Dear Friends,

 We hope that you are safe and well.

 Today's Meditation comes to us from Joyce Rupp who celebrates that "Love is all that counts" and composes a Lenten Prayer that "our love may deepen and expand."

 We invite you to join us as we commit ourselves to working tirelessly to end systemic and structural racism in our society, in the church, in healthcare, in the workplace--wherever it shows up so that everyone may come to have more abundant life. May this meditation nourish our contemplative-active hearts and sustain all of us in action.

In the spirit of our philosophy of co-creating community and our awareness that the Spirit speaks through each of us, we invite you to share your meditations with us as well. We truly believe that it is God's economy of abundance: when we share our blessings, our thoughts, our feelings, we are all made richer.

We hope and pray that you find peace, healing, hope and the infusion of joy in your life!

With our love and care,

Ron and Jean

MEDITATION 607: Joyce Rupp: "Love is all that counts" and a Lenten Prayer that "My love deepen and expand."

Reflection - March 2022

Divine revelation can come through the book of nature or the book of inner experience. …from the inspiring words or example of another person, which hold up to us a mirror in which we catch sight of our own infinite potentiality and are drawn to fulfill it. (Grace: On the Journey to God, Michael Casey)

I’ve experienced this kind of divine revelation at certain times, but one day in particular changed my life significantly. It led me to live in a much deeper and truer way. In the springtime of 2004 I stood at the patio’s glass doors and looked out at the woods. A beloved friend had died that morning and grief stunned me. Just then a hummingbird flew and hovered in front of my face, staying there for several minutes. I stood enthralled, remembering my friend’s fondness for these tiny creatures. Then I heard clearly within me: “Love is all that counts.” At that moment, the absolute necessity to live compassionately stirred to life in me. (My friend was the most compassionate person I had known.)

From then on, I held this “divine revelation” in my heart. That profound experience took time to root and grow. Several years later, I felt the nudge to move my ministry in a different direction, one focused on what has become the “Boundless Compassion program." I gradually recognized this virtue as much more than an action. I learned that compassion has to be a way of life, affecting my thoughts, words and deeds, my attitude and approach to others who suffer. Compassion requires that I not only be mindful or aware of suffering, I am to be non-judgmental, non-violent, and forgiving toward all. Only then will I truly live as someone who bears a heart of compassion.

So much has happened in the development of Boundless Compassion, far beyond what I ever envisioned when the hummingbird visited. We now have over 100 trained facilitators carrying on the program, a central leadership in the capable care of two co-directors and a core team of seven. Plus, we have our own Boundless Compassion website!

Lent has arrived. Globally and personally we find ourselves immersed in either our own or someone else’s suffering. Surely compassion is indispensable as we move through the coming six weeks. Lent is often viewed as a time of personal conversion. While there’s no doubt we could use some improvement in how we go about our lives, I suggest that instead of focusing on what’s wrong with us, that we look to the power of our indwelling love and how that can be of benefit in our suffering world.

St. Aelred of Rievaulx, a 12th century writer, expressed it this way: “In a single act of love hold the entire world in your heart. There consider all the good people together and rejoice. There look upon the evil and lament. Gaze upon those in trouble and oppressed and share their suffering.” While we ought not to absorb another’s suffering—this just adds to the sorrow or pain—we can connect to the love within us, deliberately send it forth to support and strengthen those who hurt, and then engage in some action to help alleviate that suffering. How much good can happen if we make an effort to be truly compassionate.

Abundant peace,

Joyce Rupp

P.s. Here is a new Lenten prayer to accompany your six weeks.

A Lenten Prayer

(Joyce Rupp)

In the passing of the seasons, phases of the moon, rising and setting

of the sun, and the stars glowing in the universe,

may my love deepen and expand.

In the twisting, turning, and tumbling of everyday comings and goings,

in the joys and sorrows that visit me,

may my love deepen and expand.

In the voices of people who have become central in my heart,

who tame the rough edges of my hidden self,

may my love deepen and expand.

In the faces of strangers and passersby, in each human

whose spirit joins invisibly with my own,

may my love deepen and expand.

In the lonely, distraught, and disdained persons longing to be

respected and treated compassionately,

may my love deepen and expand.

In the unity that resides among everything that exists upon

and within this beloved planet we call “our Earth,”

may my love deepen and expand.

In the moments when the truth of my inherent goodness reveals itself

and sends me forth to be kind to others,

may my love deepen and expand.

In the silent prayer of my heart when I pause to be in deliberate relationship with you—the Holy One who guides my life,

may my love deepen and expand.

In graced situations when the truth of my unfinishedness

and the lack of being all I could be comes to greet me,

may my love deepen and expand.

In the motivation found inside the journey of Jesus, his compassionate life,

and the generous way he responded to others,

may my love deepen and expand.

In the heartbeat of hope coming from stories of the Risen Christ,

a steady Light-filled presence living on within me,

may my love deepen and expand.

In this moment, this day, this place, this time, this body that is mine,

when I repeatedly open my mind and heart to you,

may my love deepen and expand.

Guide of my life, may I be as present to you as you are to me. In giving myself to the process of spiritual growth, I trust you will show the way to live as my truest self. In all I am and all I do, my heart rests in your abiding love.

© Joyce Rupp

(This Lenten prayer will be posted on by mid-March)