Daily Riches: The Most Crippling Belief of All (Don Miller, Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Larry Crabb, Emma Herman, and Richard Rohr)

“The most crippling belief a person can have is ‘life was supposed to be EASY.'” Don Miller

“If you cannot refuse to fall down,
refuse to stay down.
If you cannot refuse to stay down
lift your heart toward heaven
and like a hungry beggar,
ask that it be filled,
and it will be filled.
You may be pushed down.
You may be kept from rising.
But no one can keep you
from lifting your heart
toward heaven —
only you.
It is in the midst of misery
that so much becomes clear.
The one who says nothing good
came of this,
is not yet listening.”

Clarissa Pinkola Estés

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“Comforting thoughts about God’s faithfulness can keep us living on the surface of life, safely removed from a level of pain and confusion that seems overwhelming. But God is most fully known in the midst of confusing reality. To avoid asking the tough questions and asking the hard issues is to miss a transforming encounter with God. …One thing that seems clear is that movement toward pain is suicide. But exactly the opposite is true! The fact that the path to life often feels like the path to death, and that the path to death can feel like the path to life, is a tragic commentary on how far we have gotten off track. The process of becoming aware of our thirst is terrible. It hurts. It feels like the path to death. …But to explore and embrace our deepest hurts puts us in a small company of thirsty people who, because they feel their thirst, know what it means to come to Christ in deep and quiet trust.” Larry Crabb

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“The true meaning of words is only learned in the school of affliction.” Emma Herman

“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

“I have refined you in the furnace of suffering.”
Isaiah 48:10

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Were you expecting life to be easy?
  • Has “so much become clear” for you in the midst of misery? …in the midst of “confusing reality?” …in the “school of affliction?”
  • Are you seeking transformation primarily through “ideas or doctrines?”

Lord, I will not fail to lift my heart to heaven. I will turn to you in deep and quiet trust.

For More: Inside Out by Larry Crabb

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks 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

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

Daily Riches: The Mob of Men as a ‘Mob of Kings’ (G. K. Chesterton, Frederick Buechner and Richard Rohr)

“You shall love your crooked neighbour, with your crooked heart.” W. H. Auden

Saint Francis “… honored all men; that is, he not only loved but respected them all. What gave him extraordinary personal power was this: that from the Pope to the beggar, from the sultan of Syria in his pavilion to the ragged robbers crawling out of the wood, there was never a man who looked into those brown burning eyes without being certain Francis Bernardone was really interested in him, in his own inner individual life from cradle to grave; that he himself was being valued and taken seriously… He treated the whole mob of men as a mob of kings.” G. K. Chesterton

“If we are to love our neighbors,
before doing anything else
we must see our neighbors.
With our imagination as well as our eyes,
that is to say like artists,
we must see not just their faces
but the life behind and within their faces.
Here it is love that is the frame we see them in.”
Frederick Buechner

“The first gaze is seldom compassionate. It is too busy weighing and feeling itself: ‘How will this affect me?’  …This leads us to an implosion, a self-preoccupation that cannot enter into communion with the other or the moment. In other words, we first feel our feelings before we can relate to the situation and emotion of the other. Only after God has taught us how to live ‘undefended’, can we immediately stand with and for the other, and in the present moment. It takes a lot of practice.” Richard Rohr

“When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd [a mob of men],
he had compassion on them,
because they were like sheep without a shepherd.”
Mark 6:34

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Does the fact of your “own crooked heart” inform your loving?
  • Who is “the other” for you?  neighbor? spouse? family member? stranger? competitor? anyone who is not you?
  • Are you aware of the problem of “feeling your feelings” before you relate to the situation of the Other?
  • How can you practice a “first gaze” where “love is the frame” in which you see anyone who is the Other?

Abba, help me learn a compassionate first gaze so that I honor, love and respect others. Disarm me, undefend me, unpreoccupy me with myself.

For More: Saint Francis of Assisi by G. K. Chesterton

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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.”

