Necessary suffering and the church

Rohr pictureRichard Rohr writes (in chapter 6)…

Note:  Remembering that Falling Upward was first published in 2011
(at the end of a decade of rising pain over sexual abuse in the Church),
let’s listen to Richard Rohr:

Anyone who wants to save his life must lose it… Matthew 16:25f
Anyone who prefers father or mother to me is not worthy of me… Matthew 14:37f

The Church teaches us the message of necessary suffering:

To explain why I begin this chapter on necessary suffering with two hard-hitting quotes from Jesus of Nazareth, let me explain a bit about myself.  I must start with my birth relationship with Catholic Christianity…because in many ways it has been the church that taught me – in ways that it did not plan – the message of necessary suffering.  It taught me by itself being a bearer of the verbal message, then a holding tank, and finally a living crucible of necessary (and sometime unnecessary!) suffering. 

The Church is a crucible of necessary suffering:   

A crucible holds molten metal in one place long enough to be purified and clarified.  Church requirements force you to face important issues at a much deeper level.  Catholicism became for me a crucible…  The pedestrian and everyday church has remained a cauldron of transformation for me by holding me inside both the dark and the light side of almost everything, and by teaching me non-dualistic thinking to survive. 

Refusing to split and deny reality keeps me in regular touch with my own shadow self, and much more patient with the rather evident shadow of the church.  Catholicism is the ‘one true church’ only when it points beyond itself to the ‘one true Mystery,’ and offers itself as the training ground for both human liberation and divine union. 

The Church as parent

Like all limited parents, the church has been ‘good enough,’ and thus has taught me how to see that goodness everywhere.  So the church is both my greatest intellectual and moral problem, and my most consoling home. 

All the churches seem to crucify Jesus again and again by their inability to receive his whole body, but they often resurrect him, too.   And I am without doubt a microcosm of this universal church.  The church has never persecuted me or limited  me in any way.  The formal church has always been a half-hearted bride for me, while the Franciscans have been considerably better. 

But the Gospel itself is my full wedding partner.  It always tells me the truth, and loves me through things till I arrive somewhere new and good and much more spacious.  I quote Jesus because I still consider him to be the spiritual authority of the Western world, whether we follow him or not.  And many of the findings of modern psychology, anthropology, and organizational behavior give us new windows and vocabulary into Jesus’ transcendent message.

What Jesus means by ‘hating’ family

How consistently the great religious teachers and founders leave home, go on pilgrimage to far-off places; and how often their parents, the established religion, spiritual authorities, and even civil authorities fight against them! And of course, ‘church family’ is also a family that one has to eventually ‘hate’ in this very same way.   We all must leave home to find the real and larger home. 

Jesus uses strong words to push us out of the family nest and to name a necessary suffering at the most personal, counter-intuitive, and sentimental level possible.  It takes a huge push for people to find their own soul apart from Mom and Dad; so Jesus pulls no punches, saying you must ‘hate’ your home base in some way and make choices beyond it.  It takes therapists years to achieve the same result and reestablish appropriate boundaries from wounding parents and early authority figures, and to heal the inappropriate shame in those who have been wounded. 

What do you think?

Rohr writes, “How consistently the great religious teachers and founders leave home, go on pilgrimage to far-off places; and how often their parents, the established religion, spiritual authorities, and even civil authorities fight against them! And of course, ‘church family’ is also a family that one has to eventually ‘hate’ in this very same way.   We all must leave home to find the real and larger home. 

Reflections on the reading – chapter 6

Necessary suffering and life on earth

sign
Those who want to save their lives must lose them…Matthew 16:25

All creation groans:  The natural world experiences suffering as the very cycle of life.  The natural world has no choice in the matter; it just lives the message without saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to it.  Human beings always have the freedom to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

We must lose our lives in order to gain them:  Jesus tells us we must ‘lose our lives’ – and Rohr tells us we must lose our ‘false selves.’  The false self is the role and personal image that we have largely created in our own minds.  Our false selves will – and must – die if we want to achieve our true selves.

The True Self is who we are from the beginning, in the mind and heart of God. The True Self is our absolute identity, which can be neither gained nor lost by any technique, group affiliation, morality, or formula.   ‘Necessary suffering’ forces us to surrender our false self in order to find ‘the pearl of great price’ that is always hidden inside this lovely but passing shell.

