Commenting on the recent events in the Vatican, Catholic priest Richard
Rohr, OFM writes:
The world’s response to the Papal events of the last month, either favorable or even antagonistic, made something very clear to me. There will always be a need for religion, and there will always be a large percentage of people who like religion…It creates the container, keeps the edges hot, offers the invitation and the inviting formulas, creates satisfying rituals, and boundary setting commandment. It lures many people onto an
initial spiritual path. It is very good and even necessary ˜ as far as it goes.
But after 35 years as a priest, I am convinced that most people stop right there. They confuse the maintenance of this container with the contents themselves. They confuse the rituals with the reality that they point to…
I heard a very telling quote recently from the Dalai Lama. When asked by a young person how he could begin a spiritual life, he answered him in a most honest and foreboding way. He apparently said, “If you can possibly avoid a spiritual path, by all means do so! It will take your whole life away.” He got it! I believe that most religion, however, is an attempt to feel spiritual and superior in a very measured and culturally
correct way, largely by emphasizing one or two mandates or one or two rituals. This cleverly allows us to avoid discovering and surrendering our “whole life”. No wonder religion is so popular. No wonder piety sells. It is a great bargain. Join, attend, perform, obey here and there and you can basically live your life unchanged…
The question for me is how much of your life do you want to give to maintaining, supporting, and cheering the container, and when do you get on to finding your real life and giving it away?