Daily Riches: Orthopraxy Over Orthodoxy (Richard Rohr)

“What we see in many of the Eastern religions is not an emphasis upon verbal orthodoxy, but instead an emphasis upon practices and lifestyles that, if you do them (not think about them, but do them), your consciousness will gradually change.  …Here at the [Center for Action and Contemplation] we want to emphasize the importance of praxis over theory, of orthopraxy over orthodoxy. We are not saying that theory and orthodoxy are not important; like Saint Francis, we feel that what is ours to do has more to do with our practical engagements, and the way we live our daily lives than making verbal assent to this or that idea. …In the last fifty years, education theory has come to recognize that listening to lectures and reading are among the least effective forms of learning. They are highly passive, individualistic, do not necessarily integrate head with heart or body, but leave both the ego (and the shadow self) in their well-defended positions, virtually untouched. As long as our ego self is in the driver’s seat, nothing really new or challenging is going to happen. Remember our ego is committed to not changing, and is highly defensive by its very nature. And our shadow self entirely relies upon delusion and denial. Only the world of practical relationships exposes both of these. The form of education which most changes people in lasting ways has to touch them at a broader level than the thinking, reading mind can do. …Somehow we need to engage in hands-on experience, emotional risk-taking, moving outside of our comfort zones, with different people than our usual flattering friends. We need some expanded level of spiritual seeing or nothing really changes at a cellular or emotional level. Within minutes or hours of entertaining a new idea, we quickly return to our old friends, our assured roles, our familiar neural grooves, our ego patterns of response, and we are back to business as usual.” Richard Rohr

 Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Have you experienced the limits of “orthodoxy” as something that “changes people in lasting ways?”
  • When people serve in a food kitchen or visit people in hospice care they learn to love in a way they never could from a sermon. Have you experienced this “living into a new way of thinking.” (Rohr)
  • Have you thought about the relative merits of orthodoxy and orthopraxis? …about which the Bible emphasizes more?

Abba, renew my mind, but don’t stop there.

For More: Orthopraxy” by Richard Rohr

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

 

Daily Riches: The Meanest, Weakest Man on Earth (Francis of Assisi, Brigid Hermann and Richard Rohr)

“This must be why the Lord has blessed my efforts. He looked down from heaven and must have said, ‘Where can I find the weakest, the smallest, the meanest man on the face of the earth?’ Then he saw me and said, ‘Now I have found him. I will work through him, for he will not be proud of it nor take my honor away from myself. He will realize that I am using him because of his littleness and insignificance.’” Francis of Assisi

When we turn to the inner circle of the spiritual masters—the men and women, not necessarily gifted or distinguished, to whom God was a ‘living, bright reality’ which supernaturalized their everyday life and transmuted their homeliest actions into sublime worship—we find that their roots struck deep into the soil of spiritual silence. Living in the world and rejoicing in human relationships, they yet kept a little cell in their hearts whither they might run to be alone with God.” Bridgid E. Herman

It’s not addition that makes one holy, but subtraction: stripping the illusions, letting go of the pretense, exposing the false self, breaking open the heart and the understanding…. Conversion is more about unlearning than learning. In a certain sense we are on the utterly wrong track. We are climbing while Jesus is descending, and in that we reflect the pride and the arrogance of Western civilization, always trying to accomplish, perform, and achieve. …The ego is still in charge.” Richard Rohr

 “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise;
God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.
God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—
and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are,  
so that no one may boast before him.”
1 Corinthians 1:27-29

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Are you “little” or “lowly” enough for God to use you? Why or why not?
  • Are you “climbing while Jesus is descending?” …always trying to “accomplish, perform, and achieve?” If so, why?
  • Do you protect a “little cell” in your heart where you can “run to be alone with God?” How else will you undergo the “subtraction” that Rohr mentions?

Abba, I qualify to be your servant: foolish, weak, lowly and despised. Work through me.

For More:  Creative Prayer by Bridgid Herman

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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.”

