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Rohr: The Paradox of Grace

From Richard Rohr, Center for Action and Contemplation’s daily email:

According to a certain theology, when we sin we are punished, and when we are good we are rewarded. This makes sense. But it isn’t what the sages, saints, or Scriptures tell us about God. This “theology” is designed to urge us to save ourselves, and unfortunately this is the theology that many people live by: we get back as good as we give to God. This means that our salvation depends totally on us and on our ability to become perfect, or at least good. Thank God, it’s not true.

This is not what Jesus teaches us. It’s much truer to say that our weakness and brokenness bring us to God—exactly the opposite of what most of us believe. It can take a lifetime, even with grace, to accept such a paradox. Grace creates the very emptiness that grace alone can fill.

St. Paul stated this with elegant concision: “’For power is made perfect in weakness.’. . . For whenever I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

Adapted from On the Threshold of Transformation (Loyola Press, 2010), p. 235, day 226