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My blog on blogger has been hacked. The Apple technician, with a tendinitis, cannot help me at the moment. So I will attempt to post here and see how it goes.

Paul and I are just back from six weeks in Manresa, Spain, where we were invited to go deeper into Ignatius’ autobiography and spiritual diaries, the sources of his Spiritual Exercises and how they developed over his lifetime; some of his letters; the origins and foundation of the Society of Jesus; its first Companions; its voluminous archives (Monumenta); its Constitutions; and, finally, Ignatian spirituality for today. Add to this daily morning prayers and evening masses, an eight-day silent retreat the second week, and a walking tour of Manresa where Ignatius lived nine months in 1522-23 (there he prayed, fasted, worked, meditated, had visions, and fell sick…), and trips to Montserrat, Loyola, Javier, and Barcelona.

We were thirty-five participants from fourteen different countries (with large contingents from India, the Philippines, Australia, and the U.S.). Our youngest member turned 32 during the Course and the older participant was 76. A majority of men and Jesuits, some religious sisters, a few laypeople and just one couple, Paul and me.

The Course was made of seven modules, the second one being the silent retreat, with one transition day in-between each. Those days were meant to help us process all that had been given to us (e.g. the medieval origins of the Autobiography, connecting the Spiritual Exercises with mysteries in our faith; the personalities of Ignatius’ first companions; the importance of Juan de Polanco in the creation of the Society of Jesus, his importance as well in the writing of the Constitutions and Ignatius’ very unique style of participative management. Finally, the new cosmic theology and new ways of looking at Jesus’ teachings (e.g. table fellowship, inclusiveness and openness to sinners and marginalized folks).

Our lecturers are all University teachers, whether at the University of Barcelona, Javier Melloni SJ (a scholar and writer of many books, involved in inter-denominational dialogues); Jose García de Castro, from Comillas University in Madrid, with an insatiable love for archives and books, able to pass on his passion for old papers and the first Jesuits; Carlos Coupeau, SJ, from both Boston U. and the Gregorian University in Rome, who helped us understand the composition and intent of the Constitutions; and finally George Pattery SJ, from Jnana-Deepa Vidyapeeth in Pune, India, who introduced us to a cosmic vision of the Spiritual Exercises, bringing together Ignatius’s cosmic experience on the banks of the river Cardoner with Teilhard de Chardin’s very own understanding.

This time out-of-time was made possible thanks to the support and care of Josep Sugranyes SJ, the Director of the Course, Joachi Salord SJ a wonderful patient and ever smiling shepherd to us all, and Asun Puche, the Course’s feminine smile and intelligent presence.

Dear to everyone of us, as well,  were the women in the kitchen who fixed three meals a day and two snacks, making sure we could sustain those brains of ours so heavily taxed at times. Teams of us worked along them, clearing and setting tables, and drying dishes. Our Spanish improved at their side; we even caught a couple of Catalan words.

I come back with my head filled with images of young noble men giving up their wealth and station in life to walk thousands of miles across Europe, begging on the way, their hearts filled with love for Godde and her creation. Finding Godde in all things…

I think of the many women who helped Ignatius all throughout his life, the very first persons who were guided by him through his Spiritual Exercises, those who cared for him when he was on death’s doorsteps, who paid for his studies and his many journeys, many of these women asking him to become a Jesuit themselves.

My heart is filled with the graces of many moments, looking out to the mountains of Montserrat, inspired with a Spirit of openness, adventure, and longing. I catch myself humming songs sung every day or for special moments. I remember holding Ignatius’ begging bowl…

We drove home with boxes of books to read and a list of more to buy, papers and lectures to process and digest, a longing for prayer, quiet times, long walks, and notes to write.

Many times in Manresa I wondered what I had done to deserve such a blessing and grace to be there in the very place where he had prayed, met Mary and Jesus or understood the Trinity. I hope to share some insights received here, because I cannot stand the idea of keeping all this to myself.

Blessings and joy.

Photo: Statue of in Loyola, Ignatius wounded in the Battle of Pamplona, 

30 May 1521.

Those who are seized by the peace of Christ and who preserve peace in their hearts, radiate peace, give witness to peace and cooperate as much as possible in making peace attainable, are assured of great beatitude. “They shall be called sons and daughters of God” (Mt 5:9). They reveal themselves as genuine brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace. They find security and joy in God. For them it is happiness to lead people to God’s peace, and to peace among themselves. “The [Kindom] of heaven is theirs,” for the [kindom] of God is justice, peace, and joy, inspired by the Holy Spirit” (Rom 14:17).

