Richard Rohr: A Spirituality of the Beatitudes

In the Franciscan reading of the Gospel, there is no reason to be religious or to “serve” God except “to love greatly the One who has loved us greatly,” as Saint Francis said. [1] Religion is not about heroic will power or winning or being right. This has been a counterfeit for holiness in much of Christian history.

.. While the Ten Commandments are about creating social order (a good thing), the eight Beatitudes of Jesus are all about incorporating what seems like disorder, a very different level of consciousness. With the Beatitudes, there is no social or ego payoff for the false self. Obeying the Commandments can appeal to our egotistic consciousness and our need to be “right” or better than others.

.. Obedience to the Ten Commandments does give us the necessary impulse control and containment we need to get started, which is foundational to the first half of life. “I have kept all these from my youth,” the rich young man says, before he then refuses to go further (Mark 10:22).

The Beatitudes, however, reveal a world of pure grace and abundance, or what Spiral Dynamics and Integral Theory would call the second tier of consciousness and what I call second-half-of-life spirituality.

His actual life and practice show how he deliberately undercut the entire “honor/shame system” on which so much of culture, violence, false self-esteem, and even many of the ministrations of church depends. Doing anything and everything solely for God is certainly the most purifying plan for happiness I can imagine. It changes the entire nature of human interaction and eliminates most conflict.

Richard Rohr: Healing Stories are Half the Gospel

Francis knew that Jesus was not at all interested in the usual “sin management” task that many clergy seem to think is their job. He saw that Jesus was neither surprised nor upset at what we usually call sin. Jesus was upset at human pain and suffering. What else do all the healing stories mean? They are half of the Gospel! Jesus did not focus on sin. Jesus went where the pain was. Wherever he found human pain, there he went, there he touched, and there he healed.

Richard-Rohr: Remain in Love

Duns Scotus helped develop the doctrine of the univocity of being. Previous philosophers said God was a Being, which is what most people still think today.

Both the Dominican Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) and Duns Scotus said Deus est ens, God is being itself.

.. Yet Duns Scotus believed we can speak “with one voice” (univocity) of the being of waters, plants, animals, humans, angels, and God. We all participate in the same being. God is one (Deuteronomy 6:4), and thus reality is one, as well (Ephesians 4:3-5).

.. We are already connected to everything—inherently, objectively, metaphysically, ontologically, and theologically. We don’t create the connection by going to church or reading the Bible, although we hopefully enliven the connection.

Our DNA is already divine; that is why we naturally seek to know and love God. There has to be a little bit of something inside you for you to be attracted to it; like knows like. You are what you are looking for!

.. Their spiritual warfare is precisely the work of recognizing and then handing over all of their inner negativity and fear to God.

.. The great paradox here is that such a victory is a gift from God, and yet somehow you must want it very much (Philippians 2:12b-13). God does not come unless invited.

A Fountain Fullness of Love

Bonaventure taught that there are three books from which we learn wisdom: The Book of Creation, The Book of Jesus and Scripture, and The Book of Experience. He also taught that there are three pairs of eyes. The first pair sees all things as a fingerprint or footprint of God (vestigia Dei), which evokes foundational respect and teachability. The second pair of eyes is the hard work of honest self-knowledge—awareness of how you are processing your reality moment by moment. This is necessary to keep your own lens clean and open, and it is the work of your entire lifetime. The third pair is the eyes of contemplation, which allow you to see things in their essence and in their core meaning. Only then can you receive the transmitted image of God on your soul.

.. Bonaventure says we must begin “at the bottom, presenting to ourselves the whole material world as a mirror through which we may pass over to God, the Supreme [Artisan].”

.. Everything comes from God, exemplifies God, and then returns to God.  Bonaventure says that sums up all his teaching.