Posted in Agape Project, Authentic Freedom, Jesus, Oneness with God, Relationships, Spiritual Practices, Virtual Church

It Just Doesn’t Get Any Easier!

This week’s Agape Meditation Newsletter, in preparation for this Sunday’s Authentic Freedom Virtual Church, provides us with THE solution to the struggles of the human condition.  If we want peace, love, joy, and harmony in the human experience, there is only one thing we need to do.  It can’t get any easier than this! To find out what that is, read on….

Agape’ Meditation Practices Newsletter

Supplement to the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church Service for Sunday, October 26, 2014.

 

Scripture Reading:

When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a scholar of the law tested him by asking, “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”

Mt 22: 34-40

Additional Readings:

Ex 22: 20-26

Ps 18: 2-4, 47, 51

1 Thes 1: 5c-10

 

It Doesn’t Get Any Easier!

If you ever only read one passage from scripture, this is the one to read. It doesn’t get any easier than this. LOVE. Period! Love God. Love your neighbor. Period! This is all we are asked to do. This is all that is expected of us. To love God and to love each other. Everything else in scripture, every other commandment boils down to this. When we successfully accomplish both of these tasks, we will experience – actually create – heaven on earth. What are we waiting for?

How are you giving time to loving God?

How are you being loving toward your neighbor?

How are you NOT being loving toward your neighbor (hint….EVERYONE is your neighbor)?

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Spiritual Practices – Knowing God’s Love

There is a critical key to Jesus’ commandment to love your neighbor. This critical piece is as yourself. In order to love our neighbor, we have to first love ourselves. More specifically, we need to know the love that we already are in our intimate connection with God. The path to knowing this love is FIRST to know the love of God. Cultivating an intimate and personal relationship with God is where it all begins. The rest flows from there. The more we know God, the more we know ourselves and the more we are able to know and love another. This week’s simple spiritual practice will help facilitate knowledge of God’s love:

  • Sit in silence.
  • Bring your attention to your breath. Be conscious of each breath as you draw it in and release it.
  • Recognize that the very breath you are breathing is GOD breathing love into you.
  • Breathe in God’s breath and feel it filling you with love.
  • As you breathe out, imagine the breath taking with it your fears, anxieties, any inner obstacles to knowing and believing in God’s love.
  • Continue to breathe in God’s love and breathe out fears, old wounds, etc.
  • Stay with this breathing practice, feeling it drawing you into a place of peacefulness, recognizing that this peacefulness is also God.
  • When you find your mind wandering, return your attention to your breathing.
  • Continue this practice for 15-30 minutes.

Authentic Freedom

In Authentic Freedom, Compassion/mercy is the spiritual virtue that is attained when we allow ourselves to remember that God is love and we too are Love in our intimate connection with God. When we know God’s love and realize the love that we are, we have no choice but to be compassionate toward other human beings. When we remember this love, Jesus’ second commandment arises without effort, we are just generous, kind, loving, forgiving, tolerant, understanding and accepting of our neighbor and we soon discover that EVERYONE is our neighbor.

How are you growing in compassion as you grow in your love of God?

 

Posted in Being Human, creativity, Discernment, Empowerment, Mystics, teachers, Virtual Church

What is Your Magic? Part 6

Continuing the conversation on charisms – the unique and special way each of us is called to be a vehicle through which Divine love finds its expression in the world.  Charisms are our own special magic and the way in which we participate in God’s unfolding plan of turning the world from fear into love (aka “salvation”).  Charisms are gifts that we possess that when utilized facilitate results far beyond which we know we are humanly capable.  In today’s blog, we will explore the charisms of leadership, mercy, missionary and music.

Leadership

In speaking of the charism of leadership, I’m going to borrow from the Catherine of Siena Institute in their Catholic Spiritual Gifts Inventory: “People with the gift of leadership are God’s catalysts (Weddell, 1997, p. 40).  Those with the charism of leadership are problem-discoverers, able to see the world through the eyes of “what needs are not yet being met,” and “what could be made better here?”  Leaders have the ability to come up with a vision and share that vision in a way that makes others want to come together to make it happen.  Leaders tend to see with an eagle vision, seeing the big picture and content to leaving the details to others.  As problem-discoverers, leaders are not to be confused with the gift of administration which is about problem-solving. When I reflect on this distinction, I am reminded of the relationship between myself and my editor (who has interestingly found herself in administrative roles with a wide variety of people I suspect as possessing the gift of leadership).  I see the big picture, I write the big picture, she challenges me to pay attention to the details.  She sees the problems in the text, and I’m content to let her fix it.  🙂

MaryMagdaleneicon

Mercy

While all human beings are called to tend to the needs of the hungry, the poor, the homeless, the imprisoned, the sick, and the disenfranchised, those possessing the charism of mercy, are called to do so in a unique and special way.  Possessing a deep sensitivity to the needs of the marginalized and oppressed, are sensitive to their suffering, those with the gift of mercy are compelled to help and do so in a cheerful and effective way.  Careful to respect the dignity of those with whom they work, those with the gift of mercy lift up the lives of the oppressed and in the process feel energized and renewed.  It is through their deeds that that lives of others are transformed.  Mother Teresa is the perfect example of one who possesses the charism of mercy.

MotherTeresa

Missionary

Again quoting the Siena Institute, “Men and women with this gift (missionary), love to live cross-culturally and are remarkably effective channels of the love of Jesus when they do so. (Weddell, 1997, p. 42)”  I would argue that this gifts goes beyond those of a Christian faith and is present within anyone who is passionately attracted to cultures outside their own and who effortlessly and passionately adapt to another culture’s language and customs.  The distinction around what makes simple interest in the culture of another a charism is that the cultural interest leads and blossoms to a service to that culture.  In this I think of my friend, Peggy who yearns and hungers for opportunities to travel to third-world (specifically Asian) cultures to be of service to children.  In Peggy, the missionary and mercy charisms are combined and she does so with an effortless grace and ease.  Peggy’s example reminds us that the missionary charism never stands on its own, but is accomplished in conjunction with one or several other charisms.

oscar romero

Music

Amy Grant anyone?  Click on the following YouTube link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcTUz0M0XcY and you will see the perfect example of music as a charism put to action!  🙂

As you have reflected on the charisms presented so far, what do you think might be your magic? 

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Posted in Inspiration

Here I Am Lord

Last night in the gathering of the Authentic Freedom Contemplative Community, we reflected on the topic of “call.”  We explored how each and every one of us is uniquely called to reveal Divine love, mercy, compassion, joy, peace, etc. in the world.  We were then invited to write our own Psalm response to this call.  I thought I would share with you what showed up in the Psalm that I wrote:

 

R:  Here I am Lord, I come to do your will

I am imperfect Lord, filled with judgment and rage,

and yet you called me.

Here I am Lord, I come to do your will.

I am not eloquent of speech.

I am young and lacking in wisdom.

And still you called me.

Here I am Lord, I come to do your will

An insatiable passion for learning and a restless spirit you gave me.

Your law is written in my heart.

Here I am Lord, I come to do your will.

“Be strong, fear not,” are your words when I tremble in fear.

You remind me that I am precious in your eyes and that you love me.

Here I am Lord, I come to do your will.

Eyes and ears to see and hear the truth beyond the words.

Your word is more precious than the finest gold.

Here I am Lord, I come to do your will.

Grant me humility and compassion, mercy, peace and obedience

that I may know your perfect love and help others to know it too.

Here I am Lord, I come to do your will.

 

How is God calling you to reveal Divine love in the world?

What is your response?

 

Lauri Lumby

http://yourspiritualtruth.com