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Richard Rohr: Breathing Under Water, Day 4

Our guest blogger today is Richard Rohr, author of Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps as well as its Companion Journal. Breathing Lessons: O Lord, you have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away. You search out my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. Read Psalm 139 slowly and prayerfully. Write about your feelings at being known so intimately by God. Ongoing shadow boxing is absolutely necessary because we all have a well-denied shadow self. We all have that which we cannot see, will not see, dare not see. It would destroy our public and personal self-image.
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Richard Rohr: Breathing Under Water, Day 3

Our guest blogger today is Richard Rohr, author of Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps as well as its Companion Journal. Prayers of petition are perhaps our most common prayer from the desperate plea of “Help!” to prayer of intercession for those we love and those who are in grave need. Write about times when you have prayed for someone or something. How was that prayer answered?
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Richard Rohr: Breathing Under Water, Day 2

Our guest blogger today is Richard Rohr, author of Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps as well as its Companion Journal. Breathing Lessons: Think about your breathing. Inhale. Exhale. Hold your breath for 20 seconds. Breathe deeply. Feel yourself relax. Think about an experience of being under water and not being able to breathe. By definition, you can never see or handle what you are addicted to. It is always “hidden” and disguised as something else. As Jesus did with the demon at Gerasa, someone must say, “What is your name?” (Luke 8:30).
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Richard Rohr: Breathing Under Water, Day 1

Our guest blogger today is Richard Rohr, author of Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps as well as its Companion Journal. To mourn for one is to mourn for all. To mourn with all is to fully participate at the very foundation of Being Itself. For some reason, which I am yet to understand, beauty hurts. Suffering opens the channel through which all of Life flows and by which all creation breathes, and I still do not know why. Yet it is somehow beautiful, even if it is a sad and tragic beauty.
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The Meaning of Life

The wonderful old Baltimore Catechism tells us that we were made to know and love God, to serve him in this life, and to be happy with him forever in the next. The world’s obsession with material goods and self-centered fulfillment aside, God’s plan is a radical one full of meaning and glory. But that doesn’t really tell us why he made us in the first place. Was he lonely? Was he bored? Did he feel incomplete? When we look at a night sky or at some of the many exquisite photos of nebulas, solar systems, and planets that technology so wondrously reveals to us, we might imagine that God was merely amusing himself when he called each star into existence (see Psalm 33:6); that he felt the need to stretch his creative muscles when he splashed his dazzling creations across the newborn universe; that in the infinite expanse of his solitude he needed something new and exciting to play with, so he conceived a vast multitude of living creatures in various shapes and sizes, culminating in humanity.
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Having Faith When It’s Not Easy

I love going on retreats. I went on my first significant religious retreat as a junior in high school, and since then, I’ve attended at least one or two retreats per year. I love just being able to remove myself from all the worries of everyday life to focus entirely on my relationship with God, and I also love giving back to these retreats by helping lead them. With every retreat I’ve gone on, though, I’ve always had to deal with this question: How do I keep the spiritual lessons I learned on the retreat once I get back to the real world?
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The View from Mt. Nebo

Franciscan Father Fergus Clarke greets our small group at his community’s residence on Mt. Nebo, a site sacred to three major religions and more than half the earth’s population. He’s dressed in his brown robe, some shockingly cool-looking sunglasses, and a radiant smile. “Welcome to Mt. Nebo,” he says in an Irish lilt that evokes green valleys while we look at miles of dry and desert vistas. “Would you like to see our turtles?”
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Faith and Friendship

Wasn’t the papal visit amazing? You’ll have a chance to revisit it in the December issue of St. Anthony Messenger, which we’re working on now. Our crew was scrambling to produce the official commemorative edition about the visit, partnering with our bishops and the Vatican. That book was a project like no other for us. It will come out October 30, and it’s beautiful. No rest yet, though! Fifty years ago, Vatican II was coming to a close. Our younger readers might take for granted how dramatically the Church changed back then: a complete renewal of the liturgy, with altars facing the congregation, celebrants learning how better to preach (an unfinished project, says the pope), a refocusing of the Church’s mission onto the troubles of the world.
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Pope Francis's Winning Smile

That smile. Oh, that smile. When Pope Francis exited the plane at Joint Base Andrews, it was there. Those present for the welcome erupted. How could you not? His smile—and his wit—have drawn people to him, as well as back to the Church. He seems to be able to spread his message without seeming condescending or authoritarian. But it is a message which he is not afraid to preach. It is a message he most certainly will be sharing during this visit. This morning he is at the White House, tomorrow he is at Congress. Later this week, he will be at the UN, along with that smile.
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The Hottest Ticket in Town

Here in DC, everyone is talking about Pope Francis—and he hasn't even arrived yet. Even us journalists are getting excited about this leg of the trip. So excited, that trying to get credentials to the events are hard to come by. Reporters are begging and pleading to whoever they can to grab that golden ticket—myself included. With nearly 8,000 members of the media covering this visit, just like everyone else, we would like even a glimpse of this immensely popular pontiff.
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