Richard Rohr – Naked Before God

God is giving you the broadest and deepest permission you can receive: to give back to God who you really are—warts and all. And your willingness to offer that, knowing it will be received, brings you to tears on at least two levels. First for your own incapacity—I can’t do it! Lord, have mercy on me. That’s the only honest way to begin to pray: I don’t know how to pray!

Then there’s a second level of tears, which is total gratitude. I hope you’ve had that moment from one beloved partner or friend: when you know you’ve just done a really stupid thing, but they don’t judge you and they don’t dismiss you. They just look at you with soft eyes and receive you. It’s the tears of immense release and joy and happiness—that there’s a heart out there big enough to receive what I can’t receive, to forgive what I can’t forgive. That is what makes you fall in love with God. If you’re on the spiritual journey, that will happen many times.

It’s the experience of a lover who sees you in your nakedness, when you don’t have the perfect body you had when you were eighteen, when you’re still not patient even though you’ve been praying for it for years, and they love you anyway! They receive you anyway and they embrace you anyway. That’s the kind of love that we all want, that we all wait for, that we all need. Although we want it from one another and we get it occasionally, we find there is only One who can be relied upon to always receive us and mirror us perfectly as we are—without demanding changes of us.

My great sadness is that so many Christians don’t know that. They’re afraid to be naked before God, because what they expect from God is what they’ve learned to expect from other people, which is judgment and analysis. I’ll take God’s judgment any day over the judgment of other people. Really! Those who pray know that.

How could you not fall in love with Someone who always outdoes you in generosity and receptivity?

Adapted from Following the Mystics Through the Narrow Gate
. . . Seeing God in All Things
, disc 4 (CD, DVD, MP3 download)

Gateway to Silence:
The gaze of God receives me exactly as I am.

Author: DanutM

Anglican theologian. Former Director for Faith and Development Middle East and Eastern Europe Region of World Vision International

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