Love (Advent Meditation)

Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.
—1 John 4:7–8

 

The beginning and end of everything is love. Only inside of this mystery of the exchange of love can we know God. If we stay outside of that mystery, we cannot know God.
— Richard Rohr (adapted from Love Is the Only Message homily on May 13, 2012)

 

The First Evidence Of Civilization

Someone once asked anthropologist Margaret Mead what she considered to be the first evidence of civilization. She answered: a human thigh bone with a healed fracture found in an archaeological site 15,000 years old. Why not tools for hunting or religious artifacts or primitive forms of communal self-governance?  Mead points out that for a person to survive a broken femur the individual had to have been cared for long enough for that bone to heal. Others must have provided shelter, protection, food and drink over an extended period of time for this kind of healing to be possible. The great anthropologist Margaret Mead suggests that the first indication of human civilization is care over time for one who is broken and in need, evidenced through a fractured thigh bone that was healed. Continue reading “Love (Advent Meditation)”

Living Under The Blessing …

The great spiritual call of the Beloved Children of God is to pull their brokenness away from the shadow of the curse and put it under the light of the blessing. This is not as easy as it sounds. The power of the darkness around us is strong, and our world finds it easier to manipulate self-rejecting people than self-accepting people. But when we keep listening attentively to the voice calling us the Beloved, it becomes possible to live our brokenness, not as a confirmation of our fear that we are worthless, but as an opportunity to purify and deepen the blessing that rests upon us. Physical, mental, or emotional pain lived under the blessing is experienced in ways radically different from physical, mental, or emotional pain lived under the curse. Continue reading “Living Under The Blessing …”

Advent Prayer: Life Itself Is Grace …

But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for see — I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people.”
— Luke 1.10

God of fear,
God of the night,
God of the expectation,
You visited shepherds in the night
with songs and sights of joy.
In all of our nights, turn us
towards hope, because
hope might just
keep us alive.
Amen Continue reading “Advent Prayer: Life Itself Is Grace …”

Advent Meditation: Widening Our Circle Of Compassion …

We don’t set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people’s hearts.
— Pema Chodron from When Things Fall Apart

Seeking the face of God in everything, everyone, all the time, and his hand in every happening; This is what it means to be contemplative in the heart of the world. Seeing and adoring the presence of Jesus, especially in the lowly appearance of bread, and in the distressing disguise of the poor. Continue reading “Advent Meditation: Widening Our Circle Of Compassion …”

Blessed And Broken …

The great mystery of God’s love is that we are not asked to live as if we are not hurting, as if we are not broken. In fact, we are invited to recognize our brokenness as a brokenness in which we can come in touch with the unique way that God loves us. The great invitation is to live your brokenness under the blessing. I cannot take people’s brokenness away and people cannot take my brokenness away. Do you live your brokenness under the blessing or under the curse? The great call of Jesus is to put your brokenness under the blessing. Continue reading “Blessed And Broken …”

Invitation to Healing …

Even here, in the silence of this room, I am not alone. This silence is alive with the unfolding of other lives and with the turning and movement of the Earth. I began to sense my connection to the world’s pain and my part in healing it. I realized that my transformation of pain into love was an act of service for humankind. By embracing my existence, I could bring courage to others to face their own pain and to acknowledge what it had to teach them.
— Yael Betheim, The Unhealed Life (as quoted in I Will Not Die an Unlived Life)

Your pain is deep, and it won’t just go away … Your call is to bring that pain home. As long as your wounded part remains foreign to your adult self, your pain will injure you as well as others. Yes, you have to incorporate your pain into yourself and let it bear fruit in your heart and in the hearts of others. This is what Jesus means when he asks you to take up your cross. He encourages you to recognize and embrace your unique suffering and to trust that your way to salvation lies therein. Taking up your cross means, first of all, befriending your wounds and letting them reveal to you your own truth.
— Henri Nouwen from The Inner Voice of Love: A Journey Through Anguish to Freedom

If God is found in our hard times, then all of life, no matter how apparently insignificant or difficult, can open us to God’s work among us. To be grateful does not mean repressing our remembered hurts. But as we come to God with our hurts—honestly, not superficially—something life changing can begin slowly to happen. We discover how God is the One who invites us to healing. We realize that any dance of celebration must weave both the sorrows and the blessings into a joyful step.  I once saw a stonecutter remove great pieces from a huge rock on which he was working. In my imagination I thought, That rock must be hurting terribly. Why does this man wound the rock so much? But as I look longer, I saw the figure of a graceful dancer emerge gradually from the stone, looking at me in my mind’s eye and saying, “You foolish man, didn’t you know I had to suffer and thus enter into my glory?” The mystery of the dance is that its movements are discovered in the mourning. To heal is to let the Holy Spirit call me to dance, to believe again, even amid my pain, that God will orchestrate and guide my life.
— Henri Nouwen from Turn My Mourning into Dancing