Each issue carries an imprimatur from
the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. Reprinting prohibited
Letting God In:
When are we most willing to let God into our lives? Often it is when we are
most broken, when we finally admit our inadequacy to “stand on our own.” God
can take that kind of dependency and run with it! Lent is an ideal time to remember that
we, in the deepest way, must learn to depend on God. In this Update we invite you
to spend some time each day in Lent listening to Gospel challenges that will help awaken
heart and mind. Then we will truly be prepared to celebrate Holy Week and Easter.
Ash Wednesday: Waking Up
Our poverty has the key; it offers us the breakthrough moment for us to wake
up. It’s the hole in the soul, that place where we are radically broken and powerless—and
Thursday: Taking Responsibility
Until one takes responsibility and stops blaming his or her mother or father,
and says, “This is my life
my life is powerless,” nothing new is going to happen.
Friday: Being Alive
What we lack in an addictive society and an addictive family is a sense of
being truly alive. So we look for pseudo-ways to feel alive. But when we find the spirit
of Jesus inside of us, more than we asked for, expected or earned, then we understand grace.
The most simple spiritual discipline is some degree of solitude and silence.
We’ve got to slow down the chatter, the stimulation. We won’t have the courage
to go into that terrifying place of the soul without the light and love of the Lord.
First Sunday of Lent: Grace
God’s love is total, unconditional, absolute and forever. The state
of grace—God’s attitude towards us—is eternal. We are the ones who change.
Sometimes we are able to to believe that God loves us unconditionally, absolutely and forever.
That’s grace! We have to allow God to continually fill us.
Monday: Mosess Promised Land
Moses’s story contains one of the ironies of history: Moses did not
get to the land of Israel. He saw it from the distance, as he looked across the River Jordan.
No doubt, though, Moses was already experiencing his Promised Land in the journey.
Tuesday: The Commandment
In our world God says: Do not put your trust in gods that that cannot save—your
looks, intelligence, money. Do not put your trust in your children, wife, husband, your
home. They cannot save you. God is security, the rock of our salvation.
The original notion of sin is not to impute guilt; it’s to name reality.
What is going on in our lives, in our society that is so blinding, so addictive? What is
trapping us from loving God and neighbor and being truly alive? Those are our questions
Thursday: Romans 7
Read Romans 7 sometime, live with the agony of Paul and see that he’s
just like every one of us. Why do I do what I don’t want to do? Paul says,
“Who will rescue me from this body doomed to death?” Yet he follows with,
“This I know, in Christ there is no condemnation.”
Confession is not just for the confessional. There’s non-sacramental
confession. Sometimes, maybe even more often, we need to confess to a wife, husband, child,
friend—someone who has the power to recognize and receive the sinner. The sense of
personhood that comes from truthfulness is immense.
Saturday: A Radical Call
We must somehow be a Church growing in resistance. Faith and resistance must
be reconnected in our hearts and in our corporate decisions. Otherwise we are always drawn
into passing fads and cultural biases.
Second Sunday of Lent:—The Transcendence of God
Worship means lifting our hands to a God who seems totally beyond us. Modern
humanity has lost the call to worship because it’s a blow to our pride and sophistication
to worship God who is total otherness. Is adoration pushing God away from us? NO! It’s
allowing God to make the voluntary move toward us.
Monday: Spirituality of Subtraction
The medieval mystic Meister Eckhardt said the spiritual life has much more
to do with subtraction than with addition. Yet Christians today are involved in a spirituality
of addition. Consumer culture wants us to have more. God wants us to let go.
Ego is not the love of God; it’s the love of self. Basically it is
the need to control reality and think well of oneself. Yet we put all of our efforts into
controlling the shadow or dark side of our personality. Jesus is clearly saying the shadow
is not the problem; but power and pride are.
Wednesday: Back to Basics
Life in parts of the world is basic: the beautiful mornings, the fresh, clean
breeze, so many birds, the temperature constant with the body’s. Not only did humankind
likely begin here, but somehow it is still beginning here. We need to embrace the basics.
Thursday: Freedom From Self
In Christ you don’t need the false self. You have faced the enemy once
and for all and, guess what? It’s you!
Friday: Do We Love Christ?
When was the last time you heard that someone was thrown out of the Church
for not rejoicing and exalting when they were criticized? Jesus taught that we should.
Do we conveniently ignore much of the New Testament?
Saturday: From Mertons Hermitage
Have you ever spent 24 hours of your life in solitude and silence without
another person defining you, needing you, talking to you? What happens is you have to go
to the Lord for identity, asking, “Who am I now, Lord?”
Third Sunday of Lent: Jesus Commandment Is Love
We must learn to move beyond ourselves, to say no to instant gratification,
to set limits on our own needs and somehow meet someone else’s needs. That’s
why Jesus commanded us to love. Until we love, we really do not even know who we are.
Monday: Praying in Your Rhythm
There isn’t just one way to be in prayer, communication or relationship.
Respect the rhythm of your life and know that it will change at different periods of your
Tuesday: Longing for Union
To talk to God takes a childlike attitude. If we need always to be in control,
we can’t talk like a child to our mother.
