Richard Rohr helping me down the spiritual path … A reflection on his book A Lever and a Place to Stand

4 min read

Brian Flagg

by Brian Flagg

A year ago I was in the midst of a 30 day silent retreat at the Jesuit Retreat Center in Los Altos, CA. This week Barbi Urias from Casa Maria is going to do an 8 day silent retreat there.

One year later I’m still feeling like I’m on a path of being transformed, thanks be to God. Almost daily I still feel the love of Jesus I experienced there. I would hope that if anyone came down to Casa Maria and asked, my friends, comrades, and co-workers would say something like, “Oh yeah, he is significantly less worse, less obnoxious than he used to be.”

One thing that has definitely helped is this book by Richard Rohr.

I’ve got to confess that at times I’ve thought of Richard Rohr as kind of a lost in the clouds, comfortable, old white guy.

He is a Franciscan priest who founded the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque in 1987.

Reading this book has been full-blown inspiration, in part because he challenges the hell out of me!

He says this book is about his trying to show “that there is a deep relationship between the inner revolution of prayer and the transformation of social structures and social consciousness.”

One some level this is a manual for spiritual power and revolution, with the activism/social change based in contemplation. This is subversive and radical because it is trying to address the root, the underlying place where illusion and ego are generated.

Rohr’s experience is that activists tend to be in their heads, not their hearts and have big egos and opinions they can’t let go of. “I met so many wonderful social activists. I would agree with their conclusions and with their politics, but to be honest I was often disappointed in their actual energy, sometimes their goals and often their motivation. They seemed to be alienated, angry, and negative as the people on the other side of the argument, and I know that wasn’t going to get us anywhere.”

That is why he and others formed the Center to teach contemplative prayer to people working for social change.

He really nailed me when he talked about how “being driven” or working too hard and too intense lead to what has been called “the tyranny of the urgent,” where things are not done contemplatively or peacefully from within. Too much good work can become a violence to yourself and to those around you.

He also develops the notion that instead of trying to drive people into social change, a better approach might be to encounter Jesus and the process of being transformed can draw people more gently and effectively into change. You start to draw them instead of drive them.

At the same time, he heavily critiques capitalism, our church becoming the Church of the Empire after the year 300 and how we do lots of charity and how that charity has largely become an avoidance of a basic concern for justice.

Barbi is taking this book with her on her 8 day silent retreat. May it light a fire within her and anyone else who dares to check it out.



por Brian Flagg

Un año atrás participe en un retiro de 30 días sin hablar en el Jesuit Retreat Center en San Francisco. Esta semana Barbi Urias de Casa Maria va a un retiro de 8 días sin hablar.

Un año después, todavía siento el amor de Jesus que experimenté esos 30 días. Todavía me siento lleno del Espíritu Santo, gracias a Dios. Pienso que mis comaradas, amigos, y los trabajadores de Casa Maria dirían “Si, el es much menos enfadoso que antes.”

Leyendo un libro del sacerdote Franciscan Richard Rohr me ha ayudado much en mis esfuerzos de cambiar a un hombre mas espiritual.

¡Este sacerdote me desafia mucho en este libro a un cambio positivo!

El tema mas importante en este libro es que hay una relación profunda entra la oración contemplativa y el cambio de nuestra sociedad enferma.

El dice que la revolución necesita estar basada en la oración profunda de las personas.

Hey un nivel de poder espiritual y revolución de cambio social en este libro; basado en la contemplación.

La experiencia de Padre Rohr es que el activismo esta en la cabeza, no en el corazón y tiene ego y opiniones que no se puedan dejar ir. El dice, “He conocido muchos activistas sociales muy buenos. Y he estado de acuerdo con sus conclusiones y políticas; pero para ser honesto muy a menudo estaba en desacuerdo con su energía negativa, que no nos llevaba a ningún lado.

Es por esto que Padre Rohr y otros fundaron este centro para enseñar la oración contemplativa a la gente que trabajada por un cambio social.

Me llegó much cuando él hablo acerca de como trabajar muy duro y intenso a lo que se llamaba, “la urgencia de la tiranía,” donde las cosas se hacen contemplativa y pacíficamente. A veces trabajar por un cambio positivo puede ser violento para uno mismo y para los que no rodean.

Él desarrollo un sistema donde en lugar de insitar a la gente a un cambio social, un mejor enfoque era el encuentro con Jesus y el proceso de ser transformado ayuda a las personas a ser mas amables y efectivas en el cambio en lugar de insitarlos.

Barbi se llevo este libro de Padre Rohr al retiro de silencio de 8 dias. Que la llama dentro de ella se encienda y en cualquier persona que lo lea.

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