Our cup of sorrow and joy, when lifted for others to see and celebrate, becomes a cup to life . . . Mostly, we are willing to look back at our lives and say: "I am grateful for the good things that brought me to this place.” But when we lift our cup to life, we must dare to say: "I am grateful for all that has happened to me and led me to this moment. This gratitude which embraces all or our past is what makes our life a true gift for others, because this gratitude erases bitterness, resentments, regret, and revenge as well as all jealousies and rivalries. It transforms our past into a fruitful gift for the future, and makes our life, all of it, into a life that gives life.
It is not easy to distinguish between doing what we are called to do and doing what we want to do. Our many wants can easily distract us from our true action. True action leads us to the fulfillment of our vocation. . . . Actions that lead to overwork, exhaustion, and burnout can't praise and glory God. What God calls us to do we can do and do well. When we listen in silence to God's voice and speak with our friends in trust we will know what we are called to do. We will do it with a grateful heart.
Prayer leads you to see new paths and to hear new melodies in the air. Prayer is the breath of your life which gives you freedom to . . . find the many signs which point out the way to a new land. Praying is not simply some necessary compartment in the daily schedule of a Christian or a source of support in time of need, nor is it restricted to Sunday morning or as a frame to surround mealtimes. Praying is living.
A peacemaker prays. Prayer is the beginning and the end, the source and the fruit, the core and the content, the basis and the goal for all peacemaking. I say this without apology, because it allows me to go straight to the heart of the matter, which is that peace is a divine gift, a gift we receive in prayer.
As Rembrandt's life moves toward the shadows of old age, as his success wanes, and the exterior splendor of his life diminishes, he comes more in touch with the immense beauty of the interior life. There he discovers the light that comes from an inner fire that never dies; the fire of love. His art no longer tries to "grasp, conquer, and regulate the visible," but to "transform the visible in the fire of love that comes from his own unique heart."
The death of those whom we love and who love us opens up the possibility of a new, more radical communion, a new intimacy, a new belonging to each other. If love is stronger than death, then death has the potential to deepen and strengthen the bonds of love.
It is only when we have died that our spirits can completely reveal themselves. The spirit of love, once freed from our mortal bodies. will blow where it will, even when few will hear its coming and going.
For me, the question is whether my encounter with death has freed me enough from the addictions of the world that I can be true to my Work as I now see it "sent" from above. It clearly involves a call to prayer, contemplation, silence, solitude, and inner detachment. I have to keep choosing my "not belonging" in order to belong, my not being from below in order to be from above. For, the taste of God's unconditional love quickly disappears when the addictive powers of everyday existence make their presence felt again.
When you are interiorly free you call others to freedom, whether you know it or not. Freedom attracts wherever it appears. A free man or a free woman creates a space where others feel safe and want to dwell. Our world is so full of conditions, demands, requirements, and obligations that we often wonder what is expected of us. But when we meet a truly free person there are no expectations, only an invitation to reach into ourselves and discover there our own freedom. Where true inner freedom is, there God is. And where God is, there we want to be.
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