Reading: Becoming the Beloved, III. Broken, IV. Given (p. 85 to 125)
There is a mysterious link between our brokenness and our ability to give to
each other. . . . Our brokenness opened us to a deeper way of sharing
our lives and offering each other hope. Just as bread needs to
be broken in order to be given, so, too, do our lives. (p. 110)
Thanks to all for another incredible week of sharing! So many thoughtful, insightful, and touching reflections. It is a great blessing to be sharing this Advent journey with each of you. We have another fruitful week ahead so let’s get started.
What does it mean to live as the Beloved? This week we read, “Our greatest fulfillment lies in giving ourselves to others. . . beyond all our desires to be appreciated, rewarded, and acknowledged, there lies a simple and pure desire to give.” (p. 106) Henri is describing what Bishop Robert Barron calls, citing St. Pope John Paul II, the spiritual law of the gift. “Giving your your life away for love increases life within you. You partake in the flow of the divine life. Hence, happiness is found in loving acts.” And how does that happen? Last week we were learned we are taken (or chosen) and blessed. This week, Henri will help us to understand that as God’s Beloved, we are broken so that our life may given as a gift for others. As a result, “The fruitfulness of our little life, once we recognize it and live it as the life of the Beloved is beyond anything we ourselves can imagine.” (p. 122-3)
I found these two chapters to be particularly challenging with many ideas worth exploring. Here are several examples. After saying “. . . the suffering of which I am most aware on a day-to-days basis is the suffering of the human heart,” (p. 89) Henri offers a deeply personal insight into his own interpersonal addiction that led to his long depression. Later on, after telling us about how the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi (died 1226) is still alive today, Henri says, “death can, indeed, be chosen as our final gift of life” and he encourages us to make it so. You are invited to share and reflect on any ideas that touched your heart in our reading this week. As always, here are a few excerpts and questions you might consider. Please share to the extent you are comfortable.
- In the Western world, the suffering that seems to be the most painful is that of feeling rejected, ignored, despised, and left alone. (p. 89) Do you agree with Henri? Have you had this experience yourself? How did you handle it? What did you learn?
- The great secret of the spiritual life, the life of the Beloved Sons and Daughters of God, is that everything we live, be it gladness or sadness, joy or pain, health or illness, can all be part of the journey toward the full realization of our humanity. (p. 96) Henri goes on to say that “. . . real care means the willingness to help each other in making our brokenness into the gateway to joy.” How have you helped someone on their journey? How were you helped on your journey? In both cases, how did this make you feel?
- (T)here is a mysterious link between our brokenness and our ability to give to each other. . . . Our brokenness opened us to a deeper way of sharing our lives and