96+ Best Richard Rohr Quotes: Exclusive Selection

Richard Rohr, OFM, is an American author, spiritual writer, and Franciscan friar based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Profoundly inspirational Richard Rohr quotes will encourage you to think a little deeper than you usually would and broaden your perspective.

Famous Richard Rohr Quotes

If love is the soul of Christian existence, it must be at the heart of every other Christian virtue. Thus, for example, justice without love is legalism; faith without love is ideology; hope without love is self-centeredness; forgiveness without love is self-abasement; fortitude without love is recklessness; generosity without love is extravagance; care without love is mere duty; fidelity without love is servitude. Every virtue is an expression of love. No virtue is really a virtue unless it is permeated, or informed, by love. — Richard Rohr

The phrase, ‘You must die before you die,’ is found in most of the world religions. If you don’t learn how to die early, you spend the rest of your life avoiding failure. When you can free your True Self, the whole spiritual life opens up. — Richard Rohr

In solitude, at last, we’re able to let God define us the way we are always supposed to be defined—by relationship: the I-thou relationship, in relation to a Presence that demands nothing of us but presence itself. Not performance but presence. — Richard Rohr

God created us for love, for union, for forgiveness and compassion and, yet, that has not been our storyline. That has not been our history. — Richard Rohr

Pope Francis insists that mercy is at the very top of the Christian hierarchy of great truths, and everything falls apart whenever mercy is displaced by anything else. — Richard Rohr

When ‘happiness’ eludes us – as, eventually, it always will – we have the invitation to examine our programmed responses and to exercise our power to choose again. — Richard Rohr

If you’re the head of the organization that has to pay salaries, bills and keep the money coming, you have to be concerned with pleasing the middle. I find it means you have to dumb down your message to something less radical than the gospel. It can’t be the real gospel. It has to be churchiness that pleases everyone, so they come back next Sunday and keep putting money in the collection plate. I don’t mean that in a cynical way. I just think it’s what happens. — Richard Rohr

God is always bigger than the boxes we build for God, so we should not waste too much time protecting the boxes. — Richard Rohr

Remember finally, that the ashes that were on your forehead are created from the burnt palms of last Palm Sunday. New beginnings invariably come from old false things that are allowed to die. — Richard Rohr

There is no path to peace, but peace itself is the path. — Richard Rohr

The simplest spiritual discipline is some degree of solitude and silence. But it’s the hardest, because none of us want to be with someone we don’t love. Besides that, we invariably feel bored with ourselves, and all of our loneliness comes to the surface.We won’t have the courage to go into that terrifying place without Love to protect us and lead us, without the light and love of God overriding our own self-doubt. Such silence is the most spacious and empowering technique in the world, yet it’s not a technique at all. It’s precisely the refusal of all technique. — Richard Rohr

Christ is bigger than the Earth planet. If tomorrow we discover life on another planet, the whole Jesus piece would not make sense anymore. If he did everything for just us on this planet he wouldn’t be the savior of the world. — Richard Rohr

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

Because I am a part of the Big Picture, I do matter and substantially so. Because I am only a part, however, I am rightly situated off to stage right—and happily so. What freedom there is in such truth! We are inherently important and included, yet not burdened with manufacturing or sustaining that private importance. Our dignity is given by God, and we are freed from ourselves! — Richard Rohr

If unconditional love, loyalty, and obedience are the tickets to an eternal life, then my black Labrador, Venus, will surely be there long before me, along with all the dear animals in nature who care for their young at great cost to themselves and have suffered so much at the hands of humans. — Richard Rohr

Mature prayer always breaks into gratitude. — Richard Rohr

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

Creation is a process that is still happening and we’re in on it! We are a part of this endless creativity of God. — Richard Rohr

As you look back on a year almost ended, recall the ways in which God has been inviting you to return, again and again, to Love which is the same as returning to God — Richard Rohr

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

You cannot be naïve about evil. You cannot be naïve to the reality that there are human beings and human situations which have totally identified with the dark side of reality. They are malicious. Realism teaches you to put up appropriate boundaries so that people can’t do any more evil than possible. But that doesn’t mean you do evil back to them. — Richard Rohr

There are three things we have to let go of. The first is the compulsion to be successful. Second, is the compulsion to be right-especially theologically right. (That’s merely an ego trip, and because of this need churches split in half, with both parties prisoners of their own egos.) Finally, there is the compulsion to be powerful, to have everything under control. — Richard Rohr

It is in falling down that we learn almost everything that matters spiritually. — Richard Rohr

You cannot heal what you cannot acknowledge. — Richard Rohr

One wonders how far spiritual and political leaders can genuinely lead us without some degree of mystical seeing and action. — Richard Rohr

The fears that assault us are mostly simple anxieties about social skills, about intimacy, about likeableness, or about performance. We need not give emotional food or charge to these fears or become attached to them. We don’t even have to shame ourselves for having these fears. Simply ask your fears, What are you trying to teach me? Some say that FEAR is merely an acronym for False Evidence Appearing Real. From Everything Belongs, p. 143 — Richard Rohr

