More Than We Dared Hope For
by Richard Rohr
I BELIEVE CONTEMPLATION shows us that nothing inside us is as bad as our hatred and denial of the bad. Hating and denying it only complicates our problems. All of life is grist for the mill. As Paula D'Arcy puts it, "God comes to us disguised as our life."
Everything belongs. God uses everything. There are no dead-ends. There is no wasted energy. Everything is recycled. Sin history and salvation history are two sides of one coin. I believe with all my heart that the Gospel is all about the mystery of forgiveness. When you "get" forgiveness, you get it. We use the phrase "falling in love." I think forgiveness is almost the same thing. It's a mystery we fall into: the mystery is God.
God forgives all things for being imperfect, broken, and poor. Not only Jesus but all the great people who pray that I have met in my life say the same thing. That's the conclusion they come to. The people who know God well -- the mystics, the hermits, those who risk everything to find God -- always meet a lover, not a dictator. God is never found to be an abusive father or a tyrannical mother, but always a lover who is more than we dared hope for. How different than the "account manager" that most people seem to worship.
God is a lover who receives and forgives everything. The Gospel says "you will know the mystery of salvation through the forgiveness of sin." "Fore-given" means being given to beforehand -- before you earned it, were worthy of it, or maybe even asked for it. So forgiveness breaks down the entire world of meritocracy and the notions of deservedness. Our logic of quid pro quo is useless in the realm of the Spirit.
Instead, if we are open to it, we will be led into the realm of mercy and grace -- the unique world of God.
From Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer by Richard Rohr, (New York: Crossroad 1999), pp. 130-131.