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To choose God
is to realize that you are known and loved
in a way surpassing anything one can imagine,
loved before anyone had thought of you
or spoken your name.
don’t talk too much about God
in the certainty that God has written your name
on the palm of God’s hand.
Live your human task
in the liberating certainty
that nothing in the world can separate you
from God’s love for you.
Source: Rule for a New Brother
Agape [Divine Love] is astonishingly simple. That is what makes it difficult. It is not too complex for us, we are too complex for it. We must learn to become like little children if we are to find [God].
For God is like a little child: utterly single-minded and pure of heart. That’s how God governs the universe: right from the center of it all. And that’s how we are called to govern our lives.
Source: The God Who Loves You
“The great lesson from the true mystics…is that the sacred is in the ordinary; that [the sacred] is to be found in one’s daily life, in one’s neighbors, friends, and family, in one’s back yard, and that travel may be a flight from confronting the sacred.
Abraham H. Maslow, Religions, Values, and Peak Experiences.
“We’re all mystics…every one of us” says the late Brother Wayne Teasdale. I could not agree more. All of us have the Power within us, the divine code imprinted into our very genes that triggers’ our hunger for God; for a transcendent experience of God.
If you are like me in any way, you may or may not realize it. You may think mystics are freaks, geeks, hermits or professional religious people who hide away from the world and never engage it; those who sit around having dreams, visions, and all sorts of paranormal realities coming from angels and God. We may not feel we are in that ‘category’. But whether we choose to acknowledge it or not, God is everywhere, waiting upon us, hungering for us and that is all the mystical is: a deep experiential knowledge of God and his all-encompassing Love.
God has given us the gift of life in this perplexing world in order for us to become who we ultimately are: children of a loving God; creatures of boundless love, deep compassion, and sacred wisdom. Our very existence is a summons from God to the eternal journey of the mystic if only we would embrace it.
I will spend the rest of my life journeying out this calling – this holy mandate – in order to grow ever closer to God. And I will do so with the sacred understanding that every moment, every pain, every joy, every minute of doubt and elation, is the Holy Now – the moment to know and be known by God.
I was regretting the past
and fearing the future.
Suddenly my Lord was speaking:
My name is I AM.
When you live in the past,
with its mistakes and regrets,
it is hard. I am not there.
My name is not I Was.
When you live in the future,
with its problems and fears,
it is hard. I am not there.
My name is not I Will Be.
When you live in this moment,
it is not hard. I am here.
My name is I AM.
I wrote this little poem over 12 years ago and I am now trying to start my days by reciting it:
I am trying to simplify my mission on earth, in this flesh, and I have found that it is summed up from the words of the “Big Book” of A.A. (in paraphrase): my mission is to be of maximum service to God and to my fellow man (and woman). Period.
There is one thing I can do better than anyone else: be me. God made me, me, so I can be a dynamic expression of divine love on the earth through the quirks, cracks, gifts and goofs that make up me. And the same is True for you as well.
An old-timer reminded me that a good moral credo starts with this: “doing the Good that lies nearest to you.” And he meant that literally.
I am learning day by day, sometimes moment by moment, that the only way up is down and the only way out is through.
I pray my life becomes a safe place for people to land.
One truth I see in action daily is that one of the greatest powers that exists is harnessing the power of “we” instead of merely harnessing the power of “me.”
The greatest miracle is what happens in me more than what happens to me. And all this from the miracle called God’s grace.
I have this amazing power, the power of choice, so I can choose to wrestle with God or I can choose to nestle with God.
For Sunday, June 16, 2013 – Luke 7:36-8:3
Immediate compassionate response trumps premeditated politeness. The host was thoughtful, no doubt, well-meaning and polite, curious about Jesus, but from a bit of a distance. The ‘sinning city woman’ knew nothing of distance. She was all-out passion. If the host was a small breeze, she was a blast of wind, a tangle of tears and kisses and hair. Intimate. You might say, inappropriate.
