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Reflection - May 2017

posted Aug 10, 2017, 6:47 PM by Nancy DeBiasi

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