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“Grace will always favor the prepared mind.”

Richard Rohr: Breathing Under Water

I sit here today, pondering the sixth step of AA: “Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character”. A huge helping of my food for thought is from “Breathing Under Water," by Richard Rohr. This man has a way of turning my perspectives on life inside out and upside down. Today, he is again successful in upsetting my apple cart of life. Just when I thought I was comfortably settling in to some decisive perspectives, I hear a challenge to my way of thinking.


It’s time to ponder the turmoil in my soul.

“Grace will always favor the prepared mind.”

This thought seems to make sense. One of the blessings of meditation has been the increased clarity with which life unfolds. Many of us recognize this as our sobriety grows from substance to soul. The journey to soul is the journey to sustained sobriety. My journey to soul has been filled with twists, turns, flips and flops. Fortunately, each has resulted in a sense of peace which strengthens my faith in the journey. Each has prepared me for the next twist or flop. Each painful experience has prepared my being for the grace of the trial.

Richard Rohr, though, offered an abrasive perspective to the challenge of my prepared mind. He posed an age old question: which comes first, the chicken or the egg? Which comes first, grace or responsibility? Which comes first, sobriety or grace?

So here I sit, diligently working the 12 steps for the umpteenth time. Shouldn’t I be entitled to some sort of reprieve from the ongoing upheaval of the work?

Obviously, NOT!

My first clue is in the use of the word, ‘entitled’. This character defect is on the top of my list. OUCH! I should know better, right?

The second clue is that I do the work. I, me, have some sense of control, right? Oops! This perspective certainly feeds my ego, but does little to prepare my mind and soul.

I digress. The point is that I will continue to consciously engage in consciousness.

Consciousness and mindfulness are the keys to preparing my mind. For what?

I want the miracle!

I want the miracle! (yes, I’m screaming louder.)

Which comes first, the miracle or the work of the 12 steps?

The answer according to Richard Rohr is: BOTH…………

I try to wrap myself around this paradox and recognize that I will never fully understand this whole dilemma. Work? Grace? 12 steps? Sobriety?

They happen separately but at the same time. I scream!!!!


Correct. My feeble mind can make no sense of this. However, my sobriety is enough to serve notice: Greg, this is your God. Quit trying to figure me out. It’s simple: Enjoy the results of the paradox: you are sober. You are doing the work. I am being Grace. Now, be sober.


Be sober. This is not a task to accomplish. Sobriety is a state of being.

Sobriety is a state of being. Let’s rest with this.

Love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, truthfulness, humility, trustfulness, gentleness, self control: these are states of being. None are of my doing. Each is a state of being grace filled.

I’ll rest some more and recognize that these states of being require you. Each is shared with others. Each is an expression of sobriety and grace.

Gratitude. The paradox of life, when intentionally engaged, results in gratitude. We find ourselves resting, together, in gratitude.

Thank you.


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