Christianity in the Desert Richard Rohr edit

Christianity in the Desert
Wednesday, September 5, 2018

The desert may initially seem barren, dull, and colorless, but eventually our perceptions start to change. . . . Here we empty ourselves of our own obstacles to God. In the space of this emptiness, we encounter the enormity of God’s presence. . . . The aromas teach us that the desert becomes the place of a mature repentance and conversion toward transformation into true radical freedom. [2]
~Laura Swan, The Forgotten Desert Mothers: S ayings, Lives, and Stories of Early Christian Women (Paulist Press: 2001), 168.

…one wonders if a desert experience is necessary to reclaim this legacy.

Today’s wilderness can be found in bustling suburban and urban centers,
on death row,
in homeless shelters in the middle of the night, in the eyes of a hospice patient, and in the desperation of AIDS orphans in Africa and around the world.

Perhaps these are the postmodern desert mothers and fathers.
Perhaps contemplative spaces can be found wherever people skirt the margins of inclusion.
Perhaps those whom we value least have the most to teach.

communal relationships,
humility, and

apatheia, defined as

“a mature mindfulness,
a grounded sensitivity, and
a keen attention to one’s inner world as well as to
the world in which one has journeyed.”

listening to the silence coming from within.

During these times, we realize that

CONTEMPLATION is a destination as well as a practice.
The monastics knew this and Valued both.


Daily Reflections Quotes

To be fashionable and to seem better than I really am is a spiritual illness.

To recognize and to admit my weaknesses is the beginning of good spiritual health.

It is a sign of spiritual health to be able to ask God every day to enlighten me, to recognize His will, and to have the strength to execute it.

My spiritual health is excellent when I realize that the better I get, the more I discover how much help I need from others.”

Alcoholics Anonymous, Daily Reflections: A Book of Reflections by A.A. Members for A.A. Members

My thoughts and actions can propel me toward growth or turn me down the road to old habits and to booze

Sometimes turning points are beginnings, as when I decide to start praising, instead of condemning someone.Or when I begin to ask for help instead of going it alone.

At other times turning points are endings, such as when I see clearly the need to stop festering resentments or crippling self-seeking.

Many shortcomings tempt me daily; therefore, I also have daily opportunities to become aware of them.

In one form or another, many of my character defects appear daily:

  • self-condemnation,

  • anger,

  • running away,

  • being prideful,

  • wanting to get even, or

  • acting out of grandiosity.

Attempting half measures to eliminate these defects merely paralyzes my efforts to change.

It is only when I ask God for help, with complete abandon, that I become willing—and able—to change.”

― Alcoholics Anonymous, Daily Reflections: A Book of Reflections by A.A. Members for A.A. Members

I just have to ask whether acceptance—or change—is required.”
― AA World Services Inc., Daily Reflections: A Book of Reflections by A.A. Members for A.A. Members

Impatience with other people is one of my principal failings.

if I could look down on these events from God’s point of view,

I might better control my feelings and behavior.

I tried it and when I encountered the next slow driver, I levitated and looked down on the other car and upon myself.

I saw an elderly couple driving along, happily chatting about their grandchildren. They were followed by me—bug-eyed and red of face—who had no time schedule to meet anyway.
I looked so silly that I dropped back into reality and slowed down.

Seeing things from God’s angle of vision can be very relaxing.”

― Alcoholics Anonymous, Daily Reflections: A Book of Reflections by A.A. Members for A.A. Members

Hannah Arendt quotes

Hannah Arendt Jewish-American political theorist

In politics, love is a stranger, and when it intrudes upon it nothing is being achieved except hypocrisy. All the characteristics you stress in the Negro people: their beauty, their capacity for joy, their warmth, and their humanity, are well-known characteristics of all oppressed people. They grow out of suffering and they are the proudest possession of all pariahs. Unfortunately, they have never survived the hour of liberation by even five minutes. Hatred and love belong together, and they are both destructive; you can afford them only in private and, as a people, only so long as you are not free.
-Letter to James Baldwin (21 November 1962).

Man cannot be free if he does not know that he is subject to necessity, because his freedom is always won in his never wholly successful attempts to liberate himself from necessity.