Wednesday: The Self-Revelation of God
The dialogue between God and humanity is the give-and-take of self-revelation
and response. In prayer God is gradually disclosing, revealing who God is.
Thursday: Real Prayer
The most simple rule for good prayer is honesty and humility. One can never
go wrong with those two, even if it means giving God your anger or distractions.
Friday:—God Is Seducing Us
God put passion within us so that we could understand some of what God is about.
Will we ever trust that desirous and desiring place within our own hearts, where God is
a passionate God?
Saturday:—Love Your Enemies
Fear is the major barrier to the emergence of great faith and great-souled
people. How many of us love other people who kick us around, who make it hard for us? That’s
what Jesus commands.
Fourth Sunday of Lent: I Will Be With You
Moses’s power is the presence of the Lord. That’s all! In every
religious experience in the Bible, a person comes to an experience of God and God says
simply, “I will be with you.”
Monday: Keep a Blank Sheet Ready
Get your own agenda, hurts, neediness and fears out of the way, so that you’ve
offered God a blank sheet to write on when it’s time to write some words on your
Tuesday: Our Daily Bread
The whole message of the Hebrew people in the desert is a message of continued
dependence on God, minute-by-minute learning to trust in Providence.
Wednesday: The Security to Be Insecure
God calls us on a journey of faith, like walking into a darkened room. We
walk slowly, bumping into things. We learn total dependence on God.
Thursday: Stripped in the Desert
When all of our idols are taken away, all our securities and defense mechanisms,
we find out who we really are. God takes away our shame, and we are able to present ourselves
to God poor and humble.
Friday: Love Challenges the Beloved
Humans do not want a God of love: We seek to hide from it and destroy it.
So people sought to destroy Jesus. Religion, lightly taken, is more comfortable than religion,
a love relationship.
Saturday: Jesus Saves
The apostles speak with boldness and fire. In the name of Jesus all power
is given to me! Are we Catholics today proud of Jesus?
Fifth Sunday of Lent: The Attitide of Faith
Unless we can presume that the Lord is speaking right now, how can we believe
that he ever spoke? To have an attitude of faith is to hear the Lord speaking everywhere
and all the time, in the concrete and ordinary experiences of our lives.
Monday: Fought-for Faith
God gives us meaning, not answers. The suffering of life is the suffering
of every marriage union, every love relationship, like the suffering of the prophets in
their relationship to God.
Tuesday: Becoming Who We Really Are
God takes human life seriously. To come into this world we will discover
ourselves as beloved son, daughter, brother, sister, mother and father.
Wednesday: Earning Gods Love
The greatest act of faith is to believe God loves you, even in your nakedness,
poverty and sinfulness. Regardless of what we think, we do not earn God’s love.
None of us is perfect. God loves us exactly as we are. There is nothing to
attain for God to love us any differently. That’s a liberating message.
Friday: The This-ness of Things
Creation is always redemption. Already in the act of creation, God has named
you. God created you as you, in your unique “this-ness.”
Saturday: Foundation of Life
You can only build on life; all else is sand. Our journey into ever-deeper
life is the essence of faith community.
Palm Sunday: I Love You
The supreme irony of the whole crucifixion scene is this: He, who was everything,
had everything taken away from him. He, who was the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, was
crowned with thorns. He is the eternal sign of God to humans, yet his arms were nailed
open because he said in his life three most dangerous words: “I love you.”
Why should God give us anything we ourselves are not willing to work for?
We pray, “Do it, God!”, but also “We will do it, too!” God creates
and invites us to co-create. What trust and infinite patience!
Tuesday: The Time Is Here!
Salvation is now. We have a tendency to point ourselves backward or forward
in time, but the Gospels say either we are letting Jesus save us now or we are not letting
him save us at all.
Wednesday: Father and Son
Jesus praying to Abba, “Daddy,”
brings out the beautiful relationship in which Jesus grows with his Father, of being the
loving, trusting son. In Gethsemane, and from the cross, he cries out, “Daddy!” Jesus
seeks at all costs to be true to his Father.
Holy Thursday: Footwashing
Peter symbolizes all of us as he protests,
“You will never wash my feet!” (Jn 13:8). Sometimes we think we are being heroic
in not letting God love us. Yet only when Peter allows Jesus to minister to him does he
experience Jesus’ meaning.
Good Friday: The Price of Truth
The cross is our obedience to the price of truth and love—with no assurance
that it is going “to work.” As in the life of Jesus, the cross leads us to
perfect faith. The cross is doing the truth, laying down one’s life for one’s
Easter Vigil: Love It to Death
Jesus is our guarantee of God’s promise. What happened in his body
is the pattern of what must happen in all of the cosmos. We are optimistic because we look
at him and see the final pattern: It worked; the leap of faith was not in vain.
This Update is excerpted from the St. Anthony Messenger Press book Radical
Grace: Daily Meditations by Richard Rohr, edited by John Feister. Fr. Richard, a Franciscan,
is author of numerous books, an international speaker and founder of the Center for Action
and Contemplation in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
NEXT: Easter Liturgies (by Lawrence E. Mick)