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

When we fail we are merely joining the great parade of humanity that has walked ahead of us and will follow after us. — Richard Rohr

I think your heart needs to be broken, and broken open, at least once to have a heart at all or to have a heart for others. — Richard Rohr

It is at the bottom where we find grace; for like water, grace seeks the lowest place and there it pools up. — Richard Rohr

Heartbreaks, disappointments and even our own weaknesses can serve as stepping-stones to the second half of life transformation. Failings are the foundation for growth. Those who have fallen, failed or ‘gone down’ are the only ones who understand ‘up.’ — Richard Rohr

Much of the work of midlife is to tell the difference between those who are dealing with their issues through you and those who are really dealing with you. — Richard Rohr

Prayer is sitting in the silence until it silences us, choosing gratitude until we are grateful, and praising God until we ourselves are an act of praise. — Richard Rohr

God comes to us disguised as our life. — Richard Rohr

The journey never happens alone. — Richard Rohr

The Gospel is not a fire insurance policy for the next world, but a life assurance policy for this world. — Richard Rohr

Egoic consciousness is the one we all normally operate with, until we are told there is something else! Every culture teaches egoic consciousness in different ways. At that level it is all about me, my preferences, my choices, my needs, my desires and me and my group as the central reference point. — Richard Rohr

Until we learn to love others as ourselves, it’s difficult to blame broken people who desperately try to affirm themselves when no one else will. — Richard Rohr

Most of us were taught that God would love us if and when we change. In fact, God loves you so that you can change. What empowers change, what makes you desirous of change is the experience of love. It is that inherent experience of love that becomes the engine of change. — Richard Rohr

The school of relationships is where you learn self-knowledge. I just don’t know how you could learn it sitting alone in the desert on a rock by yourself. You have to see where you fail at it. And that confrontation with your own ability – I was again not able to love – those are the teachable moments. — Richard Rohr

Religion is one of the safest places to hide from God. — Richard Rohr

Religion either produces the very best people or the very worst. — Richard Rohr

Whole people see and create wholeness wherever they go; split people see and create splits in everything and everybody. — Richard Rohr

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

Once God and grace move us to the second half of life, religion becomes a mystical matter, rather than a moral matter. — Richard Rohr

A good teacher teaches people how to see, not what to see. — Richard Rohr

Contemplation is an alternative consciousness that refuses to identify with or feed what are only passing shows. It is the absolute opposite of addiction, consumerism or any egoic consciousness. — Richard Rohr

Faith is not a means to something further. It is not something we do in order to get to heaven. Faith is its own end. To have faith is already to have come alive. — Richard Rohr

If you do not transform your pain, you will always transmit it. — Richard Rohr

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

What we know about God is important, but what we do with what we know about God is even more important. — Richard Rohr

Maturity is the ability to joyfully live in an imperfect world. — Richard Rohr

Who is telling us about the false self today? Who is even equipped tell us? Many clergy have not figured this out for themselves, since even ministry can be a career decision or an attraction to religion more than the result of an encounter with God or themselves. Formal religious status can maintain the false self rather effectively, especially if there are a lot of social payoffs like special respect, titles, salaries, a good self image, or nice costumes. It is no accident that the religious Pharisees became the symbolic bad guys in the Jesus story. — Richard Rohr

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

After 32 years as a priest , I think its fair to say that most institutional churches are very limited in addressing higher levels of spiritual consciousness. — Richard Rohr

If you don’t transform your suffering, you’ll transmit it. — Richard Rohr

Moralism is always the cheap substitute for mysticism. — Richard Rohr

When we can see the image of God where we don’t want to see the image of God, then we see with eyes not our own. — Richard Rohr

I am who I am in the eyes of God- nothing more and nothing less. — Richard Rohr

The cross solved our problem by first revealing our real problem, our universal pattern of scapegoating and sacrificing others. The cross exposes forever the scene of our crime. — Richard Rohr

The best criticism of the bad is the practice of the better. — Richard Rohr

Much of what is called Christianity has more to do with disguising the ego behind the screen of religion and culture than any real movement toward a God beyond the small self, and a new self in God. — Richard Rohr

Salvation is not a divine transaction that takes place because you are morally perfect, but much more is an organic unfolding, a becoming who you already are, an inborn sympathy with and capacity for the very One who created you. — Richard Rohr

Christianity is a lifestyle – a way of being in the world that is simple, non-violent, shared, and loving. However, we made it into an established religion (and all that goes with that) and avoided the lifestyle change itself. One could be warlike, greedy, racist, selfish, and vain in most of Christian history, and still believe that Jesus is one’s personal Lord and Savior . . . The world has no time for such silliness anymore. The suffering on Earth is too great. — Richard Rohr

A person who can laugh and go with life does not demand to be in control, which is why the most controlling people may be sarcastic but lack an authentic sense of humor. — Richard Rohr

It is only through the holes in our soul that we break out and God breaks through. — Richard Rohr

In silence all our usual patterns assault us … That is why most people give up rather quickly. When Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, the first things to show up were the wild beasts. — Richard Rohr

