Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer

by Richard Rohr

Paperback, 2003




This popular and bestselling book of the renowned Franciscan challenges people to move beyond the comfort of a settled life toward an understanding of themselves that is rooted in their connection to God. Only when they rest in God can they find the certainty and the freedom to become all that they can be. Contemplation has its place at the heart of Christianity, a place that allows people to experience how “everything belongs.”


Crossroad (2003), Edition: Revised and updated edition, 192 pages

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(42 ratings; 4.4)

User reviews

LibraryThing member LivelyLady
Any early Richard Rohr reflection on spiritual growth and letting go. The only thing keeping it from five stars was that it was a bit harder for me to understand that FALLING UPWARD, the first of his books that I read. Maybe I should read them in chronological order!
LibraryThing member nmele
Richard Rohr hovered on the edge of my awareness for some time before I began to read him, so I am still catching up with many of his books. This one is a very insightful discussion of contemplative prayer, and why we need to practice it. Along the way, Fr. Rohr tosses off some gems, like this
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comment on how organized Christianity has prioritized Jesus as King, Priest and Prophet: "I've never seen a church of Jesus the Prophet." I found reading from this book for ten minutes or so was a good set up for contemplation.
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LibraryThing member goosecap
It’s easier to understand, perhaps, that being a contemplative is not about acting out, than it is to see that it’s also not about being polite. Hafiz pulls the chair out from under you, and you fall into God.

I’ve read Richard talk about joy as well as suffering, pairing them, before, but I
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tended to resist much of what he was saying. Obviously for Kant or somebody this is nonsense, even more than for Plato. (Plato I think did gain an obvious (smug) happiness or something from his work, more so than Aristotle.) It’s not quite been that for me. But it’s easy to think, I have suffered before for what’s not worth suffering for; now I shall suffer indeed, and in the end, it will be worth it. With this, I am satisfied.

But joy is an option too. Joy in suffering—exactly this. Like Mother Teresa, who in the midst of her interior suffering was joyful for her sisters, and told only her confessors that she suffered, until eventually she reported only that she suffered, yes, but was really joyful in the midst of it, until she could almost forget the very pain she felt intensely.

Of course, Richard being Richard he tends to go for the Lives of the Poets instead of the Lives of the Saints: the wee lassie cannot lift up the lit book in the loft/the bird is quite beautiful outside by the shed/If Coldplay mated with Celts/Could we make fun of them before Saint Patrick’s Day?

I know, I’m probably contradicting myself…. *dejected* If I don’t finish the book till Christmas you’ll not understand the joke…. *kicks something, with head still down*

Spanish Guy: I don’t always drink beer. But when I do, I figure as long as it’s not Saint Patrick’s Day and the Confederate Irish chieftains aren’t around, what can it hurt. Stay thirsty, my friends.
Hafiz: For God.
Spanish Guy: Hey, use God responsibly. Did marketing clear that?
Hafiz: God is greater than marketing.
Spanish Guy: He’s a terrorist. Guard! Guard!
Irish Guy: The guardian of the peace of the pub here!
Spanish Guy: This guy is an infidel. Let’s get Catholic!
Irish Guy: I’ve seen this on TV! *clubs*
*TV effect*
Hafiz: That’s what happened.
Richard: I can sell nerd books, but I am powerless over television and the military.
Hafiz: A power greater than television can restore us to sanity.
Richard: Much greater than television.
Hafiz: Much, much greater.
Richard: Ok.

…. *later*
Hermes Child: One time I was a magical leprechaun.
Richard: *pats in absent minded way* I’m sure you were a good leprechaun.

…. The intro is necessarily a little weak, but when he starts to get into Not Earning it’s great. I don’t get this, but this is what I need.

…. I think that Richard always starts with his leftist side because he’s a non-Franco Catholic and doesn’t want to scare people, but eventually has to admit that “he”—Left Richard—is full of sh*t and, in a way, simplistic, because a lot of leftists know a lot about the world and oppression and different things, but tend to be problem-creating people anyway, because of unresolved parent issues, like everyone else—or whatever it is that makes the left hand stab the right foot, if you like.

…. Most people are deluded about children because they seem weak and almost desirable, which arouses pity-love and advertising; I understand Jesus wants us to have true wisdom like a good children’s lit author, but I think Richard is still a little Optimistic about the kids being free from mind-delusion. I know it sounds crazy, but I think even animals can have mind-delusion: they’re not plants. I’m pretty sure that children do, just not usually enough to discourse on Jack’s books, but we shouldn’t confuse the two things. I indirectly observe kids at work a lot.

Mother: *trying to get the kid to stand up like someone who knows how to stand up; the kid is crying* It’s ok. Are you scared? Are you scared?
Daughter: I’m finite. It’s not safe.
Mother: *finally getting some feedback* We can talk more about how the human condition frightens you later, honey bun. Right now, please just stand up.

…. The juxtaposition of “civil religion” and “cultural Christianity” is good, as they’re synonymous, yet also basically the liberal and the conservative forms of non-spirituality; “religion is a clean desk”, and “religion is an Enemies List—Leninists lexicographers and leprechauns, oh my!” A lot of people hate the latter so much they’ll opt for the former, but they’re synonymous. I mean, if you’re dying of cancer, and you require external aid, does it really matter if the doctor gives you a sugar pill or another poison?

*an Episcopal priest is trying to write a horror movie*
Episcopalian: I think I understand. Instead of having the ghost, Write, a concordance, maybe he could, Hide, one.
Producer: The better to kill you with, my dear.
—No…. The ghost is too, cold-blooded, for that.
—Great. And so since we’re still alive, we walk away grateful to be alive, even if we can’t order a new desk?
—Hmm. I really could use a new desk….

I don’t have a lot of denominational loyalty.

…. But the reason I hang out with rationalists is [long paragraph, redacted].

And that’s why I’m not a magical leprechaun.

…. I wonder, (of all the useless wonderings), whether I will have “learned” not to pretend that I am in control of “my” life, when it comes time to die.

Then, or the next time I get an anxiety or anger attack, or even right now. But now I am at my leisure, so I delude myself. When I die…. Of course, then I shall be as I am now, but as I really am, but then I hope to Know.

…. He responds to my so-called criticisms, and says a lot that I need more to experience, than anything else.

Nothing I’ve written here is really important.

…. I started with Richard, like, fawning liberal, Richard Rohr! Important Man!, etc etc, Inspector Gadget, you know…. And then I got suspicious of Inspector Gadget, the Superhero, and now I finally understand that I never knew him to begin with, and I begin to see.

…. I guess I know now that the worst thing that can happen to me is something like before, the collapse of the lie I told about myself—the collapse of which was the best thing that ever happened to me. And if I really knew that, I would never be afraid.

…. And if I didn’t lie and wasn’t afraid, I would love.
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