Daily Riches: Practicing the Presence … Vertical and Horizontal (J. I. Packer, Pete Scazzero, Jean Vanier)

“We only honor God as we honor his image in the other person by practical love to that person, whoever he or she may be: rich or poor, strong or weak, red or yellow, black or white, conventional or wild, respectable or rough, significant or unimportant in the community. To put it the other way round, honoring and loving God means refusing one’s natural inclination to withhold love and honor from people whom one finds awkward, repellent, and inconvenient.” J. I. Packer

“As emotionally mature Christian adults, we recognize that loving well is the essence of true spirituality. This requires that we experience connection with God, with ourselves, and with other people. God invites us to practice his presence in our daily lives. At the same time, he invites us to ‘practice the presence of people,’ within an awareness of his presence, in our daily relationships. Sadly, the two are rarely brought together. Jesus’ profound, contemplative prayer life with his Father resulted in a contemplative presence with people. Love is ‘to reveal the beauty of another person to themselves,’ wrote Jean Vanier. Jesus did that with each person he met. We see this in his interaction with the woman suffering from a twelve-year bleeding problem (Mark 5). This ability to really listen and pay attention to people was at the very heart of Jesus’ mission, and it could not help but move him to compassion. In the same way, out of our contemplative time with God, we too are invited to be prayerfully present to people, revealing their beauty to them.” Pete Scazzero

“… the one who does not love his brother
whom he has seen,
cannot love God
whom he has not seen.”
1 John 4:20

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Do you find that you are naturally included “to withhold love and honor from people whom you find awkward, repellent, and inconvenient?” Yeah, me too.
  • Loving well requires being “present” to God and people, yet “sadly, the two are rarely brought together.” Do you work at both?
  • Do you see loving well in this way as the “essence of true spirituality?” Have you perhaps put something else first?

Abba, most of all, let me love.

For More: Christianity the True Humanism by J. I. Packer

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

Daily Riches: Love Begins With Not Judging Others (Henri Nouwen, Ram Dass, Thomas Merton and Jean Vanier) *

“When you go out into the woods and you look at trees, you see all these different trees. And some of them are bent, and some of them are straight ….And you look at the tree and you allow it. …You sort of understand that it didn’t get enough light, and so it turned that way. And you don’t get all emotional about it. You just allow it. You appreciate the tree. The minute you get near humans, you lose all that. And you are constantly saying ‘You’re too this, or I’m too this.’ That judging mind comes in. And so I practice turning people into trees. Which means appreciating them just the way they are.” Ram Dass20131018_164446

“We spend an enormous amount of energy making up our minds about other people. Not a day goes by without somebody doing or saying something that evokes in us the need to form an opinion about him or her. We hear a lot, see a lot, and know a lot. The feeling that we have to sort it all out in our minds and make judgments about it can be quite oppressive. The desert fathers said that judging others is a heavy burden, while being judged by others is a light one. Once we can let go of our need to judge others, we will experience an immense inner freedom. Once we are free from judging, we will be also free for mercy.” Henri Nouwen

“The beginning of love is the will to let those we love be perfectly themselves, the resolution not to twist them to fit our own image.” Thomas Merton

“To love someone is … to reveal to them their beauty and value, to say, ‘You’re beautiful. You’re important.'” Jean Vanier

“Or how can you say to your brother, Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’
when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye?” – Jesus

Moving From Head to Heart

  • God’s job is to judge, and ours is to love. Can you leave the judging to God? could that free you to love? free you “for mercy?”
  • Can you start by letting others be “perfectly themselves?” If not, why not?
  • How effective are you at revealing to others that they’re “beautiful … important?”

Abba, help me love well by appreciating instead of evaluating.

_________________________________________________

These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

 

Daily Riches: Vulnerability and Love (Jean Vanier, Pamela Cushing and Ernest Becker) *

“The gem of inspiration at the heart of L’Arche [a model community for people with developmental disabilities] is that mutual relationships with those who are vulnerable open us up to the discovery of our common humanity. In this way, [Jean Vanier] names human imperfection as a gift, and an opportunity. Imperfection and weakness can draw people closer together, for instance in solidarity around someone who has been hurt and needs help.

Vulnerability can move others to give more of themselves, or to open up and reveal their own shortcomings. Strength and mastery can be impressive, yet they tend to divide people in competition and the regular disappointment of not measuring up. “I am struck by how sharing our weakness and difficulties is more nourishing to others than sharing our qualities and successes. …The weak teach the strong to accept and integrate the weakness and brokenness of their own lives.” Pamela Cushing quoting Jean Vanier

“Sharing life with marginalized people galvanized Vanier’s understanding that to serve others well requires us to move beyond charity and tolerance. He recognized the hubris that grows when a helper imagines himself as somehow superior or separate from those he serves. He learned how much better help feels to the person in need when animated by a sense of solidarity and common humanity than help driven merely by a sense of duty.” Cushing

 “In everything I did, I showed you
that by this kind of hard work
we must help the weak,
 remembering the words
the Lord Jesus himself said:
 ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”
the Apostle Paul in Acts 20:35

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Imagine, “human weakness and imperfection” as a gift – an opportunity. Can you welcome your own weaknesses and imperfections as gifts or opportunities?
  • Can you see how loving solidarity with, and care for, the poor can help you avoid the pitfall of hubris? to remind you that you are just a “homo sapien, standard vintage?” (Ernest Becker)
  • Out of your shared weakness, you can “nourish” others. Will you do that?

Abba, help me move beyond charity and tolerance in my love for Others who seem more needy than me.

