These Richard Rohr quotes can inspire you to grow in your spirituality. Share the one that speaks to you in the comments.
Richard Rohr is a Franciscan priest and founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation, a facility that, “seeks to empower individuals to live out their sacred soul tasks in service to the world” through the contemplative programs and resources that they offer.
Rohr has written several books where he shares the wisdom he has acquired by studying religion and spirituality.
While these Richard Rohr quotes focus on his beliefs in Christian spirituality, we hope that they inspire you to connect deeper in whatever spirituality you follow.
Don’t forget to also check out these spiritual quotes about inner peace and love.
Richard Rohr quotes on spirituality
1. “Once you experience being loved when you are unworthy, being forgiven when you did something wrong, that moves you into non-dual thinking. You move from what I call meritocracy, quid pro quo thinking, to the huge ocean of grace, where you stop counting or calculating.” — Richard Rohr
Everyday Application: What is non-dualistic thinking? According to Rohr, “a broader, dynamic, imaginative, and more mature contemplation of perceived events.” It means being able to see the mystery of things like forgiveness and grace, while looking at the bigger picture of life. Remain open to the possibilities and become more familiar with the ambiguity of life.
2. “If I’m going to continue to be any kind of spiritual teacher, I’ve got to go deeper myself. And so for me, [I am] preserving long periods of solitude, silence, prayer, journaling, study, writing. I don’t turn on music or the TV unless I really need to.” — Richard Rohr
Everyday Application: This is a good lesson for all of us. If you are going to help someone do or understand something, then you should make sure you have a good understanding. When it comes to understanding ourselves and going deeper, Rohr offers many self-care activities to help build your awareness.
3. “Your heart has to be prepared ahead of time through faith and prayer and grace and mercy and love and forgiveness so you can keep your heart open in hell when hell happens.” — Richard Rohr
Everyday Application: Prayer, faith, and grace are important to many people. If you find comfort and happiness in these activities then by all means embrace them. Don’t just speak about them, but practice your faith and pray often. Give grace to others like you believe it will be given to you.
4. “People who think they can just do a non-stop flight to mystical, non-dual thinking, to get it out without going through the process, are usually not right. That’s airy-fairy thinking. They have to wait until they are hurt themselves, or they are cheated, or lied to, or betrayed, and they will see that their non-dual thinking is not tested, or truly a gift of the spirit. It’s simply fuzzy thinking.” — Richard Rohr
Everyday Application: This can be said about anything in life. There is hardly ever a non-stop mythical flight to anywhere worth going. You will have to do some kind of work, learn something new, and make sacrifices. You not only have to acknowledge that there is a process but you have to trust it!
5. “To believe in Jesus is to believe that the historic person who lived on this earth more than 2000 years ago was the image of the invisible God. That’s a huge leap of faith, but it is my leap of faith, it’s the act of faith of the Christian community.” — Richard Rohr
Everyday Application: Life also consists of leaps of faith that we take everyday. If you are a Christian then you likely understand this phrase very well. It means to believe in something that can not be proven. Take the risks and leaps of faith because life will be much for them. Even if they don’t work out the way you want them to, you will learn something that helps you in the future.
6.“It’s important to note that Jesus and Christ are two different faith affirmations. Hardly any Christians have been taught that – they think “Christ” is Jesus’s last name.” — Richard Rohr
7. “Modern culture is in so much trouble, where people don’t have a deep inner life, or any deep experience of their true self in God, who they were before anyone said anything about them before they received their first medal or ego identification. That`s why suffering is so important because suffering is when those little rewards are taken away from you.” — Richard Rohr
8. “We cannot avoid the globalization of knowledge and information. When I was a boy growing up in Kansas, I could never think about a Buddhist, or a Hindu, or Muslim, or even a Protestant – I grew up in such a Catholic ghetto. That’s not possible anymore unless you live in a cave or something. So either we have knowledge of what the other religions and other denominations are saying, and how they tie into the common thread, or we end up just being dangerously ignorant of other people and therefore prejudiced.” — Richard Rohr
9. “It is the height of idolatry to use the supposed Word of God so that my small self can be in control and be right. But I am afraid this has been more the norm than the exception in the use of the Bible.” — Richard Rohr
Richard Rohr quotes on religion
10. “Jesus is never upset at sinners; he is only upset with people who do not think they are sinners.” — Richard Rohr
Everyday Application: We all live in a glass house. So, be careful about throwing those stones! Each religion has guidelines about what constitutes as a “sin.” Usually, they are things like lying, killing, stealing, and not being a very nice person. None of us are perfect, so keep that in mind, and just try to be a decent human being.
