I have a memory, too, as a twelve-year-old of crying silently but bitterly face-down into a pillow on the living room floor. That day, my bird, my only life companion, had disappeared up an open flue in our apartment wall. There were visiting relatives in the house, in my bedroom, whom I knew were not to be disturbed. The needs of the guest came first, I had been taught. But when the house was safely dark, I let the pain pour out, not simply the loss of my dearest possession but also in sorrow for my own carelessness in his regard. Then, suddenly, I felt the covers around me tighten. My mother had gotten in on one side of the mattress, my father on the other, and together they held me all the long and empty night. I learned then that being human meant to enter into someone else’s pain.
And that is what we have lost. We “defend” ourselves by threating the globe and our own level of civilized humanness with it. We have chosen technological progress and financial profits over the needs of human beings. We have bartered the quality of our own souls; we live in the denial of Reverence for Life.
But we have become a society of machines and business degrees, of stocks and bonds, of world power and world devastation, of what works and what makes money. We train our young to get ahead, our middle-aged to consume, and our elderly to be silent. We are sophisticated now. We talk about our ideas for getting ahead rather than about our ideas for touching God. We are miles from our roots and light-years away from our upbringings. We have abandoned the concerns of the civilizations before us. We have forsaken the good, the true, and the beautiful for the effective, the powerful, and the opulent. We have abandoned enoughness for the sake of consumption. We are modern. We are progressive. And we are lost.
So what do I believe in? What do I define as human? I believe in the pursuit of the spiritual, in the presence to pain, and the sacredness of life. Without these, life is useless and humanity is a farce.
To be human it is necessary, perhaps, to think again about what matters in life, to ask always why what is, is. To be human is to listen to the rest of the world with a tender heart, and learn to live life with our arms open and our souls sears with a sense of responsibility for everything that is.
Without a doubt, given those criteria, we may indeed not live the “better life,” but we may, at the end, at least have lived a fully human one.
— Joan Chittister from Essential Writings
I Just Want To Do Love Right
The older I get, the less concerned I am with getting many religious things right. Maybe it’s the wisdom that comes with age, or just battle fatigue from too many years logged in the fight, but lots of stuff that used to matter greatly to me on my spiritual journey has simply lost its appeal and relinquished its luster. These days I don’t care much for having an ironclad theology or an airtight apologetic. I know many people who have such things. Now I simply want my presence on the planet to result in less pain, less inequality, less poverty, less suffering, and less damage for those sharing it with me. I want the sum total of my minutes and my efforts to yield more compassion, more decency, more laughter, more justice, and more goodness than before I showed up. In other words: I just want to do Love right.
— John Pavlovitz from Low
Harnessing The Power Of Love
Sooner or later, then, the world will brush aside our incredulity and take this step: because whatever is the more true comes out into the open, and whatever is better is ultimately realized. The day will come when, after harnessing the ether, the winds, the tides, gravitation, we shall harness for God the energies of love. And, on that day, for the second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.
― Pierre Teilhard de Chardin from Towards The Future
Life is short,
And we do not have much time
to gladden the hearts of those who
make the journey with us.
So… be swift to love,
and make haste to be kind.
And the blessing of God,
who made us,
who loves us,
and who travels with us
be with you now and forever.
— Henri-Frederic Amiel
- Guide to Advent 2019
- In Wisdom’s Path
- Uncommon Generosity, Uncommon Courage
- Love Recognizes No Barriers
- Seven Principles for Living with Deep Intention
- The Hope Of Loving
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