- Scripture is foundational, with a yes/and relationship to personal experiences of the divine via contemplation practices like meditation
- Franciscan alternative orthodoxy, Rohr’s tradition, encompasses a deep lived respect for nature and the environment, solidarity with marginalized groups and individuals, and a simple lifestyle.
He founded The Center for Action and Contemplation (CAC), where he currently serves as academic dean. The center is located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and offers a variety of classes and conferences associated with Rohr’s teachings.
The theme of last week’s emails was simplicity. At the end of every week, Rohr sends out a summary. These compressed versions of Sunday, June 28 and Tuesday, June 30 stand out to me:
“Sunday: As we grow spiritually, our lives become more and more centered and simple. There are only a few things that matter, and eventually really only one.”
I can so relate to this statement. To accompany COVID, which has restricted the scope of the physical spaces I am able to occupy and the people I can physically be with, I have experienced both the unexpected loss and the painful but voluntary letting go of several friendships. I have willingly shed the stability of my full-time salaried writing job for the freedom “to go rogue” with my skills and figure out what’s next.
To ground myself amid these changes, I find myself thanking God for what’s right in front of me: the roof over my head, the food in my fridge, the bed I have to sleep in. I suppose I am saying that such changes — and COVID — have challenged me to grow spiritually? I doubt I am alone in that.
The pandemic has stripped most of us of a lot of what we might call “freedoms,” while at the same time freeing us with more time to live out these simple values.
One of the changes I am most grateful for is the time and space — borne out of necessity — to cook most of my own food at home. The recipes I gravitate toward are uber basic.
This brings me to the other summary:
“Tuesday: Simple living is the foundational social justice teaching of Jesus, Francis of Assisi, Dorothy Day, Pope Francis, and all hermits, mystics, prophets, and seers since time immemorial.”
Making a very simple, cheap meal from scratch is a subtle spiritual experience for me. It feels aligned with my values. Simple. True. Holy.
In other recent posts, I have extolled the virtue of soup. The simplest, most satisfying of soups, I believe, is to chop up one kind of vegetable, sizzle some onion and garlic in a big pot, toss the chopped vegetable in with broth to soften and cook it, and then blend it (in the easiest and least messy way possible, ideally, with an immersion blender) and add a touch of heavy cream.
I recently did this with a big ole pile of zucchini. Here’s the recipe. You can substitute a vegetable of your choice (carrots, squash?).
Enjoy — I wish you a simple, peaceful day with lots of veggies on your plate.
Cream of Zucchini Soup
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 8 large zucchini, chopped coarsely
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup + 1 Tablespoon heavy cream
- Kosher salt and pepper
- Arrange all your ingredients on the counter.
- Chop the zucchini into smallish chunks.
- Chop the onion and prepare the garlic.
- Heat vegetable broth and water together in a small saucepan. (Re broth, I’m a big fan of Better than Bouillon.)
- Warm a big pot over medium heat and add butter until it melts. Add onion and garlic, and cook until they soften and become fragrant.
- Add flour and zucchini; cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
- Stir in broth and water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer everything uncovered until zucchini is tender, approximately 15 minutes.
- Remove pot from heat and cool for 10 minutes.
- Blend away!
- Add heavy cream, and stir over medium heat until hot again.
- Enjoy lots of soupfuls as you season to taste with salt and pepper.