“I try to teach people an entirely new way of knowing the world, a way of knowing that has the power to move them beyond mere ideology and dualistic thinking; we call it contemplation. Mature religion will always lead us to some form of prayer, meditation, or contemplation to balance out our daily calculating mind. Believe me, it is major surgery, and you must practice it for years to begin to rewire your egocentric responses. Contemplation is work, so much so that most give up after their first futile attempts. But the goal is not success at all, only the practice itself. The only people who pray well are those who keep trying to pray.”
“Such seeing—and that is what it is—gives us the capacity to be happy and happily alone, rooted in God, comfortable with paradox and mystery, and largely immune to mass consciousness and its false promises. It is called wisdom seeing, and it is the job of elders to pass this on to the next generation.” – Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation
Over the last few weeks, almost every human on the planet has been impacted in some way by COVID-19. The consequence of this impact is that all of us are experiencing, as Richard Rohr puts it, “an entirely new way of knowing the world.”
Our normal frame of reference, the lens through which we view the world, has changed drastically.
In my experience, these shifts feel just like those of an earthquake. That which you previously knew as normal, secure, even comfortable, is now thrown completely off balance.
The thing is, it is never just a one-time occurrence.
The aftershocks just keep coming.
Getting knocked off balance is disorienting at best, and absolutely terrifying at worst. Yet like all things that present us with a different view of our reality, there is always something to learn and navigate.
At its core, the Holy Week journey, if fully embraced, is the most jarring experience of the human condition. Shouts of Hosanna, followed by shouts of “crucify him;” love displayed in service to another, betrayal to the one who showed such unconditional love; agonizing brutality leading to horrific death, and then ultimate joy in life defeating death; all of this experienced in just one week.
As followers of Jesus, amidst Holy Week or a pandemic, the “new way” that Jesus embodied was the way of prayer. Prayer that deeply grounds us and provides us with a new way of knowing the world and a new way to navigate the seismic shifts of life and our faith journey. Prayer that in the end is manifested in love of God, love of neighbor, love of self.
Pray fervently, friends. Continue to follow the Way of Jesus, the Way of Love, during this Holy Week, this pandemic, our faith journey.