Bernard Häring, The Healing Power of Peace and Nonviolence, 23, (1)

quoted in the People’s Companion to the Breviary, 150

I read this excerpt last night before I went to sleep and it made sense to me. It may be because I had just read a short chapter on Mt 6:33, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and his justice” in Javier Melloni’s El Cristo Interior. There, Melloni wrote,

“A Kingdom, maluk, that the Jews identified as the Great Shalom, the arrival of a peace that encompasses various areas: the personal, the family, the community, the political and also the cosmic, where everything returns to its original innocence. Jesus announces the arrival of the Kingdom, but it requires a complete conversion. Because this Kingdom is not only the culmination of all longings, but their transformation. The Kingdom which he announces is a state of communion with humanity and nature, where the identity of each does not usurp that of the others, rather it makes it possible, and where each existence is a channel for the others because they know they all are part of the divine energy: a continuous creating and begetting, a constant impulse to be.” (55,56)

In a way then, the Kingdom, its peace, its Shalom is a state of mind, a presence of heart, a willingness to be open to the flow of life, whatever it may bring.

Peace is a relevant theme today. I noticed it in my friend Fran’s blog this morning. I feel particularly touched by the current struggle in Palestine, between Israel and Gaza. I have friends adamantly for each opposing side. The only thing I can do is to open my heart to the sad state of each party, breathing in war and breathing out peace.

Finally,  my inbox today had an e-mail with a quote from Joseph Campbell,

“Today the planet is the only proper “in-group”. Participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world. We cannot cure the world of sorrows, but we can choose to live in joy.”

Joy seems an ever-receding goal sometimes, but holding sorrows in my heart and allowing them to touch it and mold it and open it ever more will do for the time being. Until joy comes…

 

Art: Pablo Picasso, Peace Dove. Found here.

You will not reject me; you will fill my mouth with laughter. [Ant. Psalm 126]

It is vain to rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil: — for you, O Godde, give sleep to your beloved. [Ps. 127]

We will not fear the terror of the night… [Responsory]

People’s Companion to the Breviary, 122-123

I have returned to the People’s Companion to the Breviary at night before I go to sleep. Reading the day’s Evening Prayer has a way of calming my mind and heart, and giving me food for prayer during the night when bouts of anxiety assail me. 

Why is it that some folks sleep so soundly and peacefully and others with the same sort of life fretfully toss and turn? How is it that some of us are born with a strong leaning toward scruples or dread attacks? I have known those since I was a child. The challenge of course now is that when my mind is seized by non-stop running of the same scary scenario over and over again, by the time the morning comes I am a wreck.

Some time, I don’t even know why I cannot sleep, like that time on the Via de la Plata when I only slept three hours and found myself unable to resume my journey the following morning. A sort of inner saboteur squatting within me, stowed away in the recesses of my mind, playing havoc with my plans.

This is where the Companion to the Breviary comes to my rescue. A bit like singing psalms of praise to Godde when the whole world around me seems to be collapsing. The transparency of my heart turns toward the One who loves me and I catch the straws that holy words send my way. They exorcise my fear, they put them into perspective, they help me face my aggressors, and welcome them. We are on the same boat after all…

You will fill my mouth with laughter… with songs of praise cutting through the fog of emotions out of control…

I also say St Ignatius’ prayer, Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, memory, understanding and entire will…  Recently though I find that the words change of themselves into —

Please, Godde, take my anxieties, fears, scruples, and despair, all that fills me and possesses me. They do not come from you, and you can blow them away, like a parent gently blows on his baby’s crying face. Just give me your love and your peace that is enough for me.

Art: Kara Walker, Excavated from the black heart of a Negress, 2002

 

… And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil.  … Mt 13:1-9

…”What we recognize in Jesus is meant to be lived by every human being. The One behind this transformation is the Holy Spirit, the divine dynamis poured into Jesus Christ — the Anointed —, from his conception on, and which is present in ever person from the very moment he or she appears and starts being alive. To the extent that we open ourselves to this anointing, we become “Christified”, we become transformed in an alter Christus.

