Reflection -  May 2017

Image result for walking with a smile in the dark

In Thomas Kelley's A Testament of Devotion, he reflects on love, one of the fruits of the Spirit. The past several weeks I kept returning to the following wise words he has written:

It is true that in the experience of Divine Presence that which flows over the ocean of darkness is an infinite ocean of light and love. In the Eternal Now all people become seen in a new way. We enfold them in our love, and we and they are enfolded together within the great Love of God as we know it in Christ....The springings of the Life are ever fresh. In such a sense of Presence there is a vast background of cosmic Love and tender care of all things. ...In the foreground arise special objects of love and concern and tender responsibility. The people we know best, see oftenest, have most to do with, these are re-loved in a new and deeper way. Would that we could re-love the whole world.

Re-love. Such a compelling word. Surely this kind of thing happened during the appearances of the Risen Christ. The disciples of Jesus found themselves beckoned and encouraged into re-loving. They had stood at a distance from the cross, questioned "whether he was the one," locked themselves away in fear after his death, and doubted if his presence was for real. Yes, they needed to re-love Jesus in his risen life, to believe in and trust the past relationship that meant so much to them. And they did re-love him, with full hearts, deeper faith, and gladness of spirit.

Perhaps the Easter season can be a time of our re-loving -a time to look more closely, openly, fully; to be more intentional about caring and extending kindness. Life is, in many ways, one big, extensive journey of re-loving. The coming weeks can be a time to step into this journey with a deliberate intention to re-love family, friends, and those who show up often in our life; to re-love strangers and those in the "distressing disguise" of Christ (a phrase used by Dorothy Day & Mother Teresa about those least appealing to us); to re-love ourselves when we become discouraged with our longing to "be more" and feel we are far from that desire; to re-love those who nurture our spirits by both their affirmation and challenge; to re-love those who claim to be our enemies by pitting themselves against us, whether they be known personally or foreigners living afar; to re-love anyone with whom our love has weakened or been forgotten.

In the daily devotional, Give Us This Day, Marie Louise-Ternier-Gommer writes, "A radical re-orientation in love makes everything look different." This is what Thomas Kelley invites us to do when he suggest that we re-love. When we do so, it does "make everything look different."

 When we re-love we cleanse the past grime of comparison and competition with others and sense a renewed hope about future interactions. When we clear the mirror of our personal failures and the grand expectations of ourselves, we grow in appreciation of who we are. We erase grudges and irritations that deteriorated our love and discover we have restored energy for those relationships. We re-claim our faith in the ever-present Spirit of Love dwelling at the core of all beings and rejoice in seeing this Love abounding around us and within us.

Abundant peace,

 Joyce Rupp



  • Reflection -  April 2017  Can we be truly happy for those who enjoy what we do not have? This question arose when I was reading the Easter stories. I noticed how only a few disciples of Jesus actually received the gift of directly encountering his risen presence. Did those without this experience carry some envy or disappointment? Did they covet that direct engagement? Luke's gospel describes two disciples who felt extremely discouraged, choosing to trudge back home to Emmaus, mumbling downheartedly about reports that others had actually came directly in contact with Jesus. They had not experienced this and gave up hope of doing so. (Lk24:13-35)   Their emotions are not strangers to my own heart. During January a begrudging voice in ...
    Posted Apr 9, 2017, 8:30 PM by Nancy DeBiasi
  • Reflection - March 2017   Last summer a comment from an avid swimmer in British Columbia reawakened a valuable truth. When I mentioned a scrape on her arm, Kathy nonchalantly explained, "I get some every summer from the sharp-edged barnacles on the rocks. When my grandson started swimming with me I told him he was bound to get these cuts. One day he called across the water in a proud voice: "I got one, Grandma!" Her grandson obviously accepted this as part of the price for a free-spirited frolic in the ocean. Kathy's comment reminded me that hardly any of us find something rewarding without also having to accept the effort, hardship, challenge, steady determination and vulnerability that often accompany what we ...
    Posted Mar 6, 2017, 9:26 PM by Nancy DeBiasi
  • Reflection - December 2016    "What Are You Asking for This Christmas?"  by Joyce RuppInstead of focusing on material presents, let us request from the Heart of the Holy what most strengthens our souls and enlivens our love. \This Christmas I ask for: Hope, the north star in my soul, that it may always point me toward the Light of the World. Stillness, to sweep through my restless mind, emptying it of the cluttered debris and floating negativity. Non-violence, that every thought, word, deed and desire, low gently from me like a brook caressing unmovable stones. Savoring, to remember with gratefulness, moments of beauty and people's goodwill that prompted gladness. Other-Centeredness, for the tightly held part of self, that ignores ...
    Posted Feb 13, 2017, 3:39 PM by Nancy DeBiasi
  • Reflection - January 2017 "Where do you find your joy?" Cindy's question surfaced in our conversation about dismal conditions here and elsewhere on the planet - such as surging violence, increasing suicides, heartless politicians, greater hostility and less respect for people with differing views. I stumbled and mumbled a few words in response to Cindy's query, but couldn't offer much that day. The next morning I reflected on the question: Where do I find joy? I gathered a surprisingly long list of items. None had a megaphone quality but each held definite worth for keeping hope close by. Among the list: A sliver of sunshine after lengthy seasonal gloom, the gesture of a stranger's kindness, hundreds of geese circling above ...
    Posted Feb 13, 2017, 3:35 PM by Nancy DeBiasi
  • Reflection - February 2017 A spiritual life is simply a life in which all that we do comes from the center, where we are all anchored in God;  a life soaked through and through  by a sense of God's reality and claim, and self-given to the great movement of God's will.  ~ Evelyn Underhill  The above quote from the English writer and mystic rests at the opening of my 2017 journal. Her wise description of the "spiritual life" (written more than eighty years ago) inspires me to be "anchored in God" at this particular time in history. So much in politics and social media threatens to throw me off balance with its disturbing ferocity. I recognize how easily I can be set ...
    Posted Feb 13, 2017, 3:10 PM by Nancy DeBiasi
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  • Reflection - October 2016      In Blessed Among Us Robert Ellsberg's depiction of Black Elk, the far-seeing Lakota medicine man, reminds me of Linnea Good's song, There Is a Time. This song contains the lyric, "There is a time when each will lose a dream most dear." How true this was for Black Elk. When just nine years old, he received a powerful vision calling him to help his people. Black Elk gave himself generously to this vision but eighteen years later the dream shattered when the U.S. army killed over 300 of his Lakota tribe in the massacre of Wounded Knee. With his vision torn to shreds, Black Elk felt devastated but he did not buckle under the pain or ...
    Posted Nov 16, 2016, 1:58 AM by Nancy DeBiasi
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