Richard Rohr: To the Center by Circuitous Route

Labyrinth at Ave Maria Retreat Center in Limpopo, South Africa.

“How do we find what is supposedly already there? How do we awaken our deepest and most profound selves? By praying and meditating? By more silence, solitude, and sacraments? Yes to all of the above, but the most important way is to live and fully accept our reality. This solution sounds so simple and innocuous that most of us fabricate all kinds of religious trappings to avoid taking up our own inglorious, mundane, and ever-present cross.

Living and accepting our own reality will not feel very spiritual. It will feel like we are on the edges rather than dealing with the essence. Thus most run toward more esoteric and dramatic postures instead of bearing the mystery of God’s suffering and joy inside themselves. But the edges of our lives—fully experienced, suffered, and enjoyed—lead us back to the center and the essence.

We do not find our own center; it finds us. Our own mind will not be able to figure it out. Our journeys around and through our realities, or “circumferences,” lead us to the core reality, where we meet both our truest self and our truest God. We do not really know what it means to be human unless we know God. And, in turn, we do not really know God except through our broken and rejoicing humanity.–Richard Rohr, ofm

Adapted from Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer by Richard Rohr (pp. 17-19)

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