Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Devotional reading 160211

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. I hope you are safe and sound after the storm. Thank God for providing us shelter in a stormy weather. It is something we should not take for granted. It is out of God’s mercy and grace that we are in His loving embrace. Let’s see how this creative power of life will transform our being and actions in daily encountering with our world.

Often the elements we have been discussing are all present, and find no life, no vitality in meditation simply because we separate it from morality We see no connection between our prayer life and our actions. The two, however, cannot be separated for they are of the same fabric. What we do with our lives outwardly, how well we care for others, is as much a part of meditation as what we do in the quietness and turning inward. In fact, Christian meditation that does not make a difference in the quality of one’s outer life is short-circuited. It may flare for a while, but unless it results in finding richer and more loving relationships with other human beings or in changing conditions in the world that cause human suffering, the chances are that an individual’s prayer activity will fizzle out.

Loving actions provide yet another condition that is needed for die soul to develop through meaningful meditation. They provide the necessary warmth that the sprout of new life can break through the surface and continue to grow. One of the great contributions of the Hebrew prophets was their understanding of direct interplay between people’s everyday living and their approach to God through ritual and prayer. They believed that the only sure basis for relationship to the just God was to show justice in one’s own actions.

Meditation and the inner way are like a spiral staircase. The first steps bring us to a realization of the nature of the God to whom we are opening ourselves. Then if we are serious about going on and not just pretending or hypo- critical, this realization requires putting what we have learned into action, coming to a new level of caring for others or of action in the world. Once we are trying to act upon the meaning we have found, we are ready again for a new level of meditation; and again with new insights into the reality of the Risen Christ, we are given new understanding of what our actions ought to be and a new basis for directing them. At one level we may become open t to the joy of many different relationships, or at another to the sorrow and suffering that make for sympathy with untold numbers of people and their condition in life. As each again and again new levels of community with God. This seems to be an unlimited process. In this way real social action grows from an experience of God.

How does one go about shaping one’s life so that it will manifest this love, giving of oneself even when one’s own needs cry out to be met? First of all, such love is not created by one’s own effort. It happens when a person allows the love discovered inwardly, through meditation and ritual, to pour out through life in action. Since this is not our first and foremost human reaction, it does take effort to cooperate with this creative reality when one finds it. Allowing love to work through us takes some doing, but it is far more certain than relying on our own efforts. Unless we first find the reality of the Other who gives love, our attempts to imitate it are often self-seeking, shallow and egocentric.

There is really no way that we can help other people become open to relationship with their fellow humans and with God except through an expression of love. Otherwise they remain fortresses that may be conquered and brought to subjection, but not to open relationship. What we have to learn, to begin with, is how to open the first gate so that the reality of love can work in us and then flow toward others. As this love reaches another individual, then that individual is opened to the loving Father who waits patiently at the doorway of every soul. Indeed, where there is genuine love for another person, it is as if God communes with God through two human beings.

One of the main purposes of meditation is to expose us to the reality of the Father in such a way that we can become the kind of people who are able to love. His life radiating through us cleanses, heals and transforms us. Then we can truly love in the way that Jesus asked of us. He did not tell us that we are His followers when we are great at meditating and religious activities, but only when we love one another as He loved us. This is the ultimate criterion of our lives, which can be fully realized only as we turn inward and open ourselves to God.

Yes, our intimate encounter with God should transform our attitude and relationship with people. The purpose of drawing close to God through meditation and prayer is to realize our loving relationship with Abba Father. Our Father wants to convey His message to us that we are His very beloved. We don’t need to do anything to earn His love. His love is available to us just as a baby does not need to do anything to earn his or her mother’s love. The bonding between us and God pre-exists before we are even born. Paul said, “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will” (Eph 1:4-5). In other words, we are the targets of His love from day one. He created us to enjoy this love from above. We miss the best gift in the world if we become too busy to enjoy His love through meditation and prayer in our daily life. Remember. You are His beloved children no matter what the world may say or what others may think. And He wants His love to flow through you in order to open other people to realize this love of God which is also available for them.

Enjoy this creative power of love with you,

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