But we can refuse to say ‘yes’ to our necessary suffering:  Much unnecessary suffering comes into the world because people will not accept the ‘legitimate suffering’ that comes from being human.  Ironically, this refusal of the necessary pain of being human brings to the person ten times more suffering in the long run.   It seems we grow spiritually much more by doing it wrong than by doing right. (This is the only workable meaning of ‘original sin’.) If there is human perfection, it seems to emerge from how we handle the imperfection that is everywhere, especially our own.

By denying their pain, many have kept themselves from their own spiritual depths.  The human ego prefers anything to falling or changing or dying.  (The ego is that part of you that loves the status quo, even when it isn’t working.)  Because no one wants a downward path, we have to get this message with the authority of a divine revelation.  So Jesus makes it into a central axiom – the last really do have a head start in moving towards first.

Yet two groups are very good at denying or avoiding reality’s surprises: the very rich and the very religious (see next post).

Richard Rohr suggests,

Describe what you have observed in nature that you would call ‘necessary suffering’. Does seeing necessary suffering as part of the natural order of things have an impact on you as you observe the suffering in your own life?  (Companion Journal, p. 72)

Reflections on the reading – chapter 5

Stumbling over the stumbling stone

sign-stumbling-stone“God comes to you disguised as your life.”

Sooner or later something always comes into life that we simply cannot deal with. We soon discover that our present skills, our acquired knowledge, and our strong willpower won’t help us.  Spiritually speaking, we have been – we will be – led to the edge of our own private resources.

That’s why Paula D’Arcy says, “God comes to you disguised as your life.” And why Richard Rohr says, “ So we must stumble and fall (and that does not mean reading about falling, as you are doing here!)”

Three of Jesus’ parables are about losing something – the lost sheep, the lost coin, the lost son (see Luke 15:3-32).  It seems that in the spiritual world, we don’t really find something until we first lose it – and in the end, the stumbling stone will lead us to discover a significantly new self.

For Jesus and for his followers, the crucifixion became the dramatic symbol of that absurd but necessary stumbling stone.  Medieval Christianity made Jesus’ suffering and death into God’s attempt to solve some cosmic problem.  But Jesus’s cross solved our problem by first revealing our real problem – our refusal to acknowledge the tragic sense of life, and our universal pattern of blaming – and then sacrificing – others.

Every Beauty is sleeping, it seems, before it can meet its Prince.   Half of the world’s fairy tales of the world are some form of sleeping beauty, ugly duckling, or Cinderella story – telling of the little person who has no power or possessions who ends up being king or queen, prince or princess.

The duckling must be “ugly” or there will be no glory.  Jesus must be crucified, or there can be no resurrection.  It is written in our hard-wiring, but can only be heard at the soul level.

Richard Rohr suggests,

Write about a time when a situation took you beyond your resources to deal with it.  Did the experience bring you to a new awareness of your capacity for surrender?  Did you feel free when you realized you were not in charge of the ‘falling’?  (Companion Journal, p. 58)

 

Reflections on the reading – chapter 4

The tragic sense of life

sign-dangerous-curvesLife is a collision of opposites

We hope for order in life.  We want to find consistent patterns – so we can make sense of things – but instead we find disorder and even chaos.  Only faith – not logic – can help us accept life’s opposites and contradictions and hold them together.  Having faith means trusting in an underlying life force so strong that it can even include death.

Who (and what) has the most to teach us about this kind of life?  Richard Rohr points out that the exceptions and the contradictions – those creatures (including humans) who are on the edge of what our culture defines as normal, proper, or good – teach us more and more about life and about God.  Each time we bump into these ‘exceptions to the rule’ (these ‘dangerous curves’), we are being led to new knowledge and spiritual growth.

color-outside-the-linesGod doesn’t reject those who ‘color outside the lines’

Jesus had no trouble with people on the edge of normal, proper, or good.  He ate regularly with outsiders (to the chagrin of the religious stalwarts, who loved their version of order over any compassion toward the exceptions).  Jesus was never upset with sinners; he was only upset with people who didn’t think they were sinners!    For Jesus, religious rules never mattered as much as the relationship God wants with us.

This means that sin and failure are the raw material for our redemption.  Salvation is NOT sin perfectly avoided (as our egos would prefer), but sin turned on its head and used in our favor.

