Day 39. Richard Rohr, O.F.M.: Being prayer

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Each day of Lent (minus Sundays) we'll bring you words of wisdom from spiritual guides.


39. Richard Rohr, O.F.M.: Being prayer
Prayer is one of those words that needs revisioning. We tend to think of it as something we do, but it is much more something we are. When we live in union we are a prayer, and everything we do becomes conscious, willing, and free...

We still sin, but our sins do not destroy us or allow us to destroy others. So holiness is not a moral issue nearly as much as it is an ontological issue. Not doing but being. To pray is to live consciously inside of God. That's all. Sanctity does not mean being pious or perfect, but doing for God's sake what you used to do for your own sake. That makes all the difference. It is the still point of the turning world and creates a different kind of human being whose center is outside of himself or herself. These are the only people who are really free because they are free from themselves.

When we stop confusing holiness with morality and recognize that it has to do with transformed identity and a new center point, we will have gone a long way toward understanding what is happening in prayer and what the true goal of spirituality actually is. Morality-and transformed and mature responses-will then follow as certainly as night from day. (Radical Grace, July-September 2002)

Rohr is a Franciscan priest and founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Find spiritual advice for Lent from other guides in 40 days to a new you.