“Jesus tells us to give alms, and fast, and pray secretly…. These are the three religious disciplines honored by most historical religions. Whenever you perform a religious action publicly, it enhances your image as a good, moral person and has a strong social payoff. Jesus’ constant emphasis is on interior religiosity, on purifying motivation and intention. He tells us to clean the inside of the dish instead of being so preoccupied with cleaning the outside, with looking good (Matthew 23:25-26). The purifying of our intention and motivation is the basic way that we unite our inner and our outer worlds. (Please read that twice!) All through the spiritual journey, we should be asking ourselves, ‘Why am I doing this? Am I really doing this for God, for truth, or for others? Or am I doing it for hidden reasons?’ The spiritual journey could be seen as a constant purification of motive until I can finally say, ‘I have no other reason to do anything except love of God and love of neighbor. And I don’t even need people to know this.'” Richard Rohr
” … and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Matthew 6:18
Moving From Head to Heart
- Are you “preoccupied … with looking good” at church? If so, why? Are you as good as you look? Do you feel free to be transparent?
- Do you ask, “Why am I doing this?” Are you aware of your ego’s need for a “strong social payoff?” of your “hidden reasons?” Becoming aware is the first step to uniting your “inner and outer worlds.”
- Sometimes I think, “I hope someone will share this about me at my funeral.” I don’t mind if it’s a secret until then – after all, I want to be (and be known!) as a modest person. I don’t feel the need to advertise what few things might make me look good … but, I do want credit, even if I’m dead! Is it just me, or can you relate?
Abba, I admit I want credit. I admit I want to be admired. I admit that, even though your approval should be everything, I seem to need more. Help me to focus less on what others think of me and more on what others need from me.
For More: Francis: Subverting the Honor/Shame System [CD] by Richard Rohr
I appreciate your interest in my blog! – Bill (Psalm 90:14)