The host saw the unfolding action as opportunity to judge; Jesus simply received. Self-love deep enough, secure enough, makes other-love possible. The host had not enough inner resources for such loving attention as this. The dried up heart confuses rules and regulations for real caring, judgment for love. Even the ultimate words of love–”you are forgiven”–are misconstrued. “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” the guests ask among themselves. Why would they not ask, “Who is this, who loves so fully?”
To love well is not to follow a set of rules for loving well. To love well is to follow the tug of a thread that draws us toward this one who loves. The thread takes us where he is, this one who captures our heart. The woman bringing all she had did not premeditate how she could make a scene and disrupt Simon’s dinner party. She herself surely did not yet know how disruptive real love can be. She simply followed the thread.
Love beckoned. What could she do but respond?
When people who have repeatedly taken drugs [addicts & alcoholics] turn to God – really turn – there is no stopping them. It took a kind of courage to put drugs in their body and to go with that.
They didn’t know where they were going or whether they would come back; they didn’t know what the experience was going to be. These people have nerve…and verve. They love adventure. They’re not afraid to travel deeply into the Realm of God.
These people make good Ambassadors of God. They will go anyplace.
They’ve already been judged, rejected, and misunderstood when they were doing drugs. They figure that if they’re now doing things the right way, what difference does anyone’s judgments make?
They’ll just keep moving on, and there’s no stopping them.
And I, myself, am truly one of the “They” spoken of …
You can be content with all creatures under God. But you should never be content with what you have of God, for you can never have enough of God. The more you have of God, the more you want. If you, in fact, could have enough of God, so that there came about a satiety of God in you, then God would not be God.
She was shelling peas,
spread wide to catch
each pea/each pod
I, shaky, needy
Her ancient swollen hands
pushed back the hair
that hid my face
She set down the pan
and, patting her knee,
come on up here
and let me have a look at you.
Her voice was safe and so was I
sitting in the lap of God.
Source: Daughters of Sarah magazine
NOTE: this post was originally posted on May 1, but I have been living, and fleshing out, the grace of paradox these last few weeks. So I re-read it and just wanted to add a bit to it. May you all know the absolute perfection of the paradox called Grace.
For some, the thought of discovering spirituality and an ever deepening relationship with God in a room full of drunks and drug addicts telling stories might seem like a paradox at first glance. But as ancient wisdom reveals to us, stories are one of the foundations God uses to reveal divine love and grace to us; and stories are exactly what are found in the rooms of us 12 steppers.
Holy people, in every corner of the world and in every faith tradition, told stories to reveal deeper truths and sacred wisdom. Jesus told stories – some offensive, some hilarious, all of them insightful – as he taught and fleshed out these stories as a means of communicating God’s infinite and tender love for us.
Stories in general and recovery stories in particular are what keep people like me clean and sober. We share what we have done and who we have been in the hopes of opening up our hearts to let the grace of God fill and transform us, so we do not remain those fractured characters of our stories past. In sharing our stories, in sharing my story, I find I am freed from the bondage of the past and the restraints of the dis-ease named addiction.
For when my story is unleashed, I am unchained.
Stories are the vehicle for God’s grace as it comes in tenderness, in messiness, in darkness and shifting shadows…but come it does when I open my heart and share the truth of who I am and what I have been like. And in stories, in the sharing of my past wreckage and destruction, healing is found and divine light is released into the world, shining so as to light the path for those who walk with me and those who will come after me.
Addiction is indeed cunning and baffling, but only for us. It is not so for God; for God is not baffled by my dis-ease. God is the great Mystery that swallows up all the mysteries of the how’s and why’s of addiction. God is the truth in the lies. God is the light in the darkness. God is the tenderness to my sharp edges. Indeed, God is the very grace in the midst of my lostness.
That is the grace and power of paradox and the paradox of grace.
Only in a room full of addicts and alcoholics (the walking wounded and wonderful) do I learn that I cannot keep what I do not give away. And like the ancient echoes of the prayer of St. Francis, I learn daily that in giving, I receive; in pardoning, I am pardoned; and in dying daily to my ego, I am born anew into the living grace of a loving God.