Daily Riches: The Constant Purification of Motives (Richard Rohr) *

“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.

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For More: Francis: Subverting the Honor/Shame System [CD] by Richard Rohr

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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.”

Daily Riches: Who’s Right? Who’s Wrong? (Pema Chödrön and Richard Rohr) *

“Could our minds and our hearts be big enough just to hang out in that space where we’re not entirely certain about who’s right and who’s wrong? Could we have no agenda when we walk into a room with another person, not know what to say, not make that person wrong or right? Could we see, hear, feel other people as they really are? It is powerful to practice this way, because we’ll find ourselves continually rushing around to try to feel secure again—to make ourselves or them either right or wrong. But true communication can happen only in that open space.” Pema Chödrön

“The dualistic mind is essentially binary. It is either/or thinking. It knows by comparison, by opposition, by differentiation. It uses descriptive words like good/evil, pretty/ugly, intelligent/stupid, not realizing there may be 55 or 155 degrees between the two ends of each spectrum. It works well for the sake of simplification and conversation, but not for the sake of truth or even honest experience. Actually, you need your dualistic mind to function in everyday life: to do your job as a teacher, a doctor, or an engineer. It is great stuff as far as it goes, but it doesn’t go far enough. The dualistic mind cannot process things like infinity, mystery, God, grace, suffering, death, or love. When it comes to unconditional love, the dualistic mind can’t even begin to understand it.” Richard Rohr

 “All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another.
1 Peter 5:5

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Can you identify examples of dualistic thinking in your world? in yourself?
  • Is your desire to love well strong enough to exist “in that space where you’re not entirely certain about who’s right and who’s wrong?”
  • A person who loves well will be a humble person. Is there a practice you can adopt to grow in humility, particularly when it comes to dualistic thinking?

Abba, grant me a heart that cares more about loving people than showing them they’re wrong.

__________

For More: Dualistic Thinking... by Richard Rohr

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

Daily Riches: Don’t Try Harder (John Ortberg and Richard Rohr)

“When you stretch, you don’t make it happen simply by trying harder. You must let go and let gravity do its work. You give permission, opening yourself to another, greater force. This is not just true when it comes to stretching. As a general rule, the harder you work to control things, the more you lose control. The harder you try to hit a fast serve in tennis, the more your muscles tense up. The harder you try to impress someone on a date or while making a sale, the more you force the conversation and come across as pushy. The harder you cling to people, the more apt they are to push you away. … for deeper change, I need a greater power than simply ‘trying harder’ can provide. Imagine someone advising you, ‘Try harder to relax. Try harder to go to sleep. Try harder to be graceful. Try harder to not worry. Try harder to be joyful.’ There are limits on what trying harder can accomplish. Often the people in the Gospels who got into the most trouble with Jesus were the ones who thought they were working hardest on their spiritual life. They were trying so hard to be good that they could not stop thinking about how hard they were trying. That got in the way of their loving other people. …here is an alternative: Try softer. Try better. Try different. A river of living water is now available, but the river is the Spirit. It is not you. … Don’t push the river.” John Ortberg

“Faith does not need to push the river because faith is able to trust that there is a river. The river is flowing. We are in it.” Richard Rohr

“… rivers of living water will flow from within them.”  John 7:38

    __________

       Moving From Head to Heart

  • Is “trying harder” your default mode – are you constantly “pushing the river?” Is that working?
  • What exactly would it look like for you to “try softer?”
  • What might you discover by trying softer?

Abba, help me stop pushing and striving and trust the river to do it’s work.

