Daily Riches: When You Fail, As You Must (Kathleen Norris, Richard Rohr, Peter of Damascus, and John of Karpathos)

“When I fail, as I must, I can only recall the desert monk who told his disciple, ‘Brother, the monastic life is this: I rise up, and I fall down, I rise up and I fall down. I rise up and I fall down.” Kathleen Norris

“It is always possible to make a new start by means of repentance. ‘You fell … now arise’ (cf. Prov. 24:16). And if you fall again, then rise again, without despairing at all of your salvation, no matter what happens. …should we fall, we should not despair and so estrange ourselves from the Lord’s love. …we should not cut ourselves off from Him…nor should we lose heart when we fall short of our goal…let us always be ready to make a new start. If you fall, rise up. If you fall again, rise up again. Only do not abandon your Physician…. Wait on Him, and He will be merciful….”  St. Peter of Damascus

“Do all in your power not to fall, for the strong athlete should not fall. But if you do fall, get up again at once and continue the contest. Even if you fall a thousand times because of the withdrawal of God’s grace, rise up again each time, and keep on doing this until the day of your death.” John of Karpathos

“The path of descent is the path of transformation. Darkness, failure, relapse, death, and woundedness are our primary teachers, rather than ideas or doctrines.” Richard Rohr

“As a father has compassion on his children,
 so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.”
Psalm 103:13,14

Moving From Head to Heart

  • The Lord remembers that you “are dust” and need profound compassion. Do you?
  • The danger is “despairing of your salvation … estranging yourself from the Lord’s love” – from your loving Physician! – or just “losing heart.” Even when you fail the same test “a thousand times”, can you determine not to lose heart? to rise again?
  • Failure, including repeated failure, is one of God’s “primary teachers.” Sometimes healing involves a drawn out “path of transformation.” Will you submit to that? What might God be teaching you in your falling down?

Abba, a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again. May I be that man. Never let me abandon my Physician.


For More: Yes, And … by Richard Rohr


These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

2 thoughts on “Daily Riches: When You Fail, As You Must (Kathleen Norris, Richard Rohr, Peter of Damascus, and John of Karpathos)

  1. The Heidelberg Catechism (1563) contains a long exposition of all the Ten Commandments, but when it then asks whether a Christian might keep these commandments perfectly, the response is refreshing for its candor: “No, for even the holiest believer makes only a small beginning in obedience in this life.”


  2. “The Christian with depth is the person who has failed and who has learned to live with it.” Brennan Manning

    “When someone is defeated after offering stiff resistance, he should not give up in despair. Let him take heart, encouraged by the words…God raises up all who are bowed down (Psalm 145:14).” St. John of Karpathos


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