Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transparent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world. ~ Sara Ban Breathnach

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Feasting with the Call to Love

Genuine love is so contrary to human nature that its presence bears witness to an extraordinary power. ~ John Piper

What we love usually manages to get into our conversation. What is down in the well of the heart will come up in the bucket of the speech. ~ Vance Havner

Lastly: Love, and do what you like. ~ St. Augustine

One Bread One Body by John Michael Talbot

Macrina doesn't waste time getting to the crux of her thoughts this morning.
"What does it mean to love? How do we spread this table in our hearts?" (Macrina Wiederkehr, A Tree Full of Angels, p 141)
In talking with couples asking to be married, I have often used thoughts of Gary Chapman from The Five Love Languages. Chapman begins talking how our culture has diluted the meaning of "love."

We "love" our children. We "love" the color red. We "love" fried chicken. We "love" the Indianapolis Colts. We "love"..... you get the idea.

Macrina expands on Chapman's thoughts by saying she believes "love" also suffers from underuse as a virtue.
"I would so like for my love to bear at least some faint resemblance to the love of Jesus. In my meditations this morning my thoughts returned to Sister Maggie, who died last year at the age of 83. On the morning of the day she died she walked into our superior's office and asked an amazing question. 'How do you love?' Sister Louise wasn't prepared for this one...What a wonderful question to still be asking when you're 83. What a wonderful question to be asking on the day you die." (Ibid)
My heart nearly stops as I read of Sister Maggie. Yes, I understand Macrina's thoughts of how wonderful...

I am reminded of sitting with my uncle this past February as he approached his time of passing to be with God.  This man was one of the most gentle, kindest, thoughtful men I had ever known.  I know he had a deep faith, yet he was a quiet individual who didn't wear his thoughts/beliefs on his sleeve. One morning, after a particularly difficult night my uncle took my hand and grabbed my full attention then asked, "What if it is a lie? What if everything I and you have said we believe is a lie?"
"Sister Louise spoke to Maggie about the love of Jesus, pointing out to her some of the ways Jesus loved. And then Sister Maggie burst forth with a cry of the heart that would probably be our own cry if we were able to check the depths of our hearts. 'Oh,' she said, 'I want to love. I want to love like that.' She died that evening. 
"I have a vision of God hearing her cry and saying, 'If she wants to love she's not going to learn it here, so I'll take her to my own heart.'" (Ibid)
I wonder how I can dare ask the harder questions, with such heart felt intensity that my uncle and Sister Maggie asked?

I ask questions... I am continually questioning and wondering... Yet, I wonder if these two people, asked from a deeper place?  I want to be able to dig down into the very depths of my heart...

How do you love?

These deeper questions ask for a deeper response.  Not a pat on the hand and a simple answer one might give a child.

Macrina challenges me to consider these questions that come from the depths of my heart where I normally do not dig.
"What do we see when we look into our families, our communities, our hearts? What do we see when we look into the faces of our parents, our sisters and brothers, our friends? Let's not wait until we're 83 to ask, 'How do you love?' Are we teaching one another what love is? I'm not sure of very much in life. I don't have a lot of ready answers, and I still do much wondering and pondering, but there's one thing of which I am certain. WE OUGHT NOT DIE UNTIL WE LEARN TO LOVE. Life doesn't work without love." (Ibid)
What does it mean to love like Jesus?

As a Christian, I believe I love, yet... and here comes the harder, the deeper question..... I am working on a 9/11 Remembrance Service.  Sitting with Macrina's thoughts, harder questions arise for me...

How do I love someone who I don't particularly like?

How do I love someone I don't know?

How do I love someone who doesn't love me?

How do I love someone who wishes me harm or even professes hatred toward me?

It is very easy to love my family and my friends. Even when I am "upset" with them, I still love them.

It is easy for me to "love" the needy among me...I send money or food, or clothing...but, Lord, I don't go live among them nor do I invite them into my home.

 I love from my abundance, it doesn't hurt or cost me to love.

That, I think, was the deeper question Sister Maggie was asking.  Honestly? I'm afraid to ask that question because I'm pretty sure I don't want to consider the response.

Today, I'm not ending my journaling with a warm fuzzy feeling.  Instead, this morning, I will carry the question of "How do I love?" with me throughout my day. Still, even in my unsettledness, I feel confident of God's love for me! Praise be to God!

Mark 14 never fails to stir my heart, but this morning vs 22-24

 22 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take it; this is my body.” 23 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank from it.
   24 “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,” he said to them. 25 “Truly I tell you, I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”

Even as I hold the hard questions...the deeper questions...I will also hold these words in my heart today and I will be glad.

Third Day
Children of God by Third Day

Lord, you showed us how to love, but I'm not sure my small heart can stretch as wide and as open as yours. Today, as I go about my day, open my eyes so that I might see as you me to love as you love. AMEN.

Many Blessings ~ Sandi


  1. Hi Sandi,
    My first visit to your blog, its beautiful...
    I think loving is in letting go!!
    The more you attach yourself to something the more that thing gets away...
    Have a fabulous week ahead:)

  2. oh, I was pondering my response when I read Arti's and I believe he couldn't have said it better. a calm detachment is working for me. that doesn't mean not feeling, it means not being invested in any particular outcome. it means simply "being". and accepting. but I love your questions. I think they're beautiful, and find myself wondering what/how you responded to your Uncle's question. we really have no answers I guess. that's what makes the mystery of faith so beautiful. happy day to you Sandi. thanks for the uplifting thoughts.

  3. I'm glad I read the answer to what you told your uncle first. It really takes a lot of courage to ask that question in his position. It speaks well of his trust and confidence in you. The questioning must be an inherited trait. ;) I am glad I have found your writings. They remind me of questions I have put away. Must be time to ask them again. blessings ~ tanna