Richard Rohr Meditation: Universal Belonging

 the lovely symmetry of his theology, can be summarized in what Bonaventure named the three great truths that for him hold everything together. He summarizes all his teaching in these three movements:

Emanation: We come forth from God bearing the divine image; our very DNA is found in God.

Exemplarism: Everything in creation is an example and illustration of the one God mystery in space and time, by reason of its “origin, magnitude, multitude, beauty, fulness, activity, and order.” [1]

Consummation: We return to the Source from which we came; the Omega is the same as the Alpha and this is God’s supreme and final victory.

What a positive, coherent, and meaning-filled world this describes! Note that Bonaventure’s theology is clearly not the later reward/punishment frame that took over when people did not experience God, but merely believed propositions. Many people today are not sure where we came from, who we are, and where we are going, and many do not even seem to care about the questions. What if we could recover a view of the world and God that was infused with Bonaventure’s teaching? 

Richard Rohr Meditation: The Goal

The purifying goal of mysticism and contemplative prayer is nothing less than divine union—union with what is, with the moment, with yourself, with the divine, which means with everything. Healing, growth, and happiness are admittedly wonderful byproducts of prayer, but they must not be our primary concern. The goal must be kept simple and clear—love of God and neighbor, union with God and neighbor. Our common word for this state of union is heaven. Wherever there is union, there is a little bit of heaven.

Much of common religion is well-disguised self-interest—high premium fire insurance for the afterlife—instead of self-emptying love.

..  Most of the official Catholic liturgical prayers ask in some form, “That I or we might go to heaven.” (This is not a guess. I have counted!) Is there no other priority than my personal salvation? If it is true that lex orandi est lex credendi, “the way you pray is the way you believe,” then it is no wonder Christians have such a poor record of caring for the suffering of the world and for the planet itself, and the Church has fully participated in so many wars and injustices. We have been allowed to pray in a rather self-centered way, and that fouled the Christian agenda, in my opinion.

.. Jesus talked much more about how to live on earth now than about how to get to heaven later.

.. But many Christians, both Protestant and Catholic, pushed the goal into the future, making religion into a petty reward/punishment system inside a frame of retributive justice. (The major prophets—and Jesus himself­—teach restorative justice instead.) Once Christianity became a simplistic win/lose morality contest, we lost most of the practical, transformative power of the Gospel for the individual and for society.

.. The branch that imagines itself to be separate from the Vine (John 15:1-8), acts as if it is separate from God. We call the result sin, but the real sin is the imagined state of separation. It is our own delusion and decision!