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Every Thing Is Sacred: 40 Practices and Reflections on the Universal Christ

Every Thing Is Sacred: 40 Practices and Reflections on the Universal Christ

by Richard Rohr, Patrick Boland
Every Thing Is Sacred: 40 Practices and Reflections on the Universal Christ

Every Thing Is Sacred: 40 Practices and Reflections on the Universal Christ

by Richard Rohr, Patrick Boland


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Notes From Your Bookseller

Richard Rohr's transformational bestseller Universal Christ introduced us to the concept of Christ as a part of all things from the beginning. His follow-up Every Thing is Sacred guides the reader through a deeper understanding of Jesus as "Christ" and the love that is at the center of all.

In this companion to The Universal Christ, Richard Rohr and Patrick Boland offer forty reflections and practices exploring what it means to live “in Christ.”

In his landmark book The Universal Christ, Richard Rohr articulated a transformative view of what it means to recognize Jesus as “Christ”—as a portrait of God’s constant, unfolding work in the world. Now, in partnership with Patrick Boland, a psychotherapist and member of Rohr’s Center for Action and Contemplation community, he invites readers to engage with the themes of the book through spiritual practice.

Each reflection in this book draws on a key passage of The Universal Christ, paired with prayers, journal prompts, and embodied exercises that invite readers into a more personal encounter with the truth that the presence and compassion of the Christ are in every thing.

Whether read daily for the season of Lent or explored over the course of a year, Every Thing Is Sacred is a hope-filled journey into the love at the heart of all things.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780593238783
Publisher: The Crown Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/16/2021
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 173,048
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.50(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Richard Rohr is a globally recognized ecumenical teacher whose work is grounded in Christian mysticism, practices of contemplation and self-emptying, and compassion for the marginalized. He is a Franciscan priest of the New Mexico province and founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, where he also serves as academic dean of the Living School for Action and Contemplation. Fr. Richard is the author of many books, including the bestsellers Falling Upward, The Naked Now, and, most recently, The Universal Christ. The Center publishes Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditations, free reflections emailed to hundreds of thousands of subscribers around the world.

Patrick Boland is a consultant to the Center for Action and Contemplation who works directly with Richard Rohr on a number of projects, including the study guides to The Universal Christ, CAC’s Falling Upward online courses, and CAC’s conference workshops. He lives near Dublin, Ireland, and is a psychotherapist and executive coach with an emphasis on team dynamics and integrated spirituality. Boland’s background is in education, theology, retreat leading, and leadership consulting.

Read an Excerpt

Reflection 1

The Four Worldviews

Your worldview is not what you look at. It is what you look out from or look through. (page 241)

During our formative years, each of us has unique experiences that shape not only what we see in the world around us but also how we see reality. Our parents, our friends, our religious community, and our society all help to provide boundaries so that we can grow, develop, and make sense of our world. But, over time, as we mature and experience life in new ways, our original worldview is challenged. This can be painful, and if we’ve overidentified with our religious community and local cultural experiences, we can feel trapped: If I continue to see the world through these lenses, I’ll stagnate; but if I move on, I’ll feel like I’m leaving my close friends, my church community, or even my family for good. This binary “in-or-out” approach is common the first time our worldview is challenged.

As we begin to reflect on Fr. Richard’s book The Universal Christ, it’s important to take some time to explore the lenses that we use to perceive reality. Neuroscientific research shows us that we simply do not have the processing capacity, through our five senses and our brain, to take in all the data that is available to us each moment of our day. So we reduce our moment-by-moment experiences to a manageable level. For example, we avoid thinking about how some of our economic pursuits are damaging our environment, or we generalize that certain politicians are always wrong, to the point where we can’t hear them when they say something right. When groups agree upon these pictures of reality, very powerful worldviews ensue.

In The Universal Christ, Fr. Richard outlines the four worldviews through which we engage with life, faith, and spirituality at different points in our journeys. “There are good things about all four of them,” he wrote, “and none of them is completely wrong or completely right, but one of them is by far the most helpful” (page 242):

1. “Those who hold the material worldview believe that the outer, visible universe is the ultimate and ‘real’ world. People of this worldview have given us science, engineering, medicine, and much of what we now call ‘civilization.’ . . . A material worldview tends to create highly consumer-oriented and competitive cultures, which are often preoccupied with scarcity, since material goods are always limited” (page 242).

2. “The spiritual worldview characterizes many forms of religion and some idealistic philosophies that recognize the primacy and finality of spirit, consciousness, the invisible world behind all manifestations. . . . But taken too far, it can become ethereal and disembodied, disregarding ordinary human needs and denying the need for good psychology, anthropology, or societal issues of peace and justice. The spiritual worldview, taken too seriously, has little concern for the earth, the neighbor, or justice, because it considers this world largely as an illusion” (page 242).

3. “Those holding . . . the priestly worldview are generally sophisticated, trained, and experienced people that feel their job is to help us put matter and Spirit together. They are the holders of the law, the scriptures, and the rituals; they include gurus, ministers, therapists, and sacred communities. People of the priestly worldview help us make good connections that are not always obvious between the material and spiritual worlds. . . . This view assumes that the two worlds are actually separate and need someone to bind them back together. . . . It describes what most of us think of as organized religion and much of the self-help world” (pages 242–43).