So the Bible promises us wholeness, but refuses to deny the dark side of life.  The Jewish Scriptures offer few theological conclusions that are always true.  The New Testament offers many theologies – about God, about Jesus, about human history – not just one. The Gospels demonstrate that life is tragic, but then proclaim that – following Jesus – we can survive and even grow from tragedy.  The only consistent pattern the whole Bible offers us is this: God is with us and we are not alone.

And so what is the “tragic sense of life”?  It’s just a humiliating realism about life – and  faith is the ability to simply trust that God is found within the real.

Accepting this fact of life demands a lot of forgiveness, because we bump into annoying exceptions, regular stumbling blocks, and devastating tragedies – but this is the price we must pay to keep our hearts from closing down, to keep our souls open for something more.

Richard Rohr asks,

Do you gravitate toward the ‘never-broken, always-applicable rules and patterns’ of life?  How do you deal with things that don’t ‘fit the mold’?
How can you free yourself of the need to adhere to specific principles in every situation?

(from the Companion Journal, p. 46)

 

Thoughts after our meeting – November

cropped-FlameIcon512x512.jpg

Yesterday was Election Day, and for most of us the news last night was not good. (Even if our candidates did win their races, we are still aware that the level of frustration, anger and even hatred has risen to new heights in our nation.)

But  yesterday’s meeting with you was wonderful because of your love and acceptance of one another, and your willingness to walk with each other on the road of life.

This morning I’m reminded of the songs we sang yesterday – and this morning, I need to recapture the beauty and hope we found in singing. So here’s the song that touched me most yesterday, “We Shall Rise Again.”  (Thank you, Betty, for leading us in this wonderful music.  To hear it, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-bcEQlPaC8)

Come to me, all you weary with your burdens and pain.
Take my yoke on your shoulders and learn from me:
I am gentle and humble, and your soul will find rest,
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

We shall rise again on the last day with the faithful, rich and poor.
Coming to the house of Lord Jesus, we will find an open door there,
we will find an open door.

Though we walk through the darkness, evil we do not fear.
You are walking beside us with your rod and your staff.
Only goodness and kindness follow us all our lives.
We shall dwell in the Lord’s house, for so many years to come!

We shall rise again on the last day with the faithful, rich and poor.                      Coming to the house of Lord Jesus, we will find an open door there,                        we will find an open door.

The hero’s journey:

After our singing we broke up into small groups of two and three to share our own ‘hero’s journey’.  According to Richard Rohr (and Joseph Campbell), here’s the general pattern of the journey:

We all grew up in a world that felt normal and familiar – our ‘home’. (Even if things were painful, it was the ‘home’ we were used to.)

When we came of age, we set out on a journey.  (Some of us, looking over our lives, found that we’ve had been on several journeys, not just one.)

On that journey we were deeply wounded. (I looked around the room while everyone was talking, and was moved to see that – in spite of all the years that may have passed since those ‘wounds’ occurred – how much they still hurt.)

As the journey went on we began to see that our ‘wound’ was changing us. (Wrestling with our ‘wounds’ had opened a door into ‘Real Life’, the life that flows underneath all life.)

At some point in time, the journey led us back ‘home’ again. (But ‘home’ always looks different when we see it framed by ‘Real Life’.)

Now that we are ‘home’ again, we are deeply aware of ‘Real Life’ – and so we bring new gifts to share with others. (We have all become ‘wounded healers’, in the words of Henri Nouwen.)

The Hero’s journey:

As Christians, we see this same pattern in Jesus’ life.

We remember that Jesus left his ‘home’ on a journey that ‘wounded’ him unto death; but we also believe that he rose again into Real Life, a life that will never die.  And, in that Real Life, Jesus shares the gifts of his Spirit with us all.

Long before Joseph Campbell, St. Paul quoted a song about the hero’s journey.  It was already an old song for the Philippians, because they were singing it in worship. Paul quoted the song because it traces the journey that Jesus took.   (Philippians 2:1-11)

Though Jesus was divine,
he did not cling to equality with God,
but made himself nothing.

Taking the form of a servant,
he was born in human likeness.

He humbled himself and was obedient to death,
even the death of the cross.

Therefore God has raised him on high, and given him the name above every name:
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, and every voice proclaim
that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.     

