Participation or generation?

Over the last few weeks I have been listening (and re-listening) to Richard Rohr speaking on the ‘Great Themes of St Paul: Life as Participation’. It has been my commuting companion.

Not only have the letters of Paul been broken open in a new way for me, I have a new handle for discernment. Participation or generation?

Am I participating with God in this? Or am I simply paying lip service to that, but I am in control; I am responsible for (fill in the blank)?

I confess I have spoken about this idea multiple times in giving spiritual direction over the last couple of weeks. And for every single person something seems to click. Indeed, as it has for me.

When I am doing spiritual direction training – a phrase I frequently use is – Let God be God. I fundamentally believe that this is vital. I participate, I do not make things happen.

In some ways I am able to see that so clearly, and I think, for the most part, unless I am very tired, I am able to hold that in the spiritual direction space. But I lose sight of it so easily in my own life.

If I think I am responsible for generating transformation in any guise I am operating from the false self. And more often than not I obstruct God’s good action.

When I let go and I am able to participate real stuff happens. It is unexpected; it is gobsmacking; and it is beautiful.


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