Sunday, February 27, 2011

Loving My Neighbor

One day last week my e-devotional was Galatians 5:14, "For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself'." It seems Paul was trying to diffuse arguments about circumcision in the early Church. He admonished that it was less important whether men were circumcised, and more important how they treated each other.

I'm quite certain in years past I've read that verse before; probably heard more than one sermon preached on it. But I never saw it quite as clearly as I did last week. Circumcision was the 'issue of the day' when Paul wrote the letter. Our issues have changed over the years, but the message is the same.

Do I love my neighbor as myself? No. It's easier when that neighbor is likable, when they agree with us, when they share our faith or our politics. When they differ, not so much. When people have different views, different lifestyles, it would seem then there is no license to berate, ridicule, or be less hospitable. Really? Over the years I've watched those called by the Christian name joke about gays, dooming them to Hell. I've watched other religions be discounted and disrespected. I've watched different denominations within Christianity tear at each other with venomous claws. How can that be?

If we truly believe the teachings of Jesus Christ, how could we entertain such attitudes? How can we stand by and watch others destroy with wounds and words and never utter a sound?

I am so sorry if I have been the one to treat someone else differently, with less love, because we viewed the world or lived our lives differently. It is not mine to judge, but simply to love. Is it possible to let people work out their own lives with their own God and simply treat them with kindness? Is that really so hard?

Honestly, I don't know if I'll ever truly 'love my neighbor as myself'. But I can take a step in that direction by saying ..

To the Gay community .. I'm sorry for the way I've treated you.

To the Pagans and the Muslims and the Roman Catholics and the Atheists .. I'm sorry for the way I've treated you.

To the aged who have given much to make my life easier .. I'm sorry for the way I've treated you.

To anyone I've ridiculed or belittled .. I'm sorry for the way I've treated you.

Holy Father, Blessed Mother, please help me allow your love to flow through me.
Help me to treat all human beings with dignity and respect, to value our diversity.
Caution me when I stand by and watch others destroy without objection.
Help me to open my mouth and say out loud, 'this is not right'.

Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.
Let me speak words of kindness in place of hatred.
Let me bind up wounds instead of inflicting them.
Help me aspire to loving my neighbor as myself.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

"I do not want to be a Christian. I want to strive to be like Christ."
(Maithri -

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Thank you Mother Mary

When I stumbled through the darkness and thought myself alone,
You were there watching, protecting, waiting.

When I doubted I would ever feel the warmth of daylight again,
You placed your arms around me, comforting, soothing.

When at long last I emptied my soul and reached for the unknown,
You penetrated the cold, stone fortress of my heart.

When I turned from the desolation of darkness,
You filled me with a brilliant light and turned me toward your Son.

Thank you Mother Mary, Blessed Virgin, Queen of Heaven.