Many of our COCFL prayer groups follow Richard Rohr’s daily column. You can have your own free subscription by following the link below. This article on friendship and Grace is posted by popular request and is followed by a quotation from John O’Donohue.
Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation
From the Center for Action and Contemplation
Week Fifteen Summary and Practice
Friendship and Grace
April 11 – April 16, 2021
What I let God see and accept in me also becomes what I can then see and accept in myself, in my friends, and in everything else! This is “radical grace.”
How joyful you are if you have a friend with whom you may talk as freely as with yourself, to whom you neither fear to confess any fault nor blush at revealing any spiritual progress, to whom you may entrust all the secrets of your heart and confide all your plans. —Aelred of Rievaulx
When Francis felt most alone in the world, most persecuted and misunderstood, it was Clare he would turn to for clarity, wisdom, and a love stripped of sentimentality. —Mirabai Starr
When followers of Jesus walk beside him, he leads them in directions they would rather not go, into neighborhoods they would rather avoid, and to meet other friends of his they might not normally know. —Dana L. Robert
Christian mission begins with friendship—not utilitarian friendship, the religious version of network marketing—but genuine friendship, friendship that translates love for neighbors in general into knowing, appreciating, liking, and enjoying this or that neighbor in particular. —Brian McLaren
I realized that the people I really loved with great abandon and freedom were not just people who loved me, but people who also loved what I loved.
Friendship as Blessing
At its best, human love and friendship are an extension of the divine love and friendship that exist at the heart of the Trinity. It is an overflowing fullness of love and blessing. Irish poet and philosopher John O’Donohue (1956–2008) is a modern teacher on the sacred nature of friendship who explains how this blessing can be shared.
A person should always offer a prayer of graciousness for the love that has awakened in them. When you feel love for your beloved and the beloved’s love for you, now and again you should offer the warmth of your love as a blessing for those who are damaged and unloved. Send that love out into the world to people who are desperate, to those who are starving, to those who are trapped in prison, in hospitals, and into all the brutal terrains of bleak and tormented lives. When you send that love out from the bountifulness of your own love, it reaches other people. This love is the deepest power of prayer.
Prayer is the act and presence of sending this light from the bountifulness of your love to other people to heal, free, and bless them. When there is love in your life, you should share it spiritually with those who are pushed to the very edge of life. . . . In the kingdom of love there is no competition; there is no possessiveness or control. The more love you give away, the more love you will have. . . . Love is the source, center, and destiny of experience.
A Friendship Blessing
May you be blessed with good friends.
May you learn to be a good friend to yourself.
May you be able to journey to that place in your soul where
there is great love, warmth, feeling, and forgiveness.
May this change you.
May it transfigure that which is negative, distant, or cold
May you be brought in to the real passion, kinship, and
affinity of belonging.
May you treasure your friends.
May you be good to them and may you be there for them;
may they bring you all the blessings, challenges, truth,
and light that you need for your journey.
May you never be isolated.
May you always be in the gentle nest of belonging with your
John O’Donohue, Anam Ċara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom (Cliff Street Books: 1997), 35–36
Image credit: Suzanne Szasz, Taking a Close Look at Nature at High Rock Park in Staten Island (detail), 1973, photograph, public domain.
Image inspiration: Friends of all kinds surround and hold us.
News from the CAC
Many of us feel disconnected from truth and justice in these difficult times. Our hearts long to experience God’s love more deeply in ourselves and the world. Join us for a free email series with five specially curated exercises from Every Thing is Sacred delivered to your inbox each morning, designed to help you embrace the deep beauty of God, even amid the uncertainties of life.
The Contemplative Practice of Spiritual Companionship
Often a sacred companion, like a spiritual director, can guide our journey, reflecting back to us God’s presence in our lives and the world. That’s why CAC partners with Spiritual Directors International (SDI), a global learning community connecting seekers with spiritual directors. We invite you to learn more about spiritual companionship and SDI, and also discover contemplative and practical wisdom from teachers like Richard Rohr, Barbara Holmes, Mirabai Starr, Sr. Joan Chittister, Roshi Joan Halifax, and more at their Renaissance 2021 online conference, held April 21-25, 2021.
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A blessing for absence
by John O’Donohue, Us bless the space between Us.
May you know that absence is alive
with hidden presence,
that nothing is ever lost or forgotten.
May the absences in your life
grow full of eternal echo.
May you sense around you the secret
Elsewhere, where the presences
that have left you dwell…
May you be generous in
your embrace of loss.
May the sore well of grief turn into
a seamless flow of presence.
May you be embraced by God
in whom Dawn and Twilight are one-
within the great belonging.