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The Underlying Mystery Is Always Present

If we are to come to believe that a Power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity, then we will come to that belief by developing the capacity for a simple, clear, and uncluttered presence. Those who can be present with head, heart, and body at the same time will always encounter The Presence, whether they call it God or not. For the most part, those skills are learned by letting life come at us on its own terms, and not resisting the wonderful underlying Mystery that is everywhere, all the time, and offered to us too.

—from the book Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps by Richard Rohr, OFM

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Healing Past Hurts

To keep our bodies less defended, to live in our body right now, to be present to others in a cellular way, is also the work of healing of past hurts and the many memories that seem to store themselves in the body. The body seems to never stop offering its messages; but fortunately, the body never lies, even though the mind will deceive you constantly. Zen practitioners tend to be well-trained in seeing this. It is very telling that Jesus usually physically touched people when he healed them; he knew where the memory and hurt was lodged, and it was in the body itself.

—from the book Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps by Richard Rohr, OFM

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The Soul Desires, Loves, and Lets Go

An ego response is always an inadequate or even wrong response to the moment. It will not deepen or broaden life, love, or inner laughter. Your ego self is always attached to mere externals, since it has no inner substance itself. The ego defines itself by its attachments and revulsions. The soul does not attach nor does it hate; it desires and loves and lets go. Please think about that, it can change your very notion of religion.

—from the book Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps by Richard Rohr, OFM

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God Desires Our Happiness

How helpful it is to see sin, like addiction, as a disease, a very destructive disease, instead of merely something that was culpable, punishable, or “made God unhappy.” If sin indeed made God unhappy, it was because God desires nothing more than our happiness, and wills the healing of our disease. The healing ministry of Jesus should have made that crystal clear; healing was about all that he did, with much of his teaching illustrating the healings—and vice versa.

—from the book Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps by Richard Rohr, OFM

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Success Isn't Everything

I cannot pretend to understand God, but this is what I see: People who have moved from seeming success to seeming success seldom understand success at all, except a very limited version of their own. People who fail to do it right, by even their own definition of right, are those who often break through to enlightenment and compassion.

—from the book Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps by Richard Rohr, OFM

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The Genius of the Twelve Steps

The absolute genius of the Twelve Steps is that it refuses to bless and reward what looks like any moral worthiness game or mere heroic willpower. It spotted the counterfeit and “drags it publicly behind it in a triumphal parade” (Colossians 2:15). With Gospel brilliance and insight, A.A. says that the starting point and, in fact, the continuing point, is not any kind of worthiness at all but in fact unworthiness! (“I am an alcoholic!”) Suddenly religion loses all capacity for elitism and is democratic to the bone. This is what Jesus affirmed in prostitutes, drunkards, and tax collectors, and what Paul praised when he said, “It is when I am weak that I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).

—from the book Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps by Richard Rohr, OFM

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Love Responds to Love

We have been graced for a truly sweet surrender, if we can radically accept being radically accepted—for nothing! “Or grace would not be grace at all”! (Romans 11:6). As my father, St. Francis, put it, when the heart is pure, “Love responds to Love alone” and has little to do with duty, obligation, requirement, or heroic anything. It is easy to surrender when you know that nothing but Love and Mercy is on the other side.

—from the book Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps by Richard Rohr, OFM

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