While there is a descending, as well as an ascending, Christology, we can also talk of an inner Christology. Inner does not mean alien to the world, but rather a revelation of all that the world holds within itself. This springs from within things and people not as an effort, but as the growth of a seed (Lc 13-19), as the germination of a kernel, hidden but always present in each one of us. We come to life to welcome God’s self-giving and to become the matrix of its unfolding in the world….”

Javier Melloni, El Cristo Interior, 10-11

It is only last night that I realized that if I were to sow seeds, I would make sure to plant them in good soil — if I have any desire to see them grow, that is. But Jesus’ sower sows his seeds on the path, on rocky ground, among thorns, and finally on rich soil. The sower gives a chance to every kind of ground. He trusts the process somehow. This particular sower gave me an insight into this Godde who loves us so much: She does not have any a priori. How very different from me…

My train of thoughts did not lead me much further than this: the wonder and awe at this Godde who truly does not think as humans do.

The word ‘seed’ also brings to mind the book I am reading right now, by Javier Melloni, about this inner Christ, this divine seed inside each one of us, things or people, waiting to be awakened so that it can grow and help the unfolding of God’s self-giving not only inside of us but also into the world.

What a responsibility! What a challenge! What a mission..

This takes me back into the silence of my inner being where Godde is and wants me to become who I always was meant to be. Wow…

 

Photo: Sunflowers reflecting the sun’s glory, France, 2012

 

 

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am meek and humble of heart;
and you will find rest for yourselves.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”

Mt 11:28-30

Earlier this week, I had a tense afternoon dealing with paper work, red tape, necessary documents which were not easy to obtain. I ran into crankiness and lack of cooperation; it all felt very clumsy and burdensome. After I had done all that I could do, even though I felt tired and out of sorts, I decided to go for a walk. As I got to ridge, I discovered the snowy caps of the mountains in the distance. The sky was gloriously blue, the fields of hay and golden wheat glistened in the sun, some birds chirped away in a conversation unintelligible to me. Every so often, I stopped to take a deep breath or let go a long sigh and took in the beauty of the moment. At one point, as I felt the knot in my upper back, I heard in my mind: “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

The week went on. My mind seemed to be a magnet to administrative worries which continue to march through my nightly dreams. Non-stop, I rehashed again and again the same old arguments, the familiar fears. Yesterday, after the evening mass, as I stood outside looking at the sky, I noticed right above the tall trees, in an otherwise clear blue sky, a small puffy charming white cloud. I heard then in my mind the words, “Your problem is as big as this.” The thought made me smile, for it was true: my worries in the whole cosmic spectrum of things are very small. Godde in her own strange way had handed me a talisman which I could recognize and use.

As we drove home, the expression ‘soul-weary’ came to me. I realized then that our time in the small village church had been a moment of grace. Not so much because I had understood, or heard even, the sermon, but because I finally felt home. It has not been easy to find a parish which feeds my soul. For years, I have been wandering from one watering hole to another. As I look at the masculinity of my denomination, I feel appalled and hopeless. Something to bear. Yesterday, however, despite the lack of gender-sensitivity of the natural environment, I saw two little girls being altar servers. I felt surrounded by other pilgrim souls, resting together at the table for a while and receiving gratefully some sustenance to continue the journey.

Finally, last night, as I read the gospel again, I understood that it came as an answer to a prayer: What better excerpt can help me understand Jesus, love him, and want to follow him? It will feed me for a while until hopefully I grow a bit more like the One who calls us.

 

Illustration found here.

 

 

 

God is love, and whoever remains in love
remains in God and God in him.

1 Jn 4:7-16

Today’s readings were truly beautiful. In Deuteronomy, I was touched by “he brought you out with his strong hand from the place of slavery”… Yes, Godde has brought me out many times throughout my life from various places of slavery. Every bit of Ps 103 was a balm to my spirit: “Bless the Lord, O my soul; all my being, bless her holy name”. Matthew’s gospel, of course, was a time of respite and comfort, “For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”

John’s First letter, however, spoke to my heart — “everyone who loves is begotten by Godde and knows Godde”. Reading the excerpt felt like being caught in a river of grace and love… “Godde remains in her and she in Godde”. Love is a fruit of the Spirit.

