*Alternate* First Reading: Excerpt from Richard Rohr’s Discovering the Right Questions

A key concept for us to ponder is the contrast between the words “discovering” and “having.” A discerning and inquiring spirit will make us discoverers in touch with our hidden unconscious and the deeper truth. A glib “I have the answers” spirit makes us into protectors of clichés. Answers are wonderful when they are true and keep us on the human and spiritual path. But answers are not wonderful when they become something we hold as an ego possession, allowing us to be arrogant, falsely self-assured, and closed-down individuals.  The depth and mystery of God leaves all of us as perpetual searchers and seekers, always novices and beginners.

The ego is formed by contraction; the soul is formed by expansion. The ego pulls into itself by comparing, competing, and separating itself from others: “I am not like that,” it says. The soul, however, does exactly the opposite: “I am that.” It sees itself in God, the other, flowers and trees, animals, and even the enemy: similarity instead of separateness. It participates in the human dilemma instead of placing itself above and beyond all tensions. The long journey of transformation leads us to ask new questions about our own goodness, and where goodness really lies; to recognize our own complicity with evil, and where evil really lies. It is humiliating.

The words of Richard Rohr

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