In an ever-changing, incomprehensible world the masses had reached the point where they would, at the same time, believe everything and nothing, think that everything was possible and that nothing was true. […] under such conditions, one could make people believe the most fantastic statements one day, and trust that if the next day they were given irrefutable proof of their falsehood, they would take refuge in cynicism; instead of deserting the leaders who had lied to them, they would protest that they had known all along that the statement was a lie and would admire the leaders for their superior tactical cleverness.
The totalitarian attempt at global conquest and total domination has been the destructive way out of all impasses. Its victory may coincide with the destruction of humanity; wherever it has ruled, it has begun to destroy the essence of man.

if it is true that in the final stages of totalitarianism an absolute evil appears (absolute because it can no longer be deduced from humanly comprehensible motives), it is also true that without it we might never have known the truly radical nature of Evil.

aloofness without policy does not imply even the minimum concern of the oppressor for the oppressed.

Teresa of Ávila > Quotes

Teresa of Ávila > Quotes

The feeling remains that God is on the journey, too.

The feeling remains that God is on the journey, too.

To have courage for whatever comes in life – everything lies in that.

For prayer is nothing

else than being on terms

of friendship with God.

Let nothing perturb you, nothing frighten you. All things pass. God does not change. Patience achieves everything.”

May today there be peace within.
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith. May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.
May you be content knowing you are a child of God.
Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.
It is there for each and every one of us."

“The closer one approaches to God, the simpler one becomes.”

“Reflect upon the providence and wisdom of God in all created things and praise Him in them all.”

“Truth suffers, but never dies.” In light of everyday trials, and even in light of deep distress, we can find peace in the resiliance of truth and goodness.

"In this distress, — for then I had never had a single vision, — these Thy words alone were enough to remove it, and give me perfect peace: 'Be not afraid, my daughter: it is I; and I will not abandon thee. Fear not.'"

“Pain is never permanent.”

“Christ has no body now, but yours. No hands, no feet on earth, but yours. Yours are the eyes through which Christ looks compassion into the world.Yours are the feet with which Christ walks to do good. Yours are the hands with which Christ blesses the world.”

“Accustom yourself continually to make many acts of love, for they enkindle and melt the soul.”

You pay God a compliment by asking great things of Him.”
Sometimes we may feel like we will never see peace in the world. We must persevere in prayer for peace. Nothing is impossible with God.

it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

Some good advice? Some thing one can DO! something to keep one’s soul surviving instead of being murdered. Good options…alternatives to giving in to dispare:

  • I’m a-goin’ back out ‘fore the rain starts a-fallin’

  • I’ll walk to the depths of the deepest black forest, (Where the people are many and their hands are all empty, Where the pellets of poison are flooding their waters, Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison, Where the executioner’s face is always well-hidden, Where hunger is ugly, where souls are forgotten, Where black is the color, where none is the number)

    • And I’ll tell it and

    • think it and

speak it and breathe it

  • And reflect it from the mountain so all souls can see it

  • Then I’ll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin’

  • But I’ll know my song well before I start singin’

I’m 67 now. I’ve lived hard and i sense that i don’t have much time left. Truth, justice and love seem to be real things to me. I think the most important thing for me right now is to be kind and fair. However that shapes the life i have left i’ll see how that goes. So be it!

Leonard Cohen/ James A. Baldwin Quotes

There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in

What is most original in a man’s nature is often that which is most desperate

In dreams the truth is learned that all good works are done in the absence of a caress

Children show scars like medals

Perceived or not, there is a Covenant, beyond the constitution, beyond sovereign guarantee, beyond the nation’s sweetest dreams of itself.

What is the appropriate behavior for a man or a woman in the midst of this world, where each person is clinging to his piece of debris? What’s the proper salutation between people as they pass each other in this flood?

Prayer is translation. A man translates himself into a child asking for all there is in a language he has barely mastered

He thought of desert stretches so huge no Chosen People could cross them. He counted grains of sand like sheep and knew his job would last forever. He thought of aeroplane views of wheatlands so high he couldn’t see which way the wind was bending the stalks. Arctic territories and sled-track distances.Miles he would never cover because he could never abandon this bed.

The ages of seven to eleven is a huge chunk of life, full of dulling and forgetting. It is fabled that we slowly lose the gift of speech with animals, that birds no longer visit our windowsills to converse. As our eyes grow accustomed to sight they armour themselves against wonder.

I am an old scholar, better-looking now than when I was young. That’s what sitting on your ass does to your face.

woman watches her body uneasily, as though it were an unreliable ally in the battle for love.

Subversion is only disagreeable when it manifests in political or social activity. In what we call art, it’s one of the most desirable characteristics of a piece of work. .

Fires can’t be made with dead embers, nor can enthusiasm be stirred by spiritless men. Enthusiasm in our daily work lightens effort … turns even labor into pleasant tasks.” – James A. Baldwin quotes from …