 

Reflections on the reading – Chapter 3

ten-commandmentsListening to law and tradition…

Every culture values law and tradition, social boundaries, and clear moral rules. These keep us safe and give us guidelines to follow; they also help us learn how to control our egos. Without laws, human life would be anarchy and chaos.  (In our early years, the ego cannot be allowed to be totally in charge, or it will take over.)

On the other hand, without pushing against law and tradition, humans could never move forward.  (In our adolescent years, we begin to challenge authorities and the boundaries they set for us.)

So we need freedom as well as law.  Throughout human history, the misuse of law and tradition has damaged our societies and limited our personal development.  (Most tragedies in history have been waged by unquestioning followers of dominating leaders.)

Thus the Gospel calls us, again and again, to leave our homes, families, and fishing nets. (see Falling Upward, p. 38)

loyal-soldierListening to our ‘loyal soldier’…

In his metaphor of the ‘loyal soldier’, Rohr is talking about the superego (Falling Upward, p. 171).

Our ‘loyal soldier’ is the internal guide that reminds us of law and tradition; it also gives us identity, security, and purpose.  Our ‘soldier’ usually gets us safely through the first half of life.

In fact, our ‘soldier’ can give us so much security and validation that we can confuse its voice with the voice of God.  The ‘soldier’ is like an internalized ‘general’ who tells us to stay in line, and do the job we’ve been assigned. But because the ‘soldier’ can’t see the world through God’s eyes, it can’t get us to the second half of life.

The ‘soldier’ may keep us safe, but it has an egocentric view of the world.  It can help with the early decisions that demand black-and-white thinking; but as we move into the subtleties of midlife and later life, our choices become too complex for the ‘soldier’.

Now, beyond the first half of life, we come to some kind of ‘soul encounter’ with our deeper selves. The call to wholeness and holiness always stretches us beyond our comfort zone.

Now the orders that have always come from our internal ‘general’ will no longer help us; we must learn how to hear the much-more-subtle Voice of God, whose only ‘rule’ is love.

new-commandment-love-smallListening for the Voice of God…

Without our ‘loyal soldier’, we can no longer see a clear way forward – there are no clear-cut rules to show us how to love.

With each new person and each situation – and without precise guidelines for every situation – we will need to hear the deeper wisdom of God.

Now we must learn to trust. This is the first step of faith: trusting that we can learn to hear God’s Voice when the rules are no longer carved in stone.

Now our real faith journey begins.

 

Reflections on the reading – Chapter 2

heros-journey

You are the ‘hero’ of your own story

1. You grew up in a world that felt normal and familiar; this was your home.

(In the ancient myths, you may even have been of royal blood or of divine origin;
but you weren’t yet aware of your True Self. )

2.  When you grew older you found the courage to go on a journey.

(To find your True Self, you had to leave “home”.)

3. But on the journey you are deeply wounded. As you wrestle with your pain
as you try to understand it you begin to see that the ‘wound’ is changing you.

(Your ‘wound’, it turns out, is the secret key – even the sacred key –
that opens the door to your Real Life.)

4. Wounded, you find yourself ‘falling’ into your Real Life,
which before now has been hidden from you.

(Most of us think the world we were born into is Real Life,
but now we discover Real Life flowing beneath the surface of ordinary life.)

5.  Wounded and awakened, your journey now takes you back home.

(But with your new awareness of the Real Life that flows beneath the ordinary,
you can see “home” much more clearly than before.)   

6.  Coming home, you have brought a gift to share with others.

(Your journey, though it has been filled with struggles, has not depleted you;
now you have energy – and gifts – to share with others.)  

 

 

 

Thoughts after our meeting: October

Rohr pictureRichard Rohr writes,

The task of the first half of life is to create a proper container for one’s life
and answer the first essential questions:

  • ‘What makes me significant?’
  • ‘How can I support myself?’ and
  • ‘Who will go with me?’”  (Falling Upward, p. 13)

Last month we talked about our names, and about the families who gave us those names.  Those families – the people who held us, protected us, and nurtured us – were our very first ‘containers’.  This month we talked about the religions we were born into  – the religious ‘containers’ that our families lived in.

We began by remembering our parents’ churches and religious backgrounds.

  • Some of us had parents who shared a religion and attended church together.
  • Some of us had parents who were religious, but mother and father attended different churches.
  • A few of us had parents who did not participate in any church.

