(based on the reading for Oct 31)
‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Matthew 22: 37-39, Mark 12: 29-31)
Spinning Woman God
You sit, spinning at the loom of life.
Your deep-creased, contented smile
Blessing each creative movement
As you fashion the fabric of existence.
You stretch out long rainbow threads
Throughout varied layers of the universe.
Fibers of clouds, skies, and sailing planets,
Black holes and strands of silvery starlight,
All come alive at your ancient touch
As you spin the royal pattern of your love.
Today: I spin a pattern of love into the day.
Joyce Rupp, Fragments of Your Ancient Name, Oct 21
We know God through the things that God has made. The first foundation of any true religious seeing is, quite simply, learning how to see and love what is. Contemplation is meeting reality in its most simple and direct form unjudged, unexplained, and uncontrolled!
If we don’t know how to love what’s right in front of us, then we don’t know how to see what is. So we must start with a stone! We move from the stone to the plant world and learn how to appreciate growing things and see God in them. In all of the natural world, we see the vestigia Dei, which means the fingerprints or footprints of God.
Perhaps once we can see God in plants and animals, we might learn to see God in our neighbors. And then we might learn to love the world.
The Two Great Commandments in Aramaic
Detrahm l’marya Alahak
men kuleh lebak
wa men kuleh naphshak
wa men kuleh haylak
wa men kuleh rewhyanak…
Detrahm laqriybak ayk naphshak.
From the deepest part of yourself, let love be born for the rays of the One that shine around you…
Let this come from your whole heart- the center of your life: your passion, courage, and audacity- and touch your whole subconscious self- that instinctive soul within which scatters and gathers.
From this self, liberate your whole animal energy and life force to flood your entire grasping mind with love.
This is the most important command – the first creative movement that empowers all others. The second is like it:
Draw a breath of compassion for the one mysteriously drawn to live near you: love that friend as your love the self that dwells within – the subconscious that sometimes feels separate and intruding.
As God’s light enters, the self loves it more and finds spiritual joy in everyday life. Ultimately, the division between self and God disappears: the self is found to be nothing other than the soul, a ray of the divine light that is never born and never dies. It is at this point that the mystic might say, with Meister Eckhart: “I see now that the eyes through which I see God are the eyes through which God sees me.”
Neil Douglas-Klotz, Prayers of the Cosmos, pp.79-82
adapted from Sr. Anne Arabome, Ignatius Spiritual Exercises for Women
Just relax. Settle into a comfortable position. Pay attention to your breathing. Breathe in and out slowly.
Imagine yourself about to begin climbing a flight of stairs. As you approach the staircase, begin to feel love, feel the greatest love, feel Divine love, however you imagine your God to be, feel that presence – Jesus, Spirit, Sophia, Light. Just feel the presence of your God of love. Divine love is here. Love is with you, here and now. Love is real and is present in your life. Divine love is sharing love with you. Love is connecting you with the Divine. Love is sharing everything with you as God’s beloved
Now imagine yourself as you place your feet on the first step and begin to imagine your giftedness, your own giftedness, how richly blessed you are, the many gifts that you have received and that have made you the woman (or man) that you are today. The boundless, bottomless, and incomprehensible love that loved you into life. Imagine how much Divine love has given you and continues to give you. Everything is yours. The love of God. Continue to breathe in and out as you feel this love.
Now imagine that you are moving higher, on the next step. Imagine the world around you. You are not alone. There is a vast tableau of creation that enfolds you and of which you are a part. But that’s not all. You and creation are lovingly fashioned by Divine love. Divine love fills you with life and love. Divine love holds, nurtures, and sustains you in life.
Now, take another step up the stairs. Imagine Divine love surrounding you with everything you need in life and existence, giving you birth, animating everything around you, quickening creatures into life so that you can be nourished and sustained by them. Imagine Divine love as Divine Worker, who does everything for you and delights that you are alive, that you are here and now. Continue to breathe in, to feel your breath as love, as life.
Take one step higher. Look around you and see the vast and immense expanse of your giftedness. Why are you so gifted? Why are you so beautiful? Why are you so unique? Imagine where all this is coming from. It is coming from the inexhaustible source of Divine love. Imagine Divine love constantly, endlessly, lavishly pouring gifts upon gifts, love upon love, compassion upon compassion, everything on you, for you to enjoy. Stay in this moment. Don’t be in a hurry to move on. Enjoy and relish Divine love enfolding you in an infinite embrace.
You can become aware of your giftedness and successes, your challenges and accomplishments. God’s presence is neither dormant nor indifferent. God is active in every moment and in all the dimensions of your life. You are not defined and confined by the choices of your past. No, you are free and open to the future of God’s purpose for you.
You begin to see God in all things. You find this God suffused in creation itself. The creation is personal, and this awareness begins to fill you with gratitude. Gratitude becomes your point of departure for your spirituality and your way of being and seeing. You see creation in a new way. Not just a beautiful, vast, lovely world, but the world that is charged with the grandeur of God. Your being, your uniqueness, and creation become personal gifts leading to gratitude. What it could mean for you?