Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer (Facets) Paperback – 3 Apr 2003
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Using parables, koans, and personal experiences, Richard Rohr leads us beyond the techniques of prayer to a place where we can receive the gift of contemplation: the place where (if only for a moment) we see the world in God clearly, and know that everything belongs. Richard Rohr has written this book to help us pray better and see life differently. He teaches us that there are not two worlds - a sacred and a profane. There are two ways of seeing the same world. If we can let go of who we think we are, we can see who we really are. And when we do, we will see the sacred for ourselves. Rohr encourages us to take on a 'beginner's mind,' to unlearn old habits and learn to stand reality on its head. The benefit is the gift of contemplation: 'a way of living in awareness of the Presence, even enjoying the Presence. We trust, allow, and delight in it. We see how everything fits, and know that everything belongs.' --From the Publisher
About the Author
Richard Rohr OFM (born in 1943 in Kansas) is a Franciscan priest ordained to the priesthood in the Roman Catholic Church in 1970. He is an internationally known inspirational speaker known for his recorded talks and numerous books. Rohr was the founder of the New Jerusalem Community in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1971 and the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1986 where he currently serves as Founding Director. Scripture as liberation, the integration of action and contemplation, community building, peace and social justice issues, male spirituality, the Enneagram and eco-spirituality are amongst the many themes that he addresses in his writing and preaching. He is best known for his writings on spirituality and his audio and video recordings. One of his most popular recordings is The NEW Great Themes of Scripture. Rohr is a contributing editor and writer for Sojourners Magazine and a contributor to Tikkun Magazine. He was one of several spiritual leaders featured in the 2006 documentary film ONE: The Movie.
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Encouraging, uplifting but without syrup. Honest and realistic without cynicism. Written with integrity and intelligence.
Reminds me of Eckhart's title 'Everything is Divine'. Not disappointed. In fact Rohr's book stirred up what I am beginning to realise about Christianity - the religion of my youth but one that I neglected for a period. Now I come back to it with my eyes wide open to the fact that though Christianity is about love it is not sweet sentimental love but a revolutionary, radical way of being and acting in the world. It is about letting go of who we think we are and of finding out who we really are -a painful but necessary process.
Rohr speaks of the weeping, the cleansing that we need to do as we come to be more present with Divine Love. It is not for the faint-hearted. It is about TRUE love which often means taking up the cross and observing our own stream of consciousness which contains both the good and the shadow self. It is about understanding our own human nature. That can be a painful yet necessary process. Rohr invites us to persist and deepen our faith through contemplation. (There are no practical exercises on contemplation in this book. Those can be found in Fr Thomas Keating's book: 'Open mind, Open heart').
Rohr quotes from the teachings of Julian of Norwich and Teresa of Avila amongst others. Jesus's message is for everyone not just those who go to church on Sunday. Rohr mentions Simone Weil, Etty Hillsum, Gandhi and Nelson Mandela as people who do not formally belong to the church but seem to have truly lived the mystery of the suffering and joy of God. Living by God's choice and Grace is a transformative process and that is radical and at the same time neither soothing nor comfortable yet it brings with it sincere and profound faith in the good and bad of human history and moulds us into the instrument of the divine. We see the profound wound we carry and it is in that wound that the answer lies. 'God sees the wounds, and sees them not as scars but as honors ..' Julian of Norwich ('Revelations of Divine Love').
Everything in life belongs - this book is asking us to open our eyes to reality. This message is excellent and I pray more people stumble across and hear this profound but simple message. Amen.
'Less' because there is little here about how to get started on this sort of prayer, which has a great deal in common, in terms of the logic and practice of self-emptying, with the silent traditions within Islam, Buddhism, and other religions. Anyone looking for a 'how to' guide could do worse than Thomas Keating's 'Open Mind, Open Heart'.
'More', because Rohr succeeds in presenting a far more profound, challenging, compassionate, and brutally realistic Christianity than anything I have previously come across (as someone who was brought up in an intellectual Catholic atmosphere and now teaches in the general area of religious culture). If you can read beyond the occasionally distracting Americanisms and references to US culture, Rohr offers a comprehensive vision of Christianity rooted in Francis of Assisi (Rohr is a Franciscan) and in the contemplative tradition. He frequently offers biblical citations, leading me to read these passages in a radically different light (Rohr loves the word 'radical', by the way, and it does indeed seem appropriate to much of what he says).
This would be an interesting book to read alongside Matthieu Ricard's 'Happiness'. Ricard is a Tibetan Buddhist monk, and his presentation of Buddhist psychological insights and virtue ethics chimes well with what Rohr is saying. Neither person is interested in making converts or in pressing the claims of their religion - the very notions of identity and 'groups', they would say, is part of the problem. But they do both offer sincere perspectives and very real practical suggestions and challenges for their readers.
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