Until we meet a benevolent God and a benevolent universe, until we realize that the foundation of all is love, we will not be at home in this world.
For the planet and for all living beings to move forward, we can rely on nothing less than an inherent original goodness and a universally shared dignity.
Jesus knew of the deeper truth hidden beneath the surface of human judgment, namely that this broken, anxious world is oozing with God. He asked us to have faith, to believe that the reign of God is among us and within us.
Soul is benevolent. Compassion, kindness, generosity and inner luminosity are the qualities of the soul. Mind, intelligence, and consciousness are held in and processed by soul. Soul is the seed of life.
God for us is my understanding of, and code word for, the Father. It tells us that reality is foundationally benevolent. Reality is on our side. It’s not a scary universe. It tells us that God, like a good father, is for us and is protective of us.
Doesn’t God will something more for us—a love that does no harm? Doesn’t God will for us a compassionate and caring love, rather than a false love that strips humanity and creation of dignity?
The Foundation Is Always Love
Father Richard invites us to reflect:
Only God in you can know God, through silence. You cannot know God in an intimate, experiential way solely with your mind. 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; the Buddha called it enlightenment. Philosophers might call it Truth. Many of us see it as Foundational Love. Here is a mantra you might repeat throughout your day to remind yourself of this:
God’s life is living itself in me. I am aware of life living itself in me.
God’s love is living itself in me. I am aware of love living itself in me.
You cannot not live in the presence of God. This is not soft or sentimental spirituality; ironically, it demands confidence that must be chosen many times, and surrender that is always hard won.
Adapted from Richard Rohr, Essential Teachings on Love, selected by Joelle Chase and Judy Traeger (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2018), 33–34.
Explore Further. . .
- Listen to Richard on Another Name for Every Thing discuss the Trinity, Jesus, and a benevolent universe.
- Learn more about this year’s theme Nothing Stands Alone.
- Meet the team behind the Daily Meditations.
Image credit: Benjamin Yazza, Untitled – Sandia Mountains (detail), 2022, photograph, Albuquerque, used with permission. Jenna Keiper & Leslye Colvin, 2022, triptych art, United States. Click here to enlarge photo.
Image Inspiration: when i began photographing birds during the pandemic it was meant to fuel a creative need. as i continued it began to fuel a life need, a missing connection to nature. i not only felt a need to see different birds but to see the change in nature around me. a connection to my own heritage – wondering again and again if my ancestors roamed the same fields, came across the same animals or took meditation in the same plots. —Benjamin Yazza (photographer), Albuquerque, New Mexico
Prayer for our community:
God, Lord of all creation, lover of life and of everything, please help us to love in our very small way what You love infinitely and everywhere. We thank You that we can offer just this one prayer and that will be more than enough, because in reality every thing and every one is connected, and nothing stands alone. To pray for one part is really to pray for the whole, and so we do. Help us each day to stand for love, for healing, for the good, for the diverse unity of the Body of Christ and all creation, because we know this is what You desire: as Jesus prayed, that all may be one. We offer our prayer together with all the holy names of God, we offer our prayer together with Christ, our Lord, Amen.