You Are Loved — Center for Action and Contemplation
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You Are Loved

Great Themes of Scripture: Hebrew Bible

You Are Loved
Sunday, June 27, 2021

When I first gave the “Great Themes of Scripture” talks as a young priest in 1973, I couldn’t begin to imagine how they would change my life, and apparently the lives of many others. They changed mine because they were put on audiocassette and therefore spread my message far beyond my original audience. But they also changed my life in another way: having my remarks made so public, I was even more compelled to believe what I had now said about faith and the Word of God.

These talks led me to my own journey of faith—and around much of the world—talking till I grew tired of my own voice, meeting countless Christians and communities, seeing sights and knowing sorrows that further changed me. My faith journey eventually led me to leave my beloved New Jerusalem lay community in Cincinnati for a new venture in New Mexico that later became the Center for Action and Contemplation.

To be honest, I would say a lot of things differently now. Back then, I was a young, enthusiastic believer, surrounded by hope and easy joy. These are the beginning words of an evangelist, and I am happy I said them. Now I am older, chastened by failures, rejections, human suffering, study, and the sophistications and nuances of experience. Do I now know more or less? Were these words adequate, or am I saying it better now? I am really not sure and needn’t be. Over the next two weeks, my Daily Meditations editorial team and I will share some of these early words with you. Some of them we’ve updated, and some we’ve left the same. Here is how I began those talks, all those years ago:

We begin a great adventure. We begin something new. The promise is upon us. God will give us something new. All we have to come with is hunger. We have to come expecting and wanting something more than we already have now. We get what we expect from God. When we have new ears to hear with, God can speak a new word to us. When we no longer expect anything new or anything more from God, for all practical purposes, we do not really believe in God. God now wants to speak something new to us.

When we have an understanding of the great themes of Scripture, the whole book from Genesis to Revelation, we see it as communicating a divine pattern to humanity. One basic message is finally communicated to all Spirit-filled people who enter this faith dialogue with the Scriptures. The message of “Good News” is this: You are loved. You are unique. You are free. You are on the way. You are going somewhere. Your life has meaning. That is all grounded in the experience and the knowledge and the reality of the unconditional love of God. This is what we mean by being “saved.”

References:
Adapted from Richard Rohr and Joseph Martos, The Great Themes of Scripture: Old Testament (St. Anthony Messenger Press: 1987), v, vi; and

“The Call: Introduction to the Word,” The Great Themes of Scripture, tape 1 (St. Anthony Messenger Tapes: 1973).

Story from Our Community:
God is good…all the time! All the time…God is good! Fr. Richard’s meditations draw me into this gift of God’s goodness. In sacred Scripture, the Mass, in the beauty of nature, and the love of friends and family, I experience Presence. I see God in the faces of those suffering from illness, racial injustice, and poverty. Fr. Richard helps me to embrace all of it and to trust in God’s divine mercy, wisdom, and great love. —Rita L.

Image credit: Jenna Keiper, Reflections II (detail), 2020, photograph, Albuquerque.
Image inspiration: These intertwined branches speak of the braided nature of biblical themes: mystery, hope, possibility, resilience, vulnerability and strength. Although these leaves have seen better days, clouds carry hope for rain.
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