__________

For More:  Community and Growth by Jean Vanier

_________________________________________________

These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: “Practicing the Presence” (Peter Scazzero and Thomas Merton)

“As emotionally mature Christian adults, we recognize that loving well is the essence of true spirituality. This requires that we experience connection with God, with ourselves, and with other people. God invites us to practice his presence in our daily lives. At the same time, he invites us “to practice the presence of people,” within an awareness of his presence, in our daily relationships. The two are rarely brought together. Jesus’ profound, contemplative prayer life with his Father resulted in a contemplative presence with people. Love is ‘to reveal the beauty of another person to themselves,’ wrote Jean Vanier. Jesus did that with each person he met. We see this in his interaction with the woman with a twelve year bleeding problem in Mark 5. This ability to really listen and pay attention to people was at the very heart of his mission. It could not help but move him to compassion. In the same way, out of our contemplative time with God, we too, are invited to be prayerfully present to people, revealing their beauty to themselves. The religious leaders of Jesus’ day, the ‘church leaders’ of that time, never made that connection.” Peter Scazzero

“Our contemplative practice is a ‘laboratory’ in which we learn to die to our passing emotions and thoughts and to receive the always-permanent Divine gaze. The rest of our life becomes the field in which we live out this participation in Love, bouncing back the gaze of grace to the Other and then having plenty left over for all others besides.” Richard Rohr

“But the goal of our instruction is love….” 1 Timothy 1:5

Moving From Head to Heart

  • When you think of the “essence of true spirituality”, to you think first of “loving well?”
  • Does being “present” to God make you more effective at being “present” to others?  and vice versa? Does either increase your compassion?
  • Is your love for others what is “left over” from your “participation in Love” with God?
  • Have you tried a contemplative approach to your faith? If not, what is stopping you?

Abba, teach me to receive and return your loving gaze as a starting point in being a person who loves.

__________

For More: The Daily Office by Peter Scazzero

_________________________________________________

These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God, and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. Thanks!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: I See Men Like Trees Walking (Henri Nouwen, Ram Dass, Thomas Merton and Jean Vanier)

“When you go out into the woods and you look at trees, you see all these different trees. And some of them are bent, and some of them are straight ….And you look at the tree and you allow it. …You sort of understand that it didn’t get enough light, and so it turned that way. And you don’t get all emotional about it. You just allow it. You appreciate the tree. The minute you get near humans, you lose all that. And you are constantly saying ‘You’re too this, or I’m too this.’ That judging mind comes in. And so I practice turning people into trees. Which means appreciating them just the way they are.” Ram Dass20131018_164446

“We spend an enormous amount of energy making up our minds about other people. Not a day goes by without somebody doing or saying something that evokes in us the need to form an opinion about him or her. We hear a lot, see a lot, and know a lot. The feeling that we have to sort it all out in our minds and make judgments about it can be quite oppressive. The desert fathers said that judging others is a heavy burden, while being judged by others is a light one. Once we can let go of our need to judge others, we will experience an immense inner freedom. Once we are free from judging, we will be also free for mercy.” Henri Nouwen

“The beginning of love is the will to let those we love be perfectly themselves, the resolution not to twist them to fit our own image.” Thomas Merton

“To love someone is … to reveal to them their beauty and value, to say, ‘You’re beautiful. You’re important.'” Jean Vanier

“Or how can you say to your brother, Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’
when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye?” – Jesus

Moving From Head to Heart

  • God’s job is to judge, and ours is to love. Can you leave the judging to God? could that free you to love? free you “for mercy?”
  • Can you start by letting others be “perfectly themselves?” If not, why not?
  • How effective are you at revealing to others that they’re “beautiful … important?”

Abba, help me love well by appreciating instead of evaluating.

_________________________________________________

Thanks for reading! –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

 

Daily Riches: Vulnerability and Love (Jean Vanier, Pamela Cushing and Ernest Becker)

“The gem of inspiration at the heart of L’Arche [a model community for people with developmental disabilities] is that mutual relationships with those who are vulnerable open us up to the discovery of our common humanity. In this way, [Jean Vanier] names human imperfection as a gift, and an opportunity. Imperfection and weakness can draw people closer together, for instance in solidarity around someone who has been hurt and needs help.

Vulnerability can move others to give more of themselves, or to open up and reveal their own shortcomings. Strength and mastery can be impressive, yet they tend to divide people in competition and the regular disappointment of not measuring up. “I am struck by how sharing our weakness and difficulties is more nourishing to others than sharing our qualities and successes. …The weak teach the strong to accept and integrate the weakness and brokenness of their own lives.” Pamela Cushing quoting Jean Vanier

“Sharing life with marginalized people galvanized Vanier’s understanding that to serve others well requires us to move beyond charity and tolerance. He recognized the hubris that grows when a helper imagines himself as somehow superior or separate from those he serves. He learned how much better help feels to the person in need when animated by a sense of solidarity and common humanity than help driven merely by a sense of duty.” Cushing

 “In everything I did, I showed you
that by this kind of hard work
we must help the weak,
 remembering the words
the Lord Jesus himself said:
 ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”
the Apostle Paul in Acts 20:35

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Imagine, “human weakness and imperfection” as a gift – an opportunity. Can you welcome your own weaknesses and imperfections as gifts or opportunities?
  • Can you see how loving solidarity with, and care for, the poor can help you avoid the pitfall of hubris? to remind you that you are just a “homo sapien, standard vintage?” (Ernest Becker)
  • Out of your shared weakness, you can “nourish” others. Will you do that?

Abba, help me move beyond charity and tolerance in my love for Others who seem more needy than me.

__________

For More:  Community and Growth by Jean Vanier

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In “Daily Riches” my goal is to give you something of uncommon value each day. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)