COMMUNITY........ All Saints Day…Affirmation: We need our ancestors, guides, and fellow travelers in this work of the Spirit.....a Community of Faith ……………………MARK 12:28-34…Many think of religion, with all its Commandments, as a burdensome straitjacket. This may have been true, in some sense, of the Judaism in Jesus' day, and it is sometimes true today among people who claim to belong to God. Jesus wanted to correct this false understanding of True Faith. He summed up the numerous Jewish Laws in two simple but profound Commandments: Love God totally and love others as much as we love ourself. If these two thoughts rule our heart and mind, we will be well along the Path of Spiritual Transformation. (The Life Recovery Bible)
REFLECTION: Circle of Faith.
If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors. All of them are alive in this moment. Each is present in your body. You are the continuation of each of these people. (Thich Nhat Hanh)
The spiritual practice of love builds community, as do kindness and gratitude and prayer.
Community is created and renewed when individuals act in love and serve each other.
Prayer is the rippling tide of love which flows secretly from God into the soul and draws it mightily back to its source. (Mechthild of Magdeburg)
"Life is like a bottle of wine. Some are content to just read the label. Some drink the wine." (Tony DeMello)
Which are we? Do we participate fully in life and share God's love with others? Are we inebriated with Redemption?
The challenge is to stop reading the labels----or labeling one another----and to drink deeply of each experience, each day, and each one's stories. This affords us the opportunity to see each of those with whom we are in relationship as a lifeline to the deeper mysteries of life where all are connected.
God draws us together to embrace eternal possibilities that God has in store for us: a place where all are welcome and all find a home. Each day offers us a new beginning to set our feet as pilgrims on the path to find again this place. It is the Spirit of God, the very breath of God that leads us to this place.
The path depends more on Enlivening the Web of Connection that will allow the Everlasting Source to sustain Itself and us, the way blood circulates through the body. ("Making Connections" Joseph Nassal, Fall, 2009)
As Jesus' disciples, our love of others needs to be not just within the community of disciples but outward to all humanity. This embrace of our human family leads to greater knowledge and acceptance of ourselves. As Jesus instructs this embrace of the family calls for us to love our neighbor as ourselves. To do this authentically, we need to set aside or transcend our own selfish interests and delusions of self-importance.
The command to "love your neighbor as yourself" is a very simple concept. One does not need a degree in philosophy or theology to realize that if all of us would follow it consistently, virtually all violence, war, racial prejudice, and political and economic injustice would disappear from our planet overnight. The perfection of God's reign would just that suddenly appear in our midst. The concept may be simple enough, but the headlines in our daily papers and our nightly newscasts make it obvious we humans "don't get it."
To love is "to will the good of another." The definition implies that we need to make the effort to actively seek the good of the other as the circumstances dictate. It is not enough simply to think nice thoughts or have warm feelings toward another. (James 2:15-16) Nor is it enough to "will the good of another" only when it is convenient or does not involve any sacrifice of personal interests. Jesus taught that "no one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friend." (John 15:13)
Dear God, help us to see our true Spiritual condition. The key is Your first commandment. And we do know it. All our good works, all our prayers, all our righteous words can mask a barren love-relationship with You. We know to love You with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our mind and with all our strength. Help us to love with all that is in us. Help us then to love others the way that Jesus taught. Come, Holy Spirit, renew our willingness to participate in life this very day. Thank You, Three-in-One God. Amen.
"By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:35) …Jim Savage