March 30th Reflection

I'll be walking through some daily devotions given to us by one of my favorite authors and teachers, Fr. Richard Rohr.


THE BIBLE HUMBLES US BEFORE IT ENLIGHTENS US

"How can we look at the biblical text in a manner that will convert or change us?  I am going to define the Bible in a new way for some of you.  The Bible is an honest conversation with humanity about where power really is.  All spiritual text, including the Bible, are books whose primary focus lies outside of themselves, in the Holy Mystery.

    The Bible illuminates your human experience through struggling with it.  It is not a substitute for human experience.  It is an invitation into the struggle itself: You are supposed to be bothered by some of the texts.  Human beings come to consciousness by struggle, and most especially struggle with God and sacred texts.  We remain largely unconscious if we avoid all conflicts, dilemmas, paradoxes, inconsistencies, or contradictions.

    The Bible is a book filled with conflicts and paradoxes and historical inaccuracies.  It is filled with contradictions and it is precisely in learning to struggle with these seeming paradoxes that we grow up--not by avoiding them with a glib one-sentence answer that a sixteen-year-old can memorize.  If I had settled for the mostly one-line answers to everything from Fr. McGuire's Baltimore Catechism, my spiritual journey would have been over in the third grade.  And for many people, otherwise educated in other fields, that is exactly what happened.  We created people who have quick answers instead of humble searchers for God and truth.  God and truth never just fall into your lap, but are given as gifts only to those who really want them and desire them."


Rohr is always offering an invitation into a deeper relationship with God through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.  Some of his books have proven to be my favorites despite my struggle to fully grasp them.  As a Franciscan Father, Rohr has devoted his life to teaching and demonstrating Christian faith as a way of experiencing God rather than just memorizing stories about encounters with God as given to us in our Bible.  The Bible has always been literature which draws us into a deeper understanding of our world through our faith.  The poems, narratives, wisdom, propaganda, apocalyptic and personal letters are all given to us to help us awaken from the sleep of a dead life.  We are offered the invitation to arise and receive new life here and now; this kind of life is not subject to sin and death.

    Venturing into this kind of faith pursuit always brings us to places of struggle and discomfort.  How many mornings do you find it a struggle and discomfort to be awakened!!?  Waking up is not always pleasant, but it is ALWAYS life-giving.  I invite you to consider Rohr's words above as an invitation--not a threat.  Read them and re-read them while closing your eyes and praying to God to lead you.  God always answers that prayer!


And...perhaps most importantly,...don't try and explore this faith alone.  Connect with a friend who is in honest pursuit of God and read through this together.  Reflect, challenge,...struggle as companions on a journey.  Let us venture with confidence and hope because the pioneer and perfecter of our faith is Jesus Christ.  No one struggled, prayed, and experienced discomfort like Him.  He leads us forward to God.  We only need follow.