Power, Prestige, and Possessions- 11 quotes from Richard Rohr’s book – Eager To Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi

by Mark Votava


1. The three dangerous P’s of power, prestige, and possessions

“The three dangerous and ever-present P’s of power, prestige, and possessions were of no interest to either Francis or Clare…  There was no ‘imitative rivalry’ in either of them, which Rene Girard says is the basis of most human conflict and violence.”

2. Not be destroyed by cynicism

“In Francis, as in Jesus, the turnaround of consciousness was complete: the enemy of the small self becomes the friend of the soul, and he who lost his small self could find his Great Life.  Only such a new person can take on the social illnesses of our time, or any time, and not be destroyed by cynicism.”

3. An utterly shared phenomenon

“God’s life is an utterly shared phenomenon…”

4. Not close to the radical and risky search for God

“Most church life, and even much religious life, has been a belonging system that gave good people a workable self-image, which is a necessary place to start in the first half of one’s life.  But it is not close to the radical and risky, and often dark, search for God and faith that characterizes Francis and so many saints and mystics.” 

5. Much more into exclusion than inclusion

“Up to now we have been much more into exclusion than inclusion…”

6. Honor the very basics of love

“One has to honor the very basics of love itself to get inside of the Real Game, which is why Jesus commanded us to love.  The way you love other humans and the way you love God are almost certainly identical…  How you love and how you allow yourself to be loved by God is how you love in general!…”

7. Being outside the system of power and status

“Francis and Clare made what most would call negative or disadvantage shimmer and shine by their delight in what the rest of us ordinarily oppose, deny, and fear: things like being small, poor, disparaged, being outside the system of power and status, weakness in any form…  They make a loving bow to the very things that defeat, scare, and embitter most of the rest of us.  You might call it ‘dying before you die,’ which is always the secret of the saints, and the heart of any authentic spiritual initiation.” 

8. The non-dual mind

“The great enemy of ordinary daily goodness and joy is not imperfection, but the demand for some supposed perfection.  Please meditate on that.  There seems to be a dark side to almost everything, but only the unitive or non-dual mind can accept this and not panic, but, in fact, grow because of it.”

9. Freedom is always a risk

“Gospel freedom is always a risk, and only the mature can handle it well.”

10. An imitation and love of the humanity of Jesus

“Francis emphasized an imitation and love of the humanity of Jesus, and not just the worshiping of his divinity.  That is a major shift.”

11. The most unfortunate thing about the concept of mysticism

“The most unfortunate thing about the concept of mysticism is that the word itself has become mystified – and relegated to a ‘misty’ and distant realm that implies it is only available to a very few.  For me, the word simply means experiential knowledge of spiritual things, as opposed to book knowledge, secondhand knowledge or even church knowledge.”

What quote strikes you as the most interesting?