Monday, January 19, 2009

Being Free and Mature in Love: A Prayerful Reflection on MLK, Jr. Day

Does this speak to you?

My friend Jody has the following passage from Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM, copied onto the cover of her journal:
"If your prayer is not enticing you outside your comfort zones, if your Christ is not an occasional 'threat,' you probably need to do some growing up and learning to love. You have to develop an ego before you can let go of it." -Fr. Richard Rohr in "Everything Belongs"

These words caught my attention this afternoon during our time together on this Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday. With this passage next to Fr. Henri Nouwen's meditation for the day,* copied below, I have this inclination to type and sing boldly:
Love! Dancing! Space! Growing up in Love! Freedom! Yes! Woohoo!

Both priests call us toward a maturity, a letting go, a love that transcends so much of what our frail, human egos and beings naturally cling to. And this says volumes to my heart today about what true emancipation can be, and IS, when we get out of the way. The juxtaposition of prayerful words, along with the legacy and dream of Dr. King, hold some powerful implications, then, and lead me to ask:

What does it take to be free? To heal? To lead a nation? To have people and unity in our homes, and throughout the world?

Creating Space to Dance Together

When we feel lonely we keep looking for a person or persons who can take our loneliness away. Our lonely hearts cry out, "Please hold me, touch me, speak to me, pay attention to me." But soon we discover that the person we expect to take our loneliness away cannot give us what we ask for. Often that person feels oppressed by our demands and runs away, leaving us in despair. As long as we approach another person from our loneliness, no mature human relationship can develop. Clinging to one another in loneliness is suffocating and eventually becomes destructive. For love to be possible we need the courage to create space between us and to trust that this space allows us to dance together. - Fr. Henri Nouwen

Happy Contemplating!


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