Richard Rohr

I first heard Richard at a weekend in Termonbacca Monastery in Derry, Ireland in (I believe) 1998 – and knew straight away that here was someone who ‘heard’ the Gospels in a way I wanted to connect to ‘in depth’.

I came home with a signed copy of ‘Jesus’s Plan for a New World‘ – which named for me for the first time the anthropologist René Girard. Connecting that name with a new look at the roots of all violence, Richard set my course of study thereafter and gave me the lens through which I still see the past and the present – and try to discern the likely future.

Richard’s patient explanation of the difference between ‘dualistic’ thinking – the compulsive making of distinctions – and ‘unitive’ contemplation was exactly the right complement to Girardian analysis – and his account of the contemplative Christian tradition also helped me to find the historical counterweight to the oppressive mistakes of Christendom. That led me back to prayer eventually – when all other resources failed. I was ready for ‘the second stage of life’, and for the full implications of St Paul’s distinction between love and knowledge, and his preference for the first.

Whenever I become appalled and discouraged by yet another proof of the lunacy, self-righteousness and corruption of so much that has travelled under the name of Christianity – and especially of Catholicism – I remind myself of Richard and of the contemplative tradition that he restores daily in his emailed reflections. These are never a repudiation of the Creed, but always a reminder of the depth of meaning that underlies it. From long experience I know also I am just one among many whose faith has been rescued in the same way.

If were to expand on that where would I stop? Far better to let everyone who comes here to read or listen to Richard himself, to discover him as helper and guide. His Centre for Action and Contemplation is still at this date providing a daily email ‘portal’ to a way of being and of thinking that is also the pathway to our true selves. The spring of clear water to which he leads us is the same one that healed the ‘ruined life’ of the Samaritan Woman.

Sean O’Conaill
3rd December 2021

Views: 196