11. “Jesus did not come to change the mind of God about humanity; Jesus came to change the mind of humanity about God.” — Richard Rohr
12. “Religion was made to order to “save the world,” to use a phrase Christians use so much, but we really haven’t been doing a good job of it for centuries. It’s heartbreaking really.” — Richard Rohr
Everyday Application: How can we save the world? Is it a matter of throwing money at all the problems? Do we need more religion in our lives? Or does the change we want to see in the world start with our own thinking, behavior, and words? Ask what you can do today to make the world a better place, and then take action!
13. “Christians are usually sincere and well-intentioned people until you get to any real issues of ego, control power, money, pleasure, and security. Then they tend to be pretty much like everybody else. We often given a bogus version of the Gospel, some fast-food religion, without any deep transformation of the self; and the result has been the spiritual disaster of “Christian” countries that tend to be as consumer-oriented, proud, warlike, racist, class conscious, and addictive as everybody else-and often more so, I’m afraid.” — Richard Rohr
14. “Religions should be understood as only the fingers that point to the moon, not the moon itself.” — Richard Rohr
15. “The real spiritual journey is work. You can make a naïve assertion that you trust in Jesus, but until it is tested a good, oh, 200 times, I doubt very much that it’s true.” — Richard Rohr
Everyday Application: How do you work on a spiritual journey? A spiritual journey helps you discover who you are. This means doing things like meditating and self reflection. It is a way to discover what problems you are facing in life. Constantly asking questions and searching for meaning is a lot of work, and what you find might be outside your comfort zone.
16. “The recurring theme of all religions is a sympathy, empathy, connection, capacity between the human and the divine – that we were made for union with one another. They might express this through different rituals, doctrines, dogmas, or beliefs, but at the higher levels, they’re talking about the same goal. And the goal is always union with the divine.” — Richard Rohr
Everyday Application: Connection is was what makes us human. Things like empathy bring us closer to other people and the divine. When we can forgive, accept our weaknesses, and put others needs as high as our own, then we are getting closer to living the life that religion calls us to.
17. “Religion has in fact outdone culture in dualistic thinking – we’ve become as violent, as hateful toward our enemies, damning them to hell and whatever else, that the world doesn’t look to us for wisdom, because we’re trapped in the dualistic mind, instead of the mind of Christ that we were supposed to have.” — Richard Rohr
18. “Either you allow Holy Scriptures to change you, or you will normally try to use it to change–and clobber–other people.” — Richard Rohr
Richard Rohr quotes and sayings about God
19. “The people who know God well—mystics, hermits, prayerful people, those who risk everything to find God—always meet a lover, not a dictator.” — Richard Rohr
20. “Our culture is almost entirely prepared to not just help you create your false self but to get very identified with it and attached to it. So, without some form of God experience, which teaches you who you are apart from that – we would say in the religious world, who you are “in” God, in the mind and heart of God – there’s almost no way to get out of it.” — Richard Rohr
21. “If God is Trinity and Jesus is the face of God, then it is a benevolent universe. God is not someone to be afraid of, but is the Ground of Being and on our side.” — Richard Rohr
22. “The cross is the standing statement of what we do to one another and to ourselves. The resurrection is the standing statement of what God does to us in return.” — Richard Rohr
23. “God is always bigger than the boxes we build for God, so we should not waste too much time protecting the boxes.” — Richard Rohr
24. “To the degree, you have experienced intimacy with God, you won’t be afraid of death because you’re experiencing the first tastes and promises of heaven in this world.” — Richard Rohr
25. “Let’s state it clearly: One great idea of the biblical revelation is that God is manifest in the ordinary, in the actual, in the daily, in the now, in the concrete incarnations of life, and not through purity codes and moral achievement contests, which are seldom achieved anyway.” — Richard Rohr
26. “The most amazing fact about Jesus, unlike almost any other religious founder, is that he found God in disorder and imperfection—and told us that we must do the same or we would never be content on this earth.” — Richard Rohr
Wise Richard Rohr quotes
27. “Everything has to be understood in opposition to something else.” — Richard Rohr
28. “For some dang reason, the ego prefers to make one side better than the other, so we choose.” — Richard Rohr
Everyday Application: Ego is our sense of self-esteem and self-importance. We tend to find the side that benefits us or aligns with our beliefs “better” than the opposing view. However, if you removed yourself from the equation, would you feel the same way? Does there have to be a “side?”
