[We are pleased to welcome guest blogger and St. Anthony Messenger Press author Fr. Richard Rohr to our blog! This is his first post.]
Several years ago, I wrote Preparing for Christmas With Richard Rohr: Daily Reflections for Advent, and after publication, it soon became apparent that people desired a similar resource for Lent. I had written very few Lenten meditations, so I was excited and pleased to try to fill that strange gap and provide daily reflections for Lent. I am happy about the initial response to my latest book, Wondrous Encounters: Scripture for Lent, with its companion free online study guide.
To write Wondrous Encounters, I committed my Lenten hermitage in Arizona last year to the project. It was a graced time, when my writing and inspiration flowed out with joy, ease, and conviction. I would write daily, and after tweaking the reflections, send them in bunches by email to my editor at St. Anthony Messenger Press. Just as I spent forty days in hermitage one Lent, I hope Wondrous Encounters can be a bit of a 40-day and “worldly” hermitage for those of you who have jobs, children, and mortgage payments, and maybe are not able to spend 24/7 in hermitage for seven weeks.
As I mention in the book’s introduction, my hope with these reflections is not just to give you my personal read on the daily Scripture of Lent, the core of a homily I might give on that day, but actually to provide a model and template for how you could well interpret Scripture yourself and yet include the fruit of much modern and faith-filled scholarship and prayer over the text.
Wondrous Encounters represents most of the major Scriptural themes I want to address, which I am quite happy about. The result is what I think could be an engaging Scripture course on how to use the texts during Lent or otherwise. Also in most cases, I was able to easily connect the Hebrew Scripture with the Christian, so the book ends up being what I hope is strong theology in making each point, along with inspiration.
If my “tease” leads you to read the two Scriptures of the day for yourself, that would be my hope and desire. Then any encounter this Lent is between you and a gracious God, who seems to want nothing more!
For those of you who do not have a daily homilist to hear, or a Eucharist to attend, I hope this small book can be its own kind of sacred encounter each day, and a kind of “self-help spirituality.” In these later years, I now wonder if there is any other kind of spirituality than self-help spirituality? Knowing if you register your desire, God will always rush to “overfill” your order!
If anything I have written in Wondrous Encounters shakes or threatens your faith, then either I have failed or you are reading me incorrectly. I wrote it only to build up hope, understanding, and desire in a surely dark time.
I invite you to join me this Lent in a wondrous encounter with Scripture. Blessings to you this Lent!
Franciscan priest Richard Rohr is founding director of the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He considers the proclamation of the gospel to be his primary call, and some related themes he addresses include eco-spirituality, Scripture as liberation, non-dual thought, the integration of action and contemplation, peace and justice issues, and male spirituality. Author of numerous books, including Things Hidden: Scripture as Spiritualityand Preparing for Christmas With Richard Rohr: Daily Meditations for Advent, he gives retreats and lectures internationally. He is a regular contributing writer for Sojourners and Tikkun magazines.