Richard Rohr: ‘Give me your failure … I will make a life out of it’

"The Flower Carrier" by Diego Rivera

Give me your failure, God says, and I will make life out of it. Give me your broken, disfigured, rejected, betrayed lives, like the body you see hanging on the cross, and I will make life out of it. This is the divine pattern of promise and transformation which gives such hope to history. It is probably the central Gospel message.

We are all still handicapped and terribly aware of our wounds, but as St. Augustine (354-430) says in his Confessions, “In my deepest wound I saw Your glory and it dazzled me.” He seems to be saying that against all expectations our very failures can be our way through to God and to ourselves. That utterly levels the playing field. Even Julian of Norwich (1342-1416) says, “God sees our wounds, and sees them not as scars but as honors … For God holds sin as a sorrow and pain to us. He does not blame us for them” (From Revelations of Divine Love, Chapter 39, Showing 13).

If the Gospel is true, we might eventually thank God for our very weaknesses and failures.–Richard Rohr, OFM

Adapted from Richard Rohr’s Everything Belongs (p. 166)

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