“Religion either produces the very best people or the very worst.” I read those words weeks ago when the horrors of ISIS and Boko Haram first broke into our consciousness. Richard Rohr, a Franciscan priest and author, wrote them, and said it’s no wonder so many reject religion when the murder of innocents is carried out in its name.
How well they fit the terrible moment then, and again today. Rohr’s words often do in his daily meditations from his Center for Action and Contemplation in New Mexico.
Sunday he wrote not about war and terror, but his more typical topic, deepening faith.
“The Song of Songs (8:6) says that love is stronger than death, and the flash of love is like a flash of fire, a flame of Yahweh. Everything can be seen as a little experience of the Big Flame. We are just a little tiny flicker of a much larger flame that is Life itself, Consciousness itself, Being itself, Love itself, God’s very self.”
Saturday he offered his weekly summation of the theme he’d been exploring for the previous seven days: getting old, or what he calls “ripening.” It was excerpted from his book, “Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life.”
“If we are to speak of a spirituality of ripening, we need to recognize that it is always characterized by an increasing tolerance for ambiguity, a growing sense of subtlety, an ever-larger ability to include and allow, a capacity to live with contradictions …. The refusal to ripen leads to what T.S. Eliot spoke of in ‘The Hollow Men,’ lives that ‘end not with a bang but with a whimper.’ ”
Rohr has written many books, including “Breathing Under Water, Spirituality and the Twelve Steps” and, for the white-knuckle holiday season, “Preparing for Christmas: Daily Reflections for Advent.” According to his website, more than 115,000 people worldwide receive his daily meditations in their e-mail inbox, free. They are inspired, inspiring, and worth checking out.