The path of descent is the path of transformation. Darkness, failure, relapse, death, and woundedness are our primary teachers, rather than ideas or doctrines. — Richard Rohr

Every time you choose to love, you have also just chosen to die. — Richard Rohr

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

My scientist friends have come up with things like ‘principles of uncertainty’ and dark holes. They’re willing to live inside imagined hypotheses and theories. But many religious folks insist on answers that are always true. We love closure, resolution and clarity, while thinking that we are people of ‘faith’! How strange that the very word ‘faith’ has come to mean its exact opposite. — Richard Rohr

Sacramental listening reminds us that current suffering isn’t the end of the story. God loves us deeply, and the vision for the future is vaster and more magnificent than we could ever imagine. In these moments of profound human presence, we are awakened to the divine presence and see that the kingdom of God is coming and yet is already here. — Richard Rohr

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

The human ego prefers anything, just about anything, to falling, or changing, or dying. The ego is that part of you that loves the status quo – even when it’s not working. It attaches to past and present and fears the future. — Richard Rohr

THE MALE JOURNEY t some point in time, a man needs to embark on a risky -journey. It’s a necessary adventure that takes him into uncertainty, and it almost always involves some form of difficulty or failure. On this journey the man learns to trust God more than he trusts a sense of right and wrong or his own sense of self-worth. — Richard Rohr

We do not think ourselves into new ways of living, we live ourselves into new ways of thinking. — Richard Rohr

If you depend on being emotionally inspired or newly motivated, you will need a new fix almost every day. — Richard Rohr

Spirituality is about being ready. All the spiritual disciplines of your life – prayer, study, meditation or ritual, religious vows – are there so you can break through to the eternal. Spirituality is about awakening the eyes, the ears, the heart so you can see what’s always happening right in front of you. — Richard Rohr

Faith does not need to push the river because faith is able to trust that there is a river. The river is flowing. We are in it. — Richard Rohr

Nature is the one song of praise that never stops singing. — Richard Rohr

Those who are not true leaders will just affirm people at their own immature level. — Richard Rohr

You surrender to love; you do not accomplish love by willpower. — Richard Rohr

You create your response to reality, and that response, for all practical purposes, is your reality. — Richard Rohr

Sin happens whenever we refuse to keep growing. — Richard Rohr

God tries to first create a joyous yes inside of you, far more than any kind of no . . . Just saying no is resentful dieting, whereas finding your deeper yes, and eating from that table, is always a spiritual banquet. — Richard Rohr

Someone has said, ‘To be a saint is to have loved many things’ —many things — the tree, the dog, the sky, the flowers, even the color of someone’s clothing. You see, when you love, you love, and love extends to everything all the time and everywhere. — Richard Rohr

The people who know God well – the mystics, the hermits, those who risk everything to find God – always meet a lover, not a dictator. God is never found to be an abusive father or a tyrannical mother, but always a lover who is more than we dared hope for. How different than the account manager that most people seem to worship. God is a lover who receives and forgives everything. — Richard Rohr

In terms of the ego, most religions teach in some way that all of us must die before we die, and then we will not be afraid of dying. Suffering of some sort seems to be the only thing strong enough to destabilize our arrogance and our ignorance. I would define suffering very simply as whenever you are not in control. — Richard Rohr

All great spirituality teaches about letting go of what you don’t need and who you are not. Then, when you can get little enough and naked enough and poor enough, you’ll find that the little place where you really are is ironically more than enough and is all that you need. At that place, you will have nothing to prove to anybody and nothing to protect. That place is called freedom. It’s the freedom of the children of God. Such people can connect with everybody. They don’t feel the need to eliminate anybody . . . — Richard Rohr

A paradox is a seeming contradiction, always demanding a change on the side of the observer. If we look at almost all things honestly we see everything has a character of paradox to it. Everything, including ourselves. — Richard Rohr

To keep the middle coming back, you can’t say some radically conservative or radically progressive things. That’s been the bane of organized religion. It makes me wonder if Jesus’ first definition of the church as two or three gathered in my name is not still the best way. — Richard Rohr

The two Virtues of Equanimity and Compassion become more available to the person whose ego-shell has been smashed-either by great suffering or by great love-or by both. — Richard Rohr

I have committed myself to joy. I have come to realize that those who make space for joy, those who prefer nothing to joy, those who desire the utter reality, will most assuredly have it. We must not be afraid to announce it to refugees, slum dwellers, saddened prisoners, angry prophets. Now and then we must even announce it to ourselves. In this prison of now, in this cynical and sophisticated age, someone must believe in joy. — Richard Rohr

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

Notice that whenever we suffer pain, the mind is always quick to identify with the negative aspects of things and replay them over and over again, wounding us deeply. Almost all humans have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) of the mind, which is why so many people become fearful, hate-filled, and wrapped around their negative commentaries. This pattern must be recognized early and definitively. Peace of mind is actually an oxymoron. When you’re in your mind, you’re hardly ever at peace, and when you’re at peace, you’re never only in your mind. — Richard Rohr

When you get your,’Who am I?’, question right, all of your,’What should I do?’ questions tend to take care of themselves. — Richard Rohr

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