For More: The Me I Want to Be by John Ortberg

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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)

 

Daily Riches: Suffering’s Unwelcomed Gift (David Benner, Richard Rohr and Henri Nouwen) *

“Suffering can be a path to awakening when we engage it with receptivity to the gifts it holds rather than simply attempt to endure it. One of those gifts is that suffering has unique capacity to help us soften and release attachments and move toward a life of non-attachment. Simone Weil said that suffering that does not detach us is wasted suffering. Don’t waste suffering. It’s always a shame to have to repeat lessons because we don’t get their point but suffering is a particularly bad lesson to be slow to get.” David Benner

“Real holiness doesn’t feel like holiness; it just feels like you’re dying. It feels like you’re losing it. And you are! Every time you love someone, you have agreed for a part of you to die. You will soon be asked to let go of some part of your false self, which you foolishly thought was permanent, important, and essential! You know God is doing this in you and with you when you can somehow smile and trust that what you lost was something you did not need anyway. In fact, it got in the way of what was real.”  Richard Rohr

“… in the middle of the pain there is some hidden gift. I, more and more in my life, have discovered that the gifts of life are often hidden in the places that hurt most.” Henri Nouwen

“Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered.” Hebrews 5:8

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Can you imagine embracing suffering that comes your way as a giver of “gifts?” Can you remember to look for such a gift when you’re in those “places that hurt most?”
  • Has suffering in your life caused you to loosen your grip on things? Has it changed your perspective about what is “permanent, important, and essential?”
  • When it “feels like you’re dying” or “losing it”, can you trust God to be at work for your good in the very thing that is “killing” you?

Abba, your Son suffered that he might know me. Help me to embrace the gifts of suffering that I might know him. I know I’m going to want to run from it like the disciples ran from the garden.  Strengthen me.

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For More: Spirituality and the Awakening Self by David G. Benner

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These “Daily Riches” from RicherByFar are for your encouragement. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it with others. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: The Constant Purification of Motive (Richard Rohr and Thomas Keating) *

“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.” Richard Rohr

“In the Near East, centuries ago successive cultures built new cities on top of the last ones. … The ruins of these ancient cities built one on top of the other are called “tells.” The spiritual journey is like an archaeological dig through the various stages of our lives, from where we are now back through the midlife crisis, adult life, adolescence, puberty, early childhood, infancy. What happens if we allow that archaeological dig to continue? We feel that we are getting worse. But we are really not getting worse; we are just finding out how bad off we always were. That is an enormous grace. … What happens when we get to the bottom of the pile of our emotional debris? We are in divine union. There is no other obstacle.” Thomas Keating

“Be careful not to practice your righteousness
in front of others
to be seen by them.”
Jesus in Matthew 6:6

Moving From Head to Heart

  • “Am I really doing this for God, for truth, or for others? Or am I doing it for hidden reasons?” Do you regularly ask yourself these questions?
  • Have you experienced the “enormous grace” or sifting through your “pile of emotional debris?”
  • What practice can you adopt to help you focus on “interior” religion?

Abba, may all that I do be only for love.

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For More: The Human Condition by Thomas Keating

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In these “Daily Riches”  my goal is to give you something of uncommon value each day in 400 words or less. Thanks for your interest. When you find it useful, please share!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

 

Daily Riches: Beyond Dualistic Thinking (Richard Rohr) *

“Jesus’ direct and clear teachings on issues such as nonviolence; a simple lifestyle; love of the poor and our enemies; forgiveness, inclusivity, and mercy; and not seeking status, power, perks, or possessions have all been overwhelmingly ignored throughout history by mainline Christian churches, even those who so proudly call themselves orthodox or biblical. This avoidance defies explanation until we understand how dualistic thinking protects and pads the ego and its fear of change. Notice that the things we Christians have largely ignored require actual change to ourselves. The things we emphasized instead were usually intellectual beliefs or moral superiority stances that asked almost nothing of us—but compliance from others: the divinity of Christ, the virgin birth, the atonement theory, and beliefs about reproduction and sex. After a while, you start to recognize the underlying bias that is at work. The ego diverts your attention from anything that would ask you to change, to righteous causes that invariably ask others to change. Such issues give you a sense of moral high ground without costing you anything ….Whole people see and create wholeness wherever they go. Split people split up everything and everybody else. By the second half of our lives, we are meant to see in wholes and no longer just in parts.” Richard Rohr