It dawned on me, then, that anytime I feel love for someone, or feel the need to love someone better, Godde’s spirit is in me. 

I have noticed that after forty three years of marriage, at times Paul and I are like two porcupines. We like to be close, but when we are too close we prick each other. It is then that I call on love to open my heart and my ears, my eyes and my mind, instead of reinforcing the petulance of my False Self with its need to say the last word.

Not long ago, at a dinner with some very dear friends, we started talking of other friends and I heard myself say things which I had carried within my heart and of which I feel little pride. I was given to see then what I was doing and how I was not the person I would like to be. Since then, I have called on love again to return to Godde and remain in Her.

Love is a source of joy, which nestles somewhere inside my heart. It brings about gratitude and hope, and a certain detachment toward the unpleasantnesses in life. Life and love are so much greater than all the frustrations I do run into.

These past nine days I have prayed the Novena to the Sacred Heart with Sacred Space. Beautiful music, beautiful thoughts. A willingness to turn my heart and mind toward a devotion which feels somewhat foreign to me. Still, as a result I stumbled on the prayer to ask for the grace to know Jesus, to love Him and to follow Him. This prayer itself was a grace for me, for it identified clearly the person I would like to become.

Maybe then the nice moment I had this morning with John’s first letter comes as a gift from the Novena: the feeling that whenever I love and wish I could love, I remain in Godde and She remains in me, and I become part of the divine cosmic dance of the Trinity.

 

Photo: Puerto Rico, where Godde never fails to wait for me when I happen to stop there

 

“When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you…” Mt 6:5-6

We hope we do good things because they come from the heart. The heart is my secret place out of which I act. This is where that Godde sees me. How does this make me feel? Pray As You Go, 18 June 2014

I like to receive my favorite blogs’ latest posts in my inbox. One such blog is Andy Otto’s God In All Things. These past weeks he has been presenting “Desires of the Heart, a 10-week series on Ignatian spirituality and prayer”. In Week 5, he introduced the Colloquy, and he gave the link to the website Pray As You Go (see the link above), “produced by Jesuit Media Initiatives, with material written by a number of Jesuits, both in Britain and further afield.”

I had heard of PAYG before but never had taken the time to check it. The Monday I received Andy’s post, I clicked on the link; I listened and I got hooked. Most days now, I take the time to listen to what has been prepared for the day. The moments of ‘colloquy’, that intimate chat between Godde and the one who prays, which every day are part of the podcast, usually turn out for me to be a very special time with Godde. It’s not very long, but often very intense.

This was the case yesterday. To be honest, the Gospel passage did not stir much in me when my husband and I read it and prayed it with our first coffee that morning. I am quite familiar with it and no great insight came to me then. Later in the day, I went to my room, sat in my chair facing the window, put on my earphones and started to listen to the podcast. The hymn chosen, Here I Am Lord (I come to do your will, Here I am Lord, In your presence I am still), was beautiful and quite moving. After the Gospel passage, a man’s voice started reading the reflection given above. What he said hit me straight in the heart and brought tears to my eyes. 

Of course, Godde sees my heart. Within an instant, I realized that I had no fear to have of Godde’s judgment, because somehow I know that I have an honest heart. My heart says the whole truth about who I truly am. Thus, for one brief moment, thanks to my heart, I experienced Godde’s unconditional love and acceptance of who I am.

Yesterday, and since then, I have been able to connect with a part of myself which somehow had been unknown to me. A soft, gentle, and vulnerable part. I am not quite sure yet how I can line up the rest of my being on it, and I expect to work on this in the weeks to come. Still, what a treat.

So, if you are not reading Andy Otto’s blog yet and if you have never listened to Pray As You Go, you may wish to click on the links and see for yourself.

