativity and responsibility for all beings.
People in almost every faith tradition across the world have ways of hanging simple objects as expressions of prayer, sending forth love, courage and healing into the world. Many churches celebrate Advent and Lent by tying ribbons, banners or cloth around trees to enrich the celebration. As Easter approaches, perhaps this practice will help you in your embrace of new life and resurrection. The Lakota and Cherokee people use prayer ties (tobacco or cornmeal wrapped in cloth) as offerings of prayers, intentions, and gratitude, tying them to trees or leaving them in sacred places. All who come in contact with the prayer ties are blessed by the intentions and prayers. In Ireland, Scotland and Wales people tie strips of colored cloth called “clooties,” to ask for blessings. Buddhist prayer flags hold prayers blown by the wind to promote peace, compassion and wisdom.
For this week’s practice, we invite you to create a version of prayer ties. The prayer ties can be tied to a favorite tree, bush, plant or other element. Although many indigenous traditions use tobacco and cloth representing the four directions, for your prayerful intentions you can use any fabric at hand and add offerings of seeds, special stones, written prayerful words, etc. We have permission to share this particular version with you from the First Nations website Dances for All People. We thank them and Sister Joan Brown for introducing us to this beautiful practice.
To make prayer ties:
- Gather alone or with family/community in a contemplative, devotional manner.
- Cut cloth into small squares about 4 x 4 inches.
- Place prayer intentions of gratitude, healing, wisdom, for those suffering, etc. in center of cloth.
- Take string, yarn or strips of cloth to tie into a bundle.
- With prayer, song and gratitude attach the prayer bundles to a tree or sacred place outdoors
- Visit this place with prayer and gratitude often. 
 As quoted in Gross, Rita M. and Terry C. Muck, ed. Christians Talk about Buddhist Meditation, Buddhists Talk about Christian Prayer, (Continuum: 2003), 76.
 Adapted from Dance For All People: About Prayer Ties:
For Further Study:
Richard Rohr, Adam’s Return: The Five Promises of Male Initiation, (Crossroad Publishing Company: 2004)
Richard Rohr, Immortal Diamond: The Search for Our True Self, (Jossey-Bass: 2013)
Richard Rohr, Things Hidden: Scripture as Spirituality, (St. Anthony Messenger Press: 2008)
Richard Rohr, The Universal Christ: How a Forgotten Reality Can Change Everything We See, Hope for, and Believe, (Convergent: 2019)
Richard Rohr, Wondrous Encounters: Scripture for Lent, (Franciscan Media: 2011)
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.