(presented in Straub Park on Sunday, July 21, in response to Max’s Father’s Day talk, which is forthcoming)
Richard Rohr is a Franciscan friar, author and scholar. He was ordained in 1970 in the Roman Catholic Church and is the founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, NM.
In Rohr’s recent book, Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life, he identifies two segments of life — the first half, in which we “build our container,” and the second, in which we “find the contents” to fill our container.
Rohr’s first half of life has much to do with learning to follow prescribed laws, be they ethical structures, physical laws like gravity, etc. and has everything to do with studying (or worse yet, mimicking) existing traditions.
The second half of our lives then, is when we perfect the art of winnowing, of extracting the grain from the chaff. It’s when we practice the art of spiritual discernment, or separating the essentials from the nonessentials. It is when we find our grace — when we surrender and awaken to spirit. When we realize that we’ve been Spirit all along.
We do a lot of studying, reading and learning in the first half of life, while we’re building that container. But we rarely go back and reinterpret those lessons from a second-half-of-life perspective to see which structures we really need and which we can let go of. It’s quite possible that the scaffolding has been on the building long enough, that the training wheels can be uncoupled from the tires. And when we step into ourselves — getting current in that way — we may find that letting go of those crutches or braces allows for a new range of motion or a new method of feeling or intuition.
We may even find that we no longer need or believe the things that were shown to us as children. Or that our own wisdom may actually contradict some of what we think we know.
It was the apostle Paul who wrote, “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” Continue reading