 

Art: Découpages traditionnels du Pays-d’enHaut, Chateau d’Oex, Switzerland

 

 

God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. Jn 3:16-18

 

“We can only stand in awe-struck silence before such love that is beyond boldest expectation, beyond all telling.”  Karl Rahner

 

[Ignatius] had great devotion to the Most Holy Trinity, and so each day he prayed to the three Persons separately. But as he also prayed to the Most Holy Trinity, the thought came to him: Why did he say four prayers to the Trinity? But this thought gave him little or no difficulty, being hardly important. One day while saying the Office of Our Lady on the steps of the same monastery, his understanding began to be elevated so that he saw the Most Holy Trinity in the form of three musical keys. This brought on so many tears and so much sobbing that he could not control himself. (§28, The Autobiography)

[Note: keys as on a piano. Each produces its own sound, but the three sounds together are one harmony. George E. Ganss, S.J., ed., p. 379]

 

Godde so loved the world… As I read this passage this morning, I felt no desire to go any further. Godde’s love for the world, and for everyone and everything in her creation, is awesome. At last, I have come to believe in Godde’s love for us, for me. 

I owe this experience to Ignatian spirituality, but I can easily imagine encountering Godde’s love through one of the many other paths existing not only in Christianity but in all other religions. 

Believing in that love and experiencing it is a gift which seems to ripple throughout the whole of me. True, I have been longing to experience this love for a long time, sensing that it would change the way I look at my life and those who are part of it.

I find it easy to follow Ignatius’ vision and imagine the Trinity as three keys creating a harmony enchanting one’s heart. I am also taken by the love which flows from Godde to Jesus, and Jesus to Godde with and through the Holy Spirit. I see this love as an energy which invites each one of us to join in, an energy bringing goodness and light, peace and joy, strength and healing.

Godde loves us so that she became human to show us how to love and to live, willing to die of love for us.

As I begin to taste Godde’s love, I feel grateful for the gift and want to respond in kind. All I feel asked for the moment is to be, to revel in this love. Later maybe I will be shown a path to follow, an action to take. 

For the moment, remaining with this love and tasting it is enough.

May Godde’s love touch every cell in your body and invite you to join in the Trinity’s harmony.

 

Illustration: Rubens, The Life of Ignatius, 

Plate 16 Ignatius has a vision of the Trinity while praying at the Dominican church in Manresa

Jesuit Institute

 

… The problem is really the problem of the self that I am busy protecting. All my fears come from concern about the self; all my thrills come from catering to the self. How can I become “unselfed” from the self so that I can attain total freedom?

… As long as [the self] is the focus of attention, we will get nowhere. What we need is the state of thoughtlessness, the state of illumination, or the state of love where we melt into another.

… How do we measure our progress in the spiritual life? The more we get out of our self-love, self-will, and self-interest, the more we progress. Unself the self. “For everyone must keep in mind that in all that concerns the spiritual life his [or her] progress will be in proportion to his surrender of self-love and of his own will and interests” (Sp. Ex. 189)

… [A]s long as I have my self-love, self-will, and self-interest, can I do the will of Christ? The love, the will, and the interests of Christ might be different from mine.

… What Ignatius is trying to bring about is rather the following. If I could mystically identify with Christ, then there are no longer two different interests, there is only one… “[It] is no longer I who live but it is Christ who lives in me” (see Gal. 2:20). That is what can happen on the experiential, mystical, and emotional levels. So there are no longer two interests, just one. Then we have unselfed the self.

Anthony de Mello, Seek God Everywhere, pp. 139-143

Last Spring, after six weeks in Manresa with the Ignatian Immersion Course, I came home with the concept of kenosis, which I tried to develop in a blog on this theme. In a way, if Jesus emptied himself of his divinity to become human (Phil. 2:7-8), we are invited to empty ourselves of our humanness to let the divine in…

I am reading Anthony de Mello’s book with the greatest interest because I am preparing for a thirty-day retreat in the Fall. I want to be ready for what is awaiting me and enter the mystagogy of the Spiritual Exercises.

Anthony de Mello, with his experiences of Eastern and Western spirituality, has a way of using one to explain the other. As I looked for an illustration for this post, I remembered a small Jain statue which represented just the outline of someone which was filled with space. He or she had reached enlightenment and was totally liberated from his or her self.

The idea of unselfing the self amuses me tremendously because I am so very self-involved, and have been for as long as I can remember. In the course of my life, however, every so often when I think, “How does this make me feel?” or “What do I want to do with this?”, the question, “Who is the “me” or the “I” I am talking about?” comes up. It never failed to give me a feeling of lightness and detachment. I can suddenly place a distance between a situation and myself.