We remembered our families’ religious practices:

  • Attending church with the whole family, or with a parent or grandparent…
  • Attending Sunday School or religion classes…
  • Praying at home with parents or the whole family….
  • Hearing Bible stories, saints’ and heroes’ stories from family members… ….
  • Receiving our own Bible as a special gift to treasure and read…
  • Special times of transition – Baptism, First Communions, Confirmation, Marriage

We remembered the communities in which our families lived:

  • Some of us lived in neighborhoods where almost everyone shared the same religion…
  • Some of us attended religious schools in those neighborhoods….
  • Some of us went to churches far from our neighborhoods…
  • Others of us watched neighboring families go to church, while our own family stayed home…

We remembered the people who nurtured our faith development:

  • Family members who shared their faith with us: a father driving us to church every Sunday, a grandmother telling us stories of Jesus…
  • Family members who showed their love of God in the way they helped others
  • For some of us, nurturing came from outside our family – a neighbor, a teacher, a friend in Al-Anon….

Our parents did not need to keep us safe from daily violence or persistent famine.  We were not born in Syria, or Vietnam, or American inner cities. We had protective, nurturing families and churches who accepted us, loved us as best they could, and passed on their faith to us.  Yes, some of our memories are negative – parents who were scornful of religion; churches with stifling rules – but on the whole, we had healthy ‘containers’ – people who loved us, people who believed in a loving God.

But, as people shared around our circle, we could also hear echoes of our most painful challenges  – the deaths of our children, the deaths of spouses, the painful divorces, the devastating diseases.  While no one said this aloud on Tuesday, I’m sure that these challenges brought us to cry out to God: “Why did this happen…

  • to my child…?
  • to my husband…?
  • to us…?
  • to me…?”

How were we to know, when those challenges first hit us, that they were also bringing  invitations to deeper faith?  We had not yet learned that within every burning bush there is another opportunity to meet the God who promises to stay with us through all the pain that life brings.

Thinking of faith as a ‘fire’

Before life brought us those challenges, people in our families – and people in our churches – had already given us a solid foundation in love.  For almost all of us in the group, our earliest experiences of God’s  ‘fire’ were warm and comforting.   As we gathered around those fires, usually with cherished loved ones, our connections – to those people and to the fire – were strengthened.  We might think of our early faith as a flame that moved into our hearts from loved ones in our families and in our churches.

fireplace
The fire of faith in the ‘first half’ of our lives:
as we gather around the fire with loved ones,
we begin to trust God’s presence and love. 

But there will always be more to faith than comfort and security, more than experiences of love and joy.  That’s why Richard Rohr writes,

“Authentic God experience always ‘burns’ you, yet does not destroy you, just as the burning bush did to Moses…  “But most of us are not prepared for such burning, nor even told to expect it….” (see Falling Upward, p. 13-14)  

burning_bush
The fire of faith in the ‘second half’ of our lives:
mature faith is trusting that God walks with us,
and that the fire will not consume us.

Reflections on the reading – Chapter 1

The two halves of life    

chaco-canyon-doors
Ancient doors at Chaco Canyon, New Mexico
Built by the Ancestral Puebloans (AD 900-1150)

This stunning picture hangs on the wall of a room in my house.  Every time I walk into the room it reminds me that life keeps bringing me to new doors into new rooms, new challenges, and new possibilities.

The picture hangs in the room where I meet with friends who come to talk about their spiritual journeys.  When someone is sitting in the armchair beneath the picture, I can often hear God calling them to cross the threshold into the next part their life.

Richard Rohr says that there are two halves of our life.  In the first half, we all live in rooms built by our families, our cultures, our faith communities. If we’re lucky, we’re happy in this room – it’s where our parents feed us, and teach us, and love us, and help us to grow.  If we’re not so lucky – if our childhood is not so happy – we still find it hard to leave that familiar room.  That’s because the room still represents order and certainty, even if it has cramped our souls. If we walk through the door, we’ll be leaving what we have always known.

But there comes a time when God invites each of us walk through the door into a new chapter for our lives.  And so Rohr writes,

“In the first half of our lives, we have no container for spirituality’s awesome content, no wineskins prepared to hold such utterly intoxicating wine…

“The second half of life can hold some new wine, but that normally means the container has to stretch – die in its present form – or even replace itself with something better.