“A party of order or stability [conservatives], and a party of progress or reform [liberals] are both necessary elements of a healthy state of political life.” John Stuart Mill

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust
in your brother’s eye
and pay no attention
to the plank in your own eye?”
Luke 6:41

Moving from the Head to the Heart

  • Does your Christianity emphasize “intellectual beliefs” or “righteous causes” that require “outsiders” to change but not you?
  • Do you see how your ego works to protect the you-who-needs-to-change from hearing any real call to change?
  • Is your mind trapped in “polarity thinking” that makes you change-averse? What does your answer say about you?
  • “Why DO you look at the speck … and not at the plank?” Luke 6:41

Abba, teach me to recognize the voice of my ego, and to free myself from its blinding, destructive grip. Teach me to drop my armor and welcome the work of your Spirit in me.

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For More: The Naked Now by Richard Rohr

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

Daily Riches: Contemplatives In the World (Mother Teresa and Richard Rohr) *

“We are called to be contemplatives in the heart of the world –

by seeking the face of God in everything,
everyone, everywhere, all the time,
and his hand in every happening;
seeing and adoring the presence of Jesus,
especially in the lowly appearance of bread,
and in the distressing disguise of the poor.”
Mother Teresa

“Contemplation is an exercise in keeping your heart and mind spaces open long enough for the mind to see other hidden material. It is content with the naked now and waits for futures given by God and grace. As such, a certain amount of love for an object and for myself most precede any full knowing of it.” Richard Rohr

“Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’”    Matthew 25:37-40

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • I love the phrase “contemplatives in the heart of the world.” Does this seem possible for you? What would it mean for you to be a contemplative in the world today?
  • Mother Teresa said, “If we were not in constant union with God, it would be impossible for us to endure the sacrifices that are required to live [in Calcutta] among the destitute.” Think about that phrase “constant union with God.” Is that concept on your radar?
  • Do you think to look for Jesus in the “distressing disguise of the poor?” If not, why not? How can you practice doing that?

Abba, help me to see and adore you “in the distressing disguise of the poor” – and in so many of your other disguises – the elderly, the child, the disfigured, the dirty, the widow, the orphan, the prisoner, the immigrant, the otherwise marginalized. I’m often so much more likely to judge or ignore than to adore.

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For More: “An Urban Epiphany” – the article by Edwina Gateley in Daniel Clendenin’s blog Journey With Jesus.

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Thanks for reading and sharing Richer By Far! I appreciate it.  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: Owning Our Littleness, Discovering Our Greatness (Macrina Wiederkehr and Richard Rohr)

“What God most longs to discover in us is our willingness to embrace ourselves as we are at our beginning – empty, little, and poor. Our willingness gives God free space within us to work out the Divine Plan. …Our potential for greatness is tremendous. Acceptance of our littleness makes it possible for our greatness to emerge. Our littleness is not a choice. It is simply the way we are. Our greatness, however, is a choice.  …when we allow God to fill our emptiness, we are choosing greatness. This is our story! It is a glorious story. We are little and great. Both aspects must be embraced if we are to discover our true selves. In owning our littleness we come to discover our greatness. They are two gifts that become one when they are understood and owned. A lack of understanding of these gifts can lead only to frustration and denial of our true selves. If we become preoccupied with our littleness, it can lead only to discouragement. If we become preoccupied with our greatness, it can lead only to disillusionment.”  Macrina Wiederkehr

“There are two moments that matter. One is when you know that your one and only life is absolutely valuable and alive. The other is when you know your life, as presently lived, is entirely pointless and empty. You need both of them to keep you going in the right direction. …The first such moment gives you energy and joy by connecting you with your ultimate Source and Ground. The second gives you limits and boundaries, and a proper humility, so you keep seeking the Source and Ground and not just your small self.”  Richard Rohr

“Though [the mustard seed] is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows,
 it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree….
Matthew 13:32

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Do you embrace both your “littleness” and your “greatness?” Which do you tend to focus on? What does that say about you?
  • Are you tempted to despair that God can bring greatness out of your smallness? What does your answer say about you?
  • What can you do to “practice” your littleness? your greatness?

