If you…

Richard Rohr – If you want others to be more loving, choose to love first. If you want a reconciled outer world, reconcile your own inner world. If you are working for peace out there, create it inside as well. If you wish to find some outer stillness, find it within yourself. If you want to find God, then honor God within you, and you will always see God far beyond you, also. For it is only God in you who knows where and how to look for God. By ourselves, we are fairly blind.

a puddle in the pig lot

Brilliant and gorgeous day, bright sun, breeze making all the leaves and high brown grass shine. Singing of the wind in the cedars Exultant day, in which a puddle in the pig lot shines like precious silver.

Finally I am coming to the conclusion that my highest ambition is to be what I already am. That I will never fulfill my obliga tion to surpass myself unless I first accept myself—and, if I accept myself fully in the right way, I will already have surpassed myself. For it is the unaccepted self that stands in my way—and will con tinue to do so as long as it is not accepted. When it has been accepted, it is my own stepping-stone to what is above me. Because this is the way man was made by God—and original sin was the effort to surpass oneself by being “like God,” i.e., unlike oneself. But our Godlikeness begins at home. We must become like ourselves, and stop living “beside ourselves.”

Thomas Merton, journal entry 10.2.1958

The shadow never knows

The less aware we are of our shadow self, the more damage it will do. Church teachings on repentance, confession, and forgiveness make good sense. At some point we must say to at least one person: “My name is Joe, and I’m an alcoholic” (or a sex addict, or a workaholic, or an unloving man). Bring it out of darkness, and “everything that becomes visible is light” (Ephesians 5:14).

That’s what we mean by making friends with the shadow. The hero in the Holy Grail stories was advised not to kill the Dark Knight but to make friends with him. It took me years to comprehend this, but now I wonder if there is any other way to overcome evil except to make it work for you and get it on your side. That’s what Jesus did on the cross by making his own murder the salvation of the world. He didn’t destroy his killers, but forgave them because “they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). The shadow never knows what it is doing.

Richard Rohr

Bismillah – Rumi

It’s a habit of yours to walk slowly.
You hold a grudge for years.
With such heaviness, how can you expect to be modest?
With such attachments, do you expect to arrive anywhere?

Be wide as the air to learn a secret.
Right now you’re equal portions clay
and water, thick mud.

Abraham learned how the sun and moon and the stars all set.
He said, No longer will I try to assign partners for God.

You are so weak. Give up to grace.
The ocean takes care of each wave
till it gets to shore.
You need more help than you know.
You’re trying to live your life in open scaffolding.
Say Bismillah, In the name of God,
as a priest does when offering an animal.

Bismillah your old self
to find your real name.