“Early-stage religion [the first room] is largely preparing us for the immense gift of this burning, this inner experience of God, as though creating a proper stable into which the Christ can be born.   Unfortunately, most people get so preoccupied with their stable, and whether their stable is better than your stable, or whether their stable is the only “one, holy, catholic, and apostolic” stable, that they never get to the birth of God in the soul…

“You see, authentic God experience always ‘burns’ you, yet does not destroy you  (see Exodus 3),  just as the burning bush did to Moses…

“But most of us are not prepared for such burning, nor even told to expect it.  By definition, authentic God experience is always ‘too much’.  It consoles our True Self only after it has devastated our false self. “ (see Falling Upward, p. 13-14)

virgin-of-the-burning-bush-sinai
Virgin of the Burning Bush,
St. Catherine’s Monastery, Mt. Sinai

Years ago now, I had the privilege of making a pilgrimage to St. Catherine’s Monastery in the Sinai desert.  The ancient church was filled with beautiful icons – and in a dark corner, I found an icon that touched my soul.  It was an icon of the Virgin Mary, this time pregnant with the baby Jesus; the fire of Jesus’ presence burned within her and around her.   That icon was a powerful symbol for me – of the One who dwells within us, the One who burns within us, and the One who calls us into an uncertain but awesome future.

Richard Rohr asks:  

In  what ways could Jesus’ command to ‘change your mind’ (see Mark 1:15)  affect your personal journey?  Spend time thinking about the difficult situations you are facing now, or the relationships in your life that are difficult now.  How might they be challenging and inviting you to change your mind?      (from the Companion Journal, p. 10

 

 

Thoughts after our meeting: September

walnut-seasonA harvest of walnuts

We spent most of our first meeting sharing our names – and remembering the families who gave us our names.  (I’m collecting your “name stories”, and when I’ve received all of your stories I’ll send them to you by email.)

There were some common themes in our stories.

None of us, of course, had any choice about our names – they were given to us by our parents, and often that name linked us to someone in our family history.

All of us are descendants of immigrants, and most of our families didn’t fit into the American mix at first; it took generations for the Polish, the Irish, the Germans, the Italians to be seen as fully American – just as new immigrants struggle today.

Growing up, several of us had to spend time adjusting to our names, even changing them when we became teenagers. We were on the way to becoming ourselves.

Our names – and the families they connect us to – are signs of our containers, the outside that defines us to the world.  Inside every container, however, is a person who is developing into her real self.

The container and the contents

When we were born, each of us was given an outer identity – a body, a name, a family, a social setting – by our parents and communities.  Our first great task in life was to build and strengthen that identity – Rohr calls it the container that can define us, protect us, and keep  us safe as we grow up.

walnut-springWalnut blossoms

How beautiful each new person is as she (or he) comes into the world!

If walnut trees were people, they would occasionally pull up their roots to stand around new blossoms – admiring their delicate faces, touching their tiny, perfect fingers – and imagining who that flower most resembles in the family tree.  But of course, those frail blossoms would never survive the wind, the rain, the hot sun, the birds and insects around them.  So each potential walnut grows a husk, a hull, that keeps the inside safe and gives it room  to grow.

walnut-summerWalnuts in the hull

Some walnuts survive in their hulls – without blemish – until the harvester comes along.

But most walnuts are already broken open while still hanging on the tree – broken by the fierce rains, the blistering sun, the hungry birds, the pesky insects.  If walnuts were people, they would probably moan as each crack develops in their hull.

But the truth is, only after the harvest can the inner walnut be shared with the world.

walnut-fall A walnut ready for harvest

The amazing thing about a walnut is that there is more than one container!

walnut-meatThe walnut inside

And so even as we’ve come quite a way on our life’s journey – and even as we may think we now have the perfect container – there’s more cracking still to come.

And now we come to the major theme of Rohr’s book – some kind of falling (Rohr calls it necessary suffering) is always part of the human journey.

In Falling Upward, Richard Rohr writes:

Necessary suffering goes on every day, seemingly without question…. Most of nature seems to totally accept major loss, gross inefficiency, mass extinctions, and short life spans as the price of life at all. (p. 77)

And in the Companion Journal, Rohr asks this question:

How do you use your freedom to say yes or no to spiritual growth?  Are you open to exploring your own dying, stumbling, mistakes, and falling?  What prevents your doing this?  What difference could the willingness make in your journey? (p. 73)

You can write your answer here (below), or in your own Companion Journal.

 

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