Abba, I offer you my open hands, with little to give. Make something great of me.

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For More: A Tree Full of Angels by Macrina Wiederkehr

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Thanks for reading!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: “Practicing the Presence” (Peter Scazzero and Thomas Merton)

“As emotionally mature Christian adults, we recognize that loving well is the essence of true spirituality. This requires that we experience connection with God, with ourselves, and with other people. God invites us to practice his presence in our daily lives. At the same time, he invites us “to practice the presence of people,” within an awareness of his presence, in our daily relationships. The two are rarely brought together. Jesus’ profound, contemplative prayer life with his Father resulted in a contemplative presence with people. Love is ‘to reveal the beauty of another person to themselves,’ wrote Jean Vanier. Jesus did that with each person he met. We see this in his interaction with the woman with a twelve year bleeding problem in Mark 5. This ability to really listen and pay attention to people was at the very heart of his mission. It could not help but move him to compassion. In the same way, out of our contemplative time with God, we too, are invited to be prayerfully present to people, revealing their beauty to themselves. The religious leaders of Jesus’ day, the ‘church leaders’ of that time, never made that connection.” Peter Scazzero

“Our contemplative practice is a ‘laboratory’ in which we learn to die to our passing emotions and thoughts and to receive the always-permanent Divine gaze. The rest of our life becomes the field in which we live out this participation in Love, bouncing back the gaze of grace to the Other and then having plenty left over for all others besides.” Richard Rohr

“But the goal of our instruction is love….” 1 Timothy 1:5

Moving From Head to Heart

  • When you think of the “essence of true spirituality”, to you think first of “loving well?”
  • Does being “present” to God make you more effective at being “present” to others?  and vice versa? Does either increase your compassion?
  • Is your love for others what is “left over” from your “participation in Love” with God?
  • Have you tried a contemplative approach to your faith? If not, what is stopping you?

Abba, teach me to receive and return your loving gaze as a starting point in being a person who loves.

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For More: The Daily Office by Peter Scazzero

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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. Thanks!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: An Undivided Life (Richard Rohr)

“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.

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For More: Francis: Subverting the Honor/Shame System [CD] by Richard Rohr

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I appreciate your interest in my blog!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: Hitting the Ultimate Bottom (Richard Rohr)

“Death is not just physical dying, but going to full depth, hitting the bottom, going the distance, beyond where I am in control, fully beyond where I am now. We all die eventually; we have no choice in the matter. But there are degrees of death before the final physical one. If we are honest, we acknowledge that we are dying throughout our life, and this is what we learn if we are attentive: grace is found at the depths and in the death of everything. After these smaller deaths, we know that the only ‘deadly sin’ is to swim on the surface of things, where we never see, find, or desire God and love. This includes even the surface of religion, which might be the worst danger of all. Thus, we must not be afraid of falling, failing, going ‘down.’ It is at the bottom where we find grace; for like water, grace seeks the lowest place and there it pools up.”   Richard Rohr

“Our of the depths I cry to you Yahweh,
Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive
to my cry for mercy. …
I wait for Yahweh
my whole being waits,
and in his word I put my hope.”
Psalm 130:1,2,5

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  •  None of us want to “hit the bottom” where we lose all control and “have no choice” in what is happening to us. And there are certainly many lesser “deaths” along the way to that ultimate one. And yet, much of what needs to happen in us will occur no other way. When life takes you into these painful places, can you remember to allow God to do in you what he probably couldn’t do any other way?
  • Knowing this about “falling” and about “grace pooling up at the bottom”, can you remember not to be afraid?

Abba, your love definitely takes me places I never wanted to go. I’ve found life there though, and pooled up grace, so I will trust you as the two of us go on together.

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For More: Immortal Diamond by Richard Rohr

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