29. “And we decide males are better than females, America is better than Canada, Democrats are better than Republicans. And for most people, once this decision is made, it is amazing the amount of blindness they become capable of. They really don’t see what’s right in front of them. Once you see this, it’s an amazing breakthrough, and that is the starting place for moving away from dualistic thinking.” — Richard Rohr
30. “The most amazing fact about Jesus, unlike almost any other religious founder, is that he found God in disorder and imperfection—and told us that we must do the same or we would never be content on this earth.” — Richard Rohr
31. “When you do the first half of life well, you have a good sense of yourself.” — Richard Rohr
32. “A good teacher teaches people how to see, not what to see.” — Richard Rohr
Everyday Application: What is the role of a teacher? Sure, they impart their wisdom onto the rest of us. However, the best teachers inspire us to search out knowledge and continue to learn on our own. They teach us how to problem solve, instead of giving us the answers. A good teacher will teach us how to think critically, use resources, and form conclusions.
33. “Transformed people transform people.” — Richard Rohr
Everyday Application: People who were truly able to change their circumstances and transform their life are inspiring. The people closest to them are undoubtedly also going to be transformed during the process. The rest of humanity wants to look to them for answers. How did they do it? What are they doing differently? Do they have something the rest of us do not? These questions alone can start someone on the path to their own transformation.
34. “Pain that is not transformed is transmitted.” — Richard Rohr
Everyday Application: You have likely heard the saying “Hurt people, hurt people.” If you are not able to transform your pain into something else, then you will end up spreading that pain around. It might not be in the same way that you were hurt, but your trauma responses will impact those around you.
35. “Life is not, nor ever has been, a straight line forward.” — Richard Rohr
Everyday Application: As much as we would like this, life just doesn’t work this way. There are hills you are going to have to climb. There will be parts along the journey where you might fall and slide backwards. You might encounter obstacles that you just can not get over, but that doesn’t mean that you can not go around them (sometimes you might have to look for creative solutions like going under things!). Bottom line is that the path will not be straight, or easy even. However, you can relish each part of the journey.
36. “Life is characterized much more by exception and disorder than by total or perfect order.” — Richard Rohr
37. “Life is not a matter of creating a special name for ourselves, but of uncovering the name we have always had.” — Richard Rohr
More Richard Rohr quotes
38. “There is nothing to prove and nothing to protect. I am who I am and it’s enough.” — Richard Rohr
Everyday Application: Each of us is who we are. We are each (good, smart, or pretty) enough. One of the best ways to be happier in this life is to not compare your journey with someone else’s. Be true to yourself, live your life, and know that you are enough!
39. “We do not think ourselves into new ways of living, we live ourselves into new ways of thinking.” — Richard Rohr
40. “There is a part of you that is Love itself, and that is what we must fall into. It is already there.” — Richard Rohr
41. “Once you move your identity to that level of deep inner contentment, you will realize you are drawing upon a Life that is much larger than your own and from a deeper abundance.” — Richard Rohr
42. “The journey to happiness involves finding the courage to go down into ourselves and take responsibility for what’s there: all of it.” — Richard Rohr
43. “We all become well-disguised mirror image of anything that we fight too long or too directly.” — Richard Rohr
44. “That which we oppose determines the energy and frames the questions after a while.” — Richard Rohr
45. “Most frontal attacks on evil just produce another kind of evil in yourself, along with a very inflated self-image to boot.” — Richard Rohr
46. “When you don’t need to play the victim or create victims you are FREE” — Richard Rohr
47. “Maturity is the ability to joyfully live in an imperfect world.” — Richard Rohr
48. “Famine, poverty, abuse, you can’t keep that all blocked out. If you let those things teach you, influence you, change you, those are the events that transition you without you even knowing it to become more compassionate.” — Richard Rohr
49. “If you stay in the mainstream of life, you let in the suffering of the world that invariably enters all of our lives by the time we’re in our middle years when we’ve experienced a few deaths and read a few headlines.” — Richard Rohr
50. “I think most human beings are dualistic thinkers. It gets them through the day. It gives them a sense of superiority and security – that’s what the ego wants.” — Richard Rohr
What did you learn from these Richard Rohr quotes?
Richard Rohr is a practitioner of Perennial philosophy, a philosophy that believes that all of the world’s religions have branched out from the same original metaphysical truth.
He has written many books on his philosophy and spiritual beliefs, including Everything, Belongs, Adam’s Return, The Naked Now, Breathing Under Water, Falling Upward, Immortal Diamond, and Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi, and The Universal Christ.
PBS has named Rohr as “one of the most popular spiritual authors and thinkers in the world.”
Did you enjoy these Richard Rohr quotes and sayings? Which quote was your favorite? Let us know in the comments below.
June 24, 2022 4:46 AM EST