When love is torn and trust betrayed,
pray strength to love till torments fade,
till lovers keep no score of wrong,
but hear through pain love’s Easter song.

When Love Is Found

We completed a two-part homily series on Marriage this past weekend and I was taken back by a particular verse in a song we sang and how it spoke in such a piercingly beautiful way to the challenge of marriage and the evolving nature of our lives as couples.

Take a moment and reflect on that verse and remember that true healing comes from the Lord.  I invite you to view the video adaptation of Casting Crowns song Broken Together.

God and Community

Life is more than just us. Individualism, while not bad in and of itself, misses the essence of what love was created to be lived in – community. God is a flow of living relationships, a trinity, a family of life that we can enter, taste, breathe within, and let flow through us.

Scripture says, “God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in them.” Too often, we miss what that means because we tend to romanticize love and can easily miss the sense of what this text means. It might best be rendered this way: “God is community, family, parish, friendship, hospitality and whoever abides in these abides in God and God abides in him or her.”

God is a trinity, a flow of relationships among persons. If this is true, and scripture assures us that it is, then the realities of dealing with each other in community, at the dinner-table, over a bottle of wine or an argument, not to mention the simple giving and receiving of hospitality are not a pure, secular experiences but the stuff of church, the place where the life of God flows through us.

God can be known, experienced, tasted, related to in love and friendship. God is Someone and Something that we live within and which can flow through our veins. God is a flow of relationships to be experienced in community, family, parish, friendship, and hospitality. When we live inside of these relationships, God lives inside of us and we live inside of God. Scripture assures us that we abide in God whenever we stay inside of family, community, parish, friendship, hospitality – and, yes, even when we fall in love.

This has huge consequences for how we should understand the religious experience. It means that in coming to know God, the dinner-table is more important than the theology classroom, the practice of grateful hospitality is more important than the practice of right dogma, and meeting with others to pray as a community can give us something that long hours in private meditation (or, indeed, long years spent absent from church-life) cannot. Finally, importantly, it tells us that, God is community – and only in opening our lives in gracious hospitality will we ever understand that.

(Adapted from excerpts of Fr. Ron Rolheiser, Finding God in Community, 2001)

Strengthened in Stillness

Be still and know that I am God!” (Psalm 46:11)

In the noise and distractions of everyday life, we can find it difficult and uncomfortable to be in silence. Fr. Ron Rolheiser notes “Achieving stillness seems beyond us and this leaves us with a certain dilemma, we need stillness to find God, but we need God’s help to find stillness.”

The disordered world continues to challenge faith. We seem to either see God as distant in chaos or in chaos choose to distance ourselves from him. When we find ourselves feeling distant from him, it is at this moment we should find a place where we can be still in silence.

Fr. Rolheiser tell us that silence creates the space for itself. “Sometimes when we feel powerless to speak words that are meaningful, when we have to back off into unknowing and helplessness, but remain in the situation, silence creates the space that’s needed for a deeper happening to occur.”

In that moment of stillness, I have found comfort in reflecting on the words of this prayer:  “Lord, still my heart so that I may know that you are God, that I may know that you create and sustain my every breath, that you breathe the whole universe into existence every second, that everyone, myself no less than everyone else, is your beloved, that you want our lives to flourish, that you desire our happiness, that nothing falls outside your love and care, and that everything and everybody is safe in your gentle, caring hands, in this world and the next.

The Better Part of Us – The Reason for Hope

Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you. (1 Peter 3:15)

Again . . . we are inundated with horrific pictures of the senseless loss of life. How in the midst of this carnage can we possible have any hope? It is often in the pain of life that an indelible aspect of our better nature pours forth. In the moments when our survival instincts kick in, an amazing other response occurred. A love of others, an effort to care for those less fortunate, a seeing beyond one’s self interest propelled countless stories of heroic action.

While my vocational call compels me to speak to the hope I carry in the One Truth that is the source of all love, I forever hold on to the knowledge that in our most challenge times, the better part of what we have been created to be comes forth. This will forever give me hope that we can become a better people, a better community, and a better nation.