Darkness ,but light can shine again

 

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Richard Rohr's Daily Meditation

Those of you who don’t practice a traditional religion also can make contact with the divine within all of us . But silence is nessessary to listen to that loving voice . Put away all your digital toys for the day if that’s what it takes to travel within yourself......PLG Tony 

From the Center for Action and Contemplation

Image credit: Helen Keller, no. 8 (detail), 1904, Whitman Studio, The Helen Keller Foundation; colorist, Jared Enos.
 

Week Forty-nine

 

Darkness

 
 
 

Life Goes On
Wednesday, December 4, 2019

 
 

Sister Joan Chittister continues to reflect on what it means to suffer through times of doubt or unknowing when it comes to our faith: 

The sense of being stranded in the midst of life . . . is enough to drain a person’s very personality until there is little left to recognize. Where did the joy go all of a sudden? Where did the feeling of self-confidence disappear to in the midst of this emptiness? Just yesterday life was clear and vibrant. Today it is endlessly bleak. The darkness is unyielding. Nothing helps; nothing takes it away.

There is no light here, we think. But we think wrong.

There is a light in us that only darkness itself can illuminate. It is the glowing calm that comes over us when we finally surrender to the ultimate truth of creation: that there is a God and we are not it. . . . Then the clarity of it all is startling. Life is not about us; we are about the project of finding Life. At that moment, spiritual vision illuminates all the rest of life. And it is that light that shines in darkness.

Only the experience of our own darkness gives us the light we need to be of help to others whose journey into the dark spots of life is only just beginning. It’s then that our own taste of darkness qualifies us to be an illuminating part of the human expedition. Without that, we are only words, only false witnesses to the truth of what it means to be pressed to the ground and rise again.

The light we gain in darkness is the awareness that, however bleak the place of darkness was for us, we did not die there. We know now that life begins again on the other side of the darkness. Another life. A new life. After the death, the loss, the rejection, the failure, life does go on. Differently, but on. Having been sunk into the cold night of . . . despair—and having survived it—we rise to new light, calm and clear and confident that what will be, will be enough for us.

And I, Richard, believe that even when we or someone we love does die, life has not ended; it is merely transformed. It takes great humility to admit we have suffered through this kind of darkness, because it often sounds like a loss of faith to those who have not endured it. But when everything we thought we knew has turned to “nada,” in the language of John of the Cross, we actually become more loving and compassionate human beings, for we no longer rely on our own light but upon the Light of the world living within us.

 

Gateway to Presence:
If you want to go deeper with today’s meditation, take note of what word or phrase stands out to you. Come back to that word or phrase throughout the day, being present to its impact and invitation.

 
 

Joan Chittister, Between the Dark and the Daylight: Embracing the Contradictions of Life (Image: 2015), 19-20.

Image credit: Helen Keller, no. 8 (detail), 1904, Whitman Studio, The Helen Keller Foundation; colorist, Jared Enos.

 
 
 

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News from the CAC

 

Online Courses

 

Rediscover God’s presence in all living things.
Richard Rohr teaches the core of the Gospel and the path of St. Francis of Assisi—love for all people and all creation. Explore ways to embody such humility in our online course The Franciscan Way. Registration ends January 29, 2020, and the course runs February 5-March 24, 2020.

Rediscover your forgotten, indestructible True Self.
Reconnect with your Divine DNA with other spiritual seekers in this online coursebased on Richard Rohr’s book Immortal Diamond. Explore Fr. Richard’s classic teachings through exclusive videos, audio, articles, and online group discussion. The course runs February 19-April 29, 2020.

 
 
 

Old and New: An Evolving Faith 

 
 

2019 Daily Meditations Theme

As you witness so much division, fear, and suffering in our world, you may wonder what path—if any—there is toward healing and hope. Perhaps your church or faith has been important to you, but now you may be questioning if it is still a trustworthy or relevant guide. Does Christianity have anything of value left to offer?

Franciscan Richard Rohr suggests that there are good, beautiful, and true gems worth holding on to. At the same time, there are many unhelpful and even harmful parts of what has passed for Christianity that we need to move beyond. In his Daily Meditations, Father Richard helps us mine the depths of this tradition, discerning what to keep and what to transcend.

 

Each week builds on previous topics, but you can join at any time! Click the video to learn more about the theme and to find meditations you may have missed. We hope that reading these messages is a contemplative, spiritual practice for you.

 
 
An image of Richard Rohr speaking in his chair about the 2019 Daily Meditation Theme. The image links to a video.
 

Learn about contemplative prayer and other forms of meditation. For frequently asked questions—such as what versions of the Bible Father Richard recommends or how to ensure you receive every meditation—please see our email FAQ.

 
 
 
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Inspiration for this week's banner image: Not knowing or uncertainty is a kind of darkness that many people find unbearable. . . . The very meaning of faith stands in stark contrast to this mindset. We have to live in exquisite, terrible humility before reality. In this space, God gives us a spirit of questing, a desire for understanding. In some ways it is like learning to “see in the dark.” —Richard Rohr

 
 
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