Feeling pretty good today? We should be. You and I are worthy of joy and peace. The insanity of past behaviors, whether addictions or severe character defects, has been conquered by the One we name as Higher Power. Victorious and serene in recovery. That’s a miracle we can take to the bank. It’s ours, undeserved and unmerited. Embrace it and run the marathon of life with it. God wants to love us and live within forever. What could be better?
Our freedom from self and the ravages of “self-will run riot” has been freely given. But that salvation is not without responsibility. I know “pay it forward” is an overused cliché, but it applies. What has been freely given to us needs to be extended to the earth upon which we live and all its life forms. Eastern faith walks extend a greeting of “NAMASTE” to others. It means “I honor the divine in you.” Let’s honor the divine element existing in all of Creation.
……as we read in Matthew, “just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me” (25:40). Our only addition is to suggest that the least of the family members must include, in our time, the other creatures of the earth and even the planet itself. (1)
(Richard Rohr is a friar of the Franciscan order ministering in Albuquerque, New Mexico and founder of Center for Action and Contemplation.)
The Christian season of Lent is a time when we are urged to take time to consider our lives and slow down the world’s hectic pace. It is a time to recognize behaviors and habits which hinder our spiritual growth and then assume an attitude of repentance. As a headstrong young man, the word repentance represented a moral issue (usually sexual) which needed to be adjusted. As a happier, better adjusted old man I define repentance as change. Lord knows I’ve dealt with far too many issues during my lifetime with man’s interpretations concerning morality and righteous living. Change suits me better. I like change.
Metanoeo is the Greek word translated into English as repent as spoken by John the Baptist in Matthew 3:2 – “….Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” The Greek definition of metanoeo is “to think differently, reconsider.” That puts a vastly different connotation in John’s exhortation to the gathering crowds awaiting baptism in the waters. Now, repentance means a change in thinking, reconsidering my worth in God’s world, assuming my place and purpose in God’s creation. It no longer suggests a moral dilemma needing correction in the face of hell and damnation consequences.
Do we need to reconsider or change our attitude and thinking about the world in which we live, the people with whom we share this world, the creatures other than humans, the earth’s resources, other men/women who appear to be different from us in color, creed, nationality?
Probably. Indeed, as John said, “Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” That kingdom is not in the future in some far-away cosmic universe. It’s here and now knocking on the door of our soul. Let’s open the door and live life fully honoring all of creation.