Monday, April 23, 2012

Being your (true) self

"Each of us is... called to be the unique and original self that we are in God," wrote Dr. David Benner in his amazing book, Opening to God: Lectio Divina and Life as Prayer. This is a theme that runs through all worthwhile Christian spirituality. It is also why it is important not to pretend before God. It (should) go without saying that we can't fool God. We can (easily) fool ourselves and, if we're honest, we are forced to concede that we often do. So, an essential part of being your unique and original self in God, which is, to cite Pater Tom (Merton), becoming who you are, who God created, redeemed, and is now sanctifying you to be, is realizing and acknowledging how falsely you often live, how little awareness you normally have of living authentically.

We exist because "God is love" (1 John 4:8.16). Therefore, we exist in order to love. Holiness is nothing other than  loving others and yourself as God loves them and you. God's love for us was manifested not only in the birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ, but by Christ's sending the Holy Spirit. Expanding a bit on my Sunday reflection on the New Testament reading, which added insight is heavily influenced by having watched the amazing 2004 Swedish movie Så som i himmelen (i.e., As It Is in Heaven), Saturday night, we must be convinced of what Scripture tells us, that "God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him" (John 3:17- ESV). The Father saves the world by sending His Only Begotten Son, who, in turn, saves the world by empowering His followers with the Holy Spirit and sending them, that is , us!

God is love's beginning and end because "God is love." Hence, when we truly love others we are loving God. What else can Jesus have meant when He said that when we serve those in need we are serving Him (Matt. 25:40- ESV)? Benner went on to write, "A heart that is genuinely open to love is a heart that is genuinely open to God - whether the person recognizes this to be true or not - and this is why acts of love are acts of prayer. As with love, the origin and the end of prayer is God. Our role with prayer, as with love, is to allow it to flow through us rather than block its flow." It is only by losing our lives for Christ's sake that we are saved. This paradox extends to the fact it is only by losing ourselves that we first discover and then become who we truly are, who God passionately wants us to be: Spirit-filled people on fire with the love of God.

1 comment:

  1. This is a beautiful reflection. Let our actions be as individual steps along a path of decades of beads...


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