Richard Rohr on the Authenticity of Pain


God knows that all of us will fall somehow.  Those events that lead us to “catastrophize” out of all proportion must be business as usual for God — at least 6 billion times a day.  Like good spiritual directors do, God must say after each failure of ours, “Oh, here is a great opportunity!  Let’s see how we can work with this!”  After our ego-inflating successes, God surely says, “Well, nothing new or good is going to happen here!”  Failure and suffering are the great equalizers and levelers among humans.  Success is just the opposite.  Communities and commitment can form around suffering much more than around how wonderful or superior we are.  Just compare the real commitment to one another, to the world, and to the truth in “happy clappy religion” with the deep solidarity of families at the time of a tragic death or among hospice workers and their clients.  There is a strange and even wonderful communion in real human pain, actually much more than in joy, which is too often manufactured and passing.  In one sense, pain’s effects are not passing, and pain is less commonly manufactured.  Thus it is a more honest doorway into lasting communion than even happiness.

Richard Rohr, Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life, 158 – 159.


  1. Leonard Hjalmarson · July 4, 2012

    Great book though I kept feeling it could be half as long..

  2. chris lenshyn · July 8, 2012

    Ya, that is a common problem I find with many books. Seem as though they add 50-75 pages of non essential fluff.

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