The Love We Share
10.17.22 God’s Love Shared
Following Jesus means to gradually give up the cultural conditioning, our family’s desires for us, and our own damaged self-image—all the trauma and difficulties in our lives–so that we can become untainted vehicles of God’s love and forgiveness. It is often a long process, but one that is rewarding as we follow Him, because He is showing us, bit by bit, the burdens that were placed on us in our childhood that can be lightened and off-loaded from our shoulders now [Matthew 11:28-30]. The reason we have to give up our hurts, our fears, and our agendas, is so that we can cast aside any impediments to loving as God loves and then we can share God’s love with the world. It is not the human kind of love with its preferences and judgments. It is divine love for all the people created in His image that are to share with others. Giving up all we think about our lives and how they should proceed allows us to link with God in love and forgiveness, in His purpose and caring.
Here’s how Fr. Richard Rohr sees loving God: “The first commandment is that we should love God more than anything else. The only way I know how to love God is to love what God loves; only then do we love with divine love and allow it to flow through us.” So, if God loves all the people created in His image, then we should love them, too. If God loves the whole of His creation—the plants, the animals, the planets and stars—then we should love them, too. What if everywhere we look, we see God’s hand in forming each tree, mountain, squirrel, etc.? What if, in every person we meet, we see God in this person and in that one, too? Then, everywhere we go, in everything we do, each person, each tree and animal, mountain, etc., God is present to us.
Our gaze everywhere would be a reflection of God’s image to us—every single thing we see is something that God put on this planet. Wouldn’t the wonder and joy of this participation of God in all of creation be with us always? Wouldn’t we look forward to rising every morning in order to see what greets us? Wouldn’t we be at peace with all of creation, because God made it this way? Oh, the joy and wonder and peace and love we would live in and then give out to the world! And reflected in that joy and wonder and peace and love would be our purpose, where God is asking us to serve.
How many people find their purpose in the very thing that has caused them the most pain and suffering? Former alcoholics in AA, former homeless people, parents who raised disabled children, those who suffered trauma in serving in the armed forces and recovered from PTSD, those immigrants who found their way in a hostile country, those raised in hell-fire-and-damnation churches, and so many more trauma-induced experiences in people’s lives. Who do we turn to when your suffering overcomes us? The person who has been there/done that. They are the “experts” on how one goes through and overcomes that situation. Oh, there are lots of people who advise others who suffer but they have no idea, no experience in how to overcome the pain—they only do lots of harm.
So what have you overcome by giving it over to God? What expertise in what area of your life have you gained by overcoming and healing the tragic parts of your life? If you’re like me, the hell-fire-and-damnation church of my childhood was the worst thing I’ve ever gone through. By the time I was in my teens, to me God was a raven sitting on my shoulder ready to zap me for anything I did wrong. But that very big pain in my life drove me to find a God I could love, because I was so attached to the negative image of God I had been taught. And yet God was there with me in my pain, accompanying me through my life, leading me to a more positive image of God. By the time I found peace from that past teaching, I was ready to help people who were struggling with their spiritual lives. So when I heard about spiritual direction training being offered to lay people, I ran to sign up. And later, God led me to a writing career based on the lens of a spiritual director: how do I, how do we live this life in Christ? It took me a long time to get here, but the work is the most fulfilling I have ever done. And, while I never had a career other than as a wife and mother, I now have an engaging career well past retirement age. What a blessing it is!
I hope that you are aware of how God is leading you or has led you to healing of the worst you’ve been through and how that has led you into helping people with similar challenges. For that is the most fulfilling work you will do. Out of your sad experience comes the joy of helping others get through the same kind of difficulties.
Questions to ponder over the week: Do you see God in all the creation? In all the creatures? In every other person? What trauma has God led you to heal in your life? What have you learned/seen in that healing?
Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who experience Him in every bit of creation, including the people, the plants, and the animals. May we be healed of all the trauma we have experienced and apply the lessons learned to our lives and to help others.
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- I am giving away a 10-week journaling guide to Jesus’s Two Great Commandments. If you are interested, email me at email@example.com and I will send it to you, free of charge.
- My latest books, “Called to Help the Poor and Needy” and “A Study Guide to the Beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount” are now in bookstores and on line. The first is about the more than 2,000 verses in the Bible which detail God’s instructions for caring for those in need. The second is a journaling/pondering guide to Jesus’s most complete sermon.
 Fr. Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation, 10.5.22 “Loving Things in Themselves”