Father Richard Rohr is a globally recognized ecumenical teacher bearing witness to the universal awakening within Christian mysticism and the Perennial Tradition. He is a Franciscan priest of the New Mexico Province and founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation (CAC) in Albuquerque, N.M. Father Richard's teaching is grounded in the Franciscan alternative orthodoxy — practices of contemplation and lived kenosis (self-emptying), expressing itself in radical compassion, particularly for the socially marginalized.
Father Richard is author of many books and his newest book, The Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation is available for order now at www.thedivinedance.org.
CAC is home to the Rohr Institute where Father Richard is academic dean of the Living School for Action and Contemplation. Drawing upon Christianity’s place within the Perennial Tradition, the mission of the Rohr Institute is to produce compassionate and powerfully learned individuals who will work for positive change in the world based on awareness of our common union with God and all beings.
Posts By This Author
What Sustains Me: Contemplation
Even More Will Be Expected
Understanding the true presence of Christ helps us become elders, not just elderly.
Humbled by Mystery
Beyond 'Certitudes and Order'
The vatican's management problem.
Unless we observe and surrender our small, daily anxieties, we won't recognize the really big fears, in all their disguises, that control our politics, our denominations, our bank accounts, and the world's future.
Beyond Crime & Punishment
Male celibacy isn't the problem here. But for the Catholic Church to achieve a healthy system, things have to change.
Grieving as Sacred Space
editor's note: This article was first published in the January-Febuary 2002 issue, only months after the attacks on September 11, 2001.
"They sat there on the ground beside him for seven days and seven nights. To Job they never spoke a word, so sad a sight he made." —Job 2:13
IN RECENT STUDIES of initiation rites, which seem to have been strategic for human survival in most of human history, I have discovered from Victor Turner the concept of "liminal space." He says that it is very hard to come by in the modern and now post-modern world. We are now too strategic, functional, and hurried to easily seek what the ancients sought above all else. Only pain is now strong enough to lead us into this unique place "where all significant transformation happens."
I suspect America is in a unique liminal space [post-Sept. 11]. Our attitudes are numbed, absolute, and strange. The old constituencies are unpredictable and misshapen. There is something new afoot, not only politically but also somehow archetypally and on the level of the psyche and soul. We are tipping on the balance, and usually God is an opportunist in such situations—waiting at the bottom of the slide.
Let me first explain what I mean by liminal or sacred space (I will use the terms almost interchangeably). "Limina" is the Latin word for threshold, the space betwixt and between. Liminal space, therefore, is a unique spiritual position where human beings hate to be but where the biblical God is always leading them. It is when you have left the "tried and true" but have not yet been able to replace it with anything else. It is when you are finally out of the way. It is when you are in between your old comfort zone and any possible new answer. It is no fun. Think of Israel in the desert, Joseph in the pit, Jonah in the belly, the three Marys tending the tomb.
Boys To Men
Rediscovering rites of passage for our time
A Process of Transformation
A sample North American initiation pattern