4. “The incarnational worldview [is one] in which matter and Spirit are understood to have never been separate. Matter and Spirit reveal and manifest each other. This view relies more on awakening than joining, more on seeing than obeying, more on growth in consciousness and love than on clergy, experts, morality, scriptures, or rituals. The code word I am using in this entire book for this worldview is simply ‘Christ.’ . . . In Christian history, we see the incarnational worldview most strongly in the early Eastern Fathers, Celtic spirituality, many mystics who combined prayer with intense social involvement, Franciscanism in general, many nature mystics, and contemporary eco-spirituality” (page 243).

Over time, as we embrace the external changes that life brings, we need to make room for and pay attention to internal changes we experience. We let go of some aspects of one worldview and include other aspects from a different worldview. We slowly learn to hold the tension of embracing different worldviews at the same time.

Reflective Exercises

Spend some time reflecting on your own experiences of the four worldviews and the lenses through which you see reality today.

1. In a journal or on the page that follows, write out or circle the words that describe the aspects of each worldview with which you have resonated in the past.


• The outer, visible universe is the ultimate “real” world

• Gives us: science, engineering, medicine

• Consumer-oriented, competitive


• The “real” world is found in our inner, spiritual selves and the invisible world

• Gives us: some psychology, esoteric New Age, reality of spirit world

• Can be disembodied, denies the need to act on social justice issues or care for the earth


• The “real” world is found in structured practices and sophisticated rituals that bring matter and spirit together

• Gives us: gurus, ministers, sacred communities, self-help, organized religion

• Assumes a separation between matter and spirit


• The “real” world connects our inner lives with all that is visible and invisible, with others, and with the whole cosmos

• Gives us: awakening, ways of seeing, growth in consciousness and love more than clergy, experts, morality, scriptures, or ritual

• Amalgamates all three other worldviews, engages in everything from eco-spirituality to social involvement, “Christ”

2. Time Line of Worldviews in Your Life

Plot which of the four worldviews most resonated with you at various points in your life. The time line begins with your first memory and ends at your current age. You may find it helpful to write down a few words that summarize what was going on in your life at each of these stages.

Patrick’s Time Line

0 5 12 16 26 30 Today


• Birth–age 5: Incarnational—Safe, loving upbringing

• Ages 5–12: Priestly—First church experiences

• Ages 12–16: Material—Teenager, driven

• Ages 16–26: Spiritual—Depression, seeking meaning, reading Bible

• Ages 26–30: Spiritual + Incarnational—Relational loss and career disappointment, reordering of spiritual and life priorities

• Age 30—today: Incarnational—Embracing paradox, more comfortable with not knowing

Your Time Line

0 Today


3. Notice the transition points on your time line. What experiences precipitated your moving from one worldview toward another? Journal as much detail as you can remember.

4. Reread the passage on the incarnational worldview, with Fr. Richard’s note that “the code word I am using in this entire book for this worldview is simply ‘Christ.’ ” Then journal your reflections on what it would be like to predominantly experience life from within this worldview.

Table of Contents

Introduction Richard Rohr xi

How to Use This Book by Patrick Boland xv

Reflection 1 The Four Worldviews 3

Reflection 2 The Pattern of Spiritual Transformation: Part I 11

Reflection 3 The Pattern of Spiritual Transformation: Part II 17

Reflection 4 Christ Is Everywhere 23

Reflection 5 Contemplation 29

Reflection 6 The First Incarnation 35

Reflection 7 Personal and Universal: The Second Incarnation 41

Reflection 8 Becoming 47

Reflection 9 The Path Toward Inner Aliveness 51

Reflection 10 Including 55

Reflection 11 Our Own Human Experience 59

Reflection 12 Image, Love, and Suffering 63

Reflection 13 Primal Goodness 67

Reflection 14 The Great Chain of Being 73

Reflection 15 Waking Up to Love 77

Reflection 16 Suffering 83

Reflection 17 Our Shadow 89

Reflection 18 Change 95

Reflection 19 Up There 99

Reflection 20 Divine Depth 105

Reflection 21 Embodying Depth 111

Reflection 22 The Divine Feminine 117

Reflection 23 Our Eternal Yes 121

Reflection 24 Embodiment 125

Reflection 25 Embodied Suffering 129

Reflection 26 Atonement 135

Reflection 27 Restoration 141

Reflection 28 Cruciform 147

Reflection 29 Total Love 153

Reflection 30 One Suffering 159

Reflection 31 All in One Lump 163

Reflection 32 Resurrection 169

Reflection 33 Revealed as Light 175

Reflection 34 Hell 179

Reflection 35 Universal Encounter 185

Reflection 36 Paul's Personal Encounter 191

Reflection 37 Both … And … 197

Reflection 38 Contemplative Practice 201

Reflection 39 The Contemplative Path 207

Reflection 40 Finding Balance 211

Notes 217

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