Does this mean that I will ever unself my self, that I will indeed become one with Jesus or Godde’s will for me? I do not know. What I know, however, is that I would like to reach this point and had been dreaming of it long before I became a “returning Catholic”. It seemed to be the most beautiful path there is; and I still feel this way today. Hence, my fascination with this section of Anthony de Mello’s book.

 

Art: Sukhi Barber, The Presence of Absence.

[The Jains have an unusual concept in their art of the Siddha Pratima – the realized soul who is represented by a void. For more information on this, see here.]

 

… There is a little phrase from Thomas Merton (1915-1968) that I find very beautiful: “The world of men [and women] has forgotten the joys of silence, the peace of solitude, which is necessary to some extent, for the fullness of human living.” A few lines later Merton adds: “Man [sigh] cannot be happy for long unless he is in contact with the springs of spiritual life which are hidden in the depths of his own soul. If man is exiled constantly from his own home, locked out of his spiritual solitude, he ceases to be a true person.”

There is only one way for people to confront themselves and that is through silence. All of us need to develop a tolerance for silence, a home to ourselves, a place to touch the wellsprings of life inside us. There is nothing as valuable as silence. All of us must go back and be in touch with our inner resources.

There is one passage that I like very much in the Camaldolese Constitutions that reads: “We are frequently cast out from our hearts as the sea casts out a dead body.” This is very vivid and well described. We go into our hearts and are pushed out. We cannot take it. We cannot stay. We cannot be still. Yet as these Constitutions state, “[T]o the quiet and persevering hermit the silence of the cell brings a blessed sweetness and a refreshing sweetness that tastes of paradise.” This can be glorious literature for people who want to escape; even so, it is difficult to deny the truth of it.

Thomas Merton quotes a Syrian monk, in his book Contemplative Prayer: “If you love truth, be a lover of silence. Silence like the sunlight will illuminate you in God and will deliver you from the phantoms of ignorance… In the beginning we have to force ourselves to be silent. But then there is born something that draws us to silence… If only you practice this, untold light will dawn on you in consequence… after a while a certain sweetness is born in the heart of this exercise and the body is drawn almost by force to remain in silence.” All the mystics say that once you get acclimated to silence, there is a great sweetness in it.

Anthony de Mello, Seek God Everywhere, pp 1-2

I have often felt drawn to silence, as a place of refuge really. Still, until now, I have remained an unreliable friend. Until recently. During a retreat our small community gave, the need for silence became obvious to me: silence within myself, silence between and around us. A silence to enfold all of us for the length of our weekend.

I know the sound and feel of silence because I live part of the year in an old house, filled with silence, a silence so present you can touch it, a sort of holy bubble.

My new beginnings in silence have shown me that I need to step away from my favorite addiction: Internet. At the end of the day, when I review it, I recognize where I find the taste of honey, that taste which comes from feeling good about myself. “Real books” do that; a series of skimmed articles online don’t.

My times of silent prayer are humbling moments as Richard Rohr says so well in Finding God in the Depths of Silence (you may also want to listen to a lecture he gave last year on the same topic). But then, I seem to feel humbled quite often these days, finding myself never quite as wise or knowledgeable as I would like to think I am.

Silence is my latest adventure, my new Camino, as I am forever longing to join the One who calls each one of us. Silence is also like a beautiful pool of turquoise water with a diamond waiting to be found at the bottom…

Art: Zen photography of Thomas Merton

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. — Marianne Williamson, A Return To Love, 190

During our Ignatian Way day in Bossey, yesterday, this reading was given to us, as a companion to the famous passage in Matthew’s Gospel on the salt of the earth and the light of the world (5:13-16), which goes this way:

“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

Our small group shared some good thoughts on this theme. Several of us had made sure, at one point of their life or another, especially when we were younger, not to shine, not to be the best we could. Not to be all that Godde made us to be.

My own time of prayer brought me a great peace in which I saw how good it is to give glory to Godde by being the salt of the earth or the light of the word (however little salt or a small light it may be). By stepping up to the plate, as some of my American friends would say.

The list of who I am in the eyes of Godde is slowly growing. Apart from being a ‘loved sinner’, a temple of Godde, a beloved daughter, or one of Godde’s many faces on earth, I can now add ‘giving glory to Godde’ by answering her invitation to grow in love and wisdom. And so can each one of us. How glorious this all is!

Art: found on Pinterest

 

 

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