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Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation

From the Center for Action and Contemplation

Image credit: Last Supper Study (detail), Andrea del Sarto, 1520-1525, Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy.


Week Eight


Enneagram Part One:
Body Center




Type One: The Need to Be Perfect​
Friday, February 28, 2020


Holy Idea: Holy Perfection 

Virtue: Serenity 

Passion: Anger [1] 

This is my own type, so it’s easy for me to talk about it. I just hope I’ve done enough inner work to be able to present a balanced picture!  

Ones are idealists, motivated and driven on by longing for a true, just, and moral world. They are honest and fair and can spur others to work and mature and grow. They are often gifted teachers, but they have a hard time accepting imperfections—other people’s and, above all, their own.  

Starting back in their early years they internalized the voices that demand: “Be good! Behave yourself! Try hard! Don’t be childish! Do it better!” It is as if they had decided, even then, to earn the love of everyone around them by meeting such expectations and “being good.” Those demanding voices within them never fall silent.  

Type One children have renounced the development of their True Selves to please others (in my case, my mother) and earn the love of people who have sent them the signal “You’re okay only when you’re perfect.” Ones have the childhood driven out of them; too soon they have to act like adults.  

The search for perfection is the specific temptation of Ones, and it rules their lives. Ones are always frustrated because life and people are not what they should be. Ones are conscious of duty and responsibility and are often compulsively punctual. They are serious people and seldom tell jokes. They allow themselves relaxation and recreation only when they have thoroughly and completely finished their tasks. But that seldom happens because there’s always something or other that could be improved. Above all, Ones are disappointed by their own imperfection. 

Because the world is so imperfect, Ones can be resentful. At the same time, they avoid acknowledging the anger that often motivates them. They simply see it as another form of imperfection. They can barely perceive their own resentments (suppressed anger), but others generally recognize their sin much more readily than they do. That’s one reason why they need to be in fellowship with other people.  

The special virtue, or fruit of the spirit, that marks mature persons of any type is always the reverse of the root sin or passion. The fruit of the spirit of the One is cheerful tranquility or serenity. I hope I live there now much of the time. 

Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson describe the emergence of Essence in Ones: 

Deep down, Ones remember the essential quality of perfection. They know that, at a profound level, the universe is unfolding exactly as it must. (As in Julian of Norwich’s famous dictum, “All will be well. Every manner of thing will be well.”) . . .  

Staying with awareness releases a profoundly wise and discerning intelligence that illuminates all that [they] attend to. When Ones, through patient self-acceptance and open-mindedness, are able to relax enough to recognize that this quality is, and always has been, available to them, they become the true instruments of the Divine will that they have longed to be. [2]  


Gateway to Action & Contemplation:
What word or phrase resonates with or challenges me? What sensations do I notice in my body? What is mine to do?

Prayer for Our Community:
O Great Love, thank you for living and loving in us and through us. May all that we do flow from our deep connection with you and all beings. Help us become a community that vulnerably shares each other’s burdens and the weight of glory. Listen to our hearts’ longings for the healing of our world. [Please add your own intentions.] . . . Knowing you are hearing us better than we are speaking, we offer these prayers in all the holy names of God, amen.

Listen to Fr. Richard read the prayer.



[1] Christopher L. Heuertz, The Sacred Enneagram: Finding Your Unique Path to Spiritual Growth (Zondervan: 2017), 113. Chris defines these terms as follows (see pages 246-248): 

Holy Ideas: The unique state of mental well-being, specific to each of the nine types, in which the mind is centered and connected with the True Self.  

Virtues: Like the nine fruits of the Spirit [see Galatians 5:22-23] the Virtues are . . . gifts of a centered heart that is present, nonreactive, and at rest in the True Self.  

Passions: The inverse of the Virtues are the Passions . . . [which] emerge as the heart indulges the Basic Fear that it will never return to its essence and therefore seeks out coping mechanisms that ultimately compound each type’s state of emotional imbalance.  

Watch for Chris’ podcast, Enneagram Mapmakers: Exploring the Interior Landscapes of the Ego (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2020), coming March 24, 2020!  

[2] Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson, The Wisdom of the Enneagram: The Complete Guide to Psychological and Spiritual Growth for the Nine Personality Types (Bantam Books: 1999), 123. 

Adapted from Richard Rohr and Andreas Ebert, The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective(The Crossroad Publishing Company: 2001, 2013), 49, 50, 53, 54. 

Image credit: Last Supper Study (detail), Andrea del Sarto, 1520-1525, Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy.  




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News from the CAC


Turning to the Mystics

A new podcast featuring James Finley, clinical psychologist and Living School faculty member, Turning to the Mystics offers a modern take on the historical contemplative practices of Christian mystics like Thomas Merton, Teresa of Ávila, and John of the Cross. 



Our 7-year CONSPIRE conference series explores Richard Rohr’s seven themes of the Alternative Orthodoxy. For the final, capstone experience, watch all five of our core faculty—Cynthia Bourgeault, James Finley, Barbara Holmes, Brian McLaren, and Richard Rohr—teaching together for the first time. Join us online or in person in Albuquerque, New Mexico, May 15–17 for CONSPIRE 2020




Action & Contemplation


2020 Daily Meditations Theme

What does God ask of us? To act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God. —Micah 6:8

Franciscan Richard Rohr founded the Center for Action and Contemplation in 1987 because he saw a deep need for the integration of both action and contemplation. If we pray but don’t act justly, our faith won’t bear fruit. And without contemplation, activists burn out and even well-intended actions can cause more harm than good. In today’s religious, environmental, and political climate our compassionate engagement is urgent and vital.


In this year’s Daily Meditations, Father Richard helps us learn the dance of action and contemplation. 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 reflections you may have missed.



An image of Richard Rohr speaking in his chair about the 2020 Daily Meditation Theme. The image links to a video.


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Inspiration for this week’s banner image: Our Intelligence Centers help us hear and invite us to greater discernment. . . . Discernment is our ability to judge what is good, true, and beautiful. Discernment is also the inner knowledge of how to act on that which we perceive. Our use of discernment relies on the clarity of our centered minds, the objectivity of peace-filled hearts, and the unobstructed impulses or instincts of our bodies. —Chris Heuertz 


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