Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Heart as Wide as the World: A reflection on Nouwen

Hey Faith Peeps!

I'm with my priest, Fr. Pat on loving All Saints and Souls days. Calling forward the idea of the sweet and inspiring lives of those that have gone before us, and letting the love they lived burn in our hearts: it makes me happy.

And it takes me into the center of how I understand Fr. Nouwen's words here*.....That what I live and HOW I love, isn't all mine or from me. I'm not generating this heat, this action, this enthusiasm and appreciation for all that is around me. Huh uh. It comes from the Divine, and how the Holy Lives and Spirits of ancestors and saints are at work in my DNA. I'm serious!

Just ask yourselves, "What's encoded on these bones? Whose memories are alive in my muscle tissue? What has been engraved in my heart? Does my blood carry the stories of those who have lived before me? How does that influence what I see, how I act, where I reach and what I embrace?"

Resting in these questions, (and the many inspired by my grandparents -- and Saints like Margaret Mary and Theresa and Augustine) I know that my heart is as wide as the world, open and receiving and in awe....

Peace, Prayers, Happy Ruminating,
Melissa

*Heart As Wide As the World

The awareness of being part of the communion of saints makes our hearts as wide as the world. The love with which we love is not just our love; it is the love of Jesus and his saints living in us. When the Spirit of Jesus lives in our hearts, all who have lived their lives in that Spirit live there too. Our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents; our teachers and their teachers; our pastors and their pastors; our spiritual guides and theirs - all the holy men and women who form that long line of love through history - are part of our hearts, where the Spirit of Jesus chooses to dwell.

The communion of saints is not just a network of connections between people. It is first and foremost the community of our hearts.

1 comment:

Betty Lou Miller said...

Hi, Melissa,

The Communion of Saints

Our Catholic (universal) church is rich in spirituality, as well as being an “organized religion”. In Via tu espiritu.

I have relied on the communion of saints since I was about 16, when my Dad entered eternal life. Being the youngest in my generation of siblings and cousins, I have bid goodbye to uncounted numbers of aunts, uncles, cousins, 2 sisters, 2 brothers, mother, father, husband. But I KNOW I will be with them again. In the meantime, I think of them, and ask their guidance.

Can you imagine their collective wisdom, love, experience; I’ve been blessed many times over to know them and be a part of them, as your meditation mentions.

All of these aforementioned relatives were/are Catholic/catholic.

Of their living offspring, there is one Archdiocesan priest, Fr. Jim Lieckhus, still in his 20s, one seminarian, 3 of my children teach in Catholic schools, 2 nieces teach in Catholic schools. My sister who died this summer, Sr. Maryanne, O.S.B., taught for 46 years.

Others teach in public schools and reach those in the broader world.

We, as Catholics, are filled with the abundance of God’s love through our families who have “kept the faith”. With this abundance comes responsibility to lead lives which teach the Gospel of love. “Love God. Love your neighbor”.

Blessed be God the Creator of all.
Blessed be Jesus who saves us all.
Blessed be the Holy Spirit who challenges us and strengthens us to live the Gospel of love.

All for now.

Betty Lou