Reading: Becoming the Beloved, Enfleshing the Truth, I. Taken, II. Blessed (p. 43 to 83)
From the moment we claim the truth of being the Beloved, we are faced
with the call to become who we are. Becoming the Beloved is the
great spiritual journey we have to make. (p 43)
What a remarkable and wonderful first week of Advent! So many thoughtful and enriching comments! And the sharing of ideas and encouragement among participants is especially rewarding. We’re deeply grateful to each of you for joining us on this journey.
On page 44-45 Henri writes, “. . . we not only are the Beloved, but also have to become the Beloved; . . . If the spiritual life is not simply a way of being, but also a way of becoming, what then is the nature of this becoming?” We will be considering this core question for the next two weeks. Henri will use four words that he says summarize his life as a priest and as a Christian—taken (or chosen), blessed, broken, and given—to explore our becoming the Beloved.
Before moving on to our discussion for this week, here are two YouTube videos that were meaningful to me as we ponder Life of the Beloved. The first is the song You Say by Lauren Daigle (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBMHoFICOZA) that Grant Rickard mentioned last week. Grant said he turns to it in times of doubt or self rejection because it helps him to remember that he is the Beloved. And in this clip from The Lion King (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGQnGQzlAmA), Simba is told to remember who he is as he embarks on a journey to become what he is called to be—the Beloved child of his Father. Isn’t that our life journey too? You are invited to share your thoughts and comments on how these videos may be related to our being and becoming the Beloved.
Now let’s turn to this week’s reading. Once again, there is a wealth of wisdom to contemplate in these chapters about accepting our belovedness and becoming the Beloved. You are invited to share your thoughts and reactions to the reading. You may choose to reply to one or more of these questions or to share your reflections and whatever is on your heart.
- From all eternity, long before you were born and became a part of history, you existed in God’s heart. . . . you were already “chosen.” (p. 53-54). In the Letter to the Ephesians we read, “God chose us before the world began. . . He predestined us to be his adopted (children) though Jesus Christ, such was his will and pleasure.” (Ephesians 1: 4-5). What does it mean to you to be chosen by God and what is your response? Why is being chosen the first step to becoming the Beloved?
- (W)e have to dare to reclaim the truth that we are God’s chosen ones, even when our world does not choose us. (p. 57) Henri offers three guidelines in this struggle: (a) keep unmasking the world about you for what it is (p. 59); (b) keep looking for people and places where your truth (as the chosen one) is spoken; and (c) celebrate your chosenness constantly (through gratitude) (p. 60). What have you done to claim your your chosenness? How did you respond when confronted with difficulties or the voices in the world?
- To give a blessing is to affirm, to say “yes” to a person’s Belovedness. And more than that: To give a blessing creates the reality of which it speaks. A blessing touches the original goodness of the other and calls forth his or her Belovedness. (p. 69) When have you given or received a blessing? How did that make you feel?
- The feeling of being blessed is not, it seems to me, the feeling that we generally have about ourselves. (p. 73) Henri provides two suggestions for claiming our belovedness: prayer and presence or “attentiveness to the blessings that come to you day after day.” Try this exercise. Be intentional about following Henri’s two suggestions for the next three to four days. Then share your experience with the group to the extent you are comfortable.
We have another spirit-filled and fruitful week ahead. We are all God’s Beloved and we have the opportunity to grow spiritually and to support each other on our journey. Thanks for being here and we look forward to hearing from many of you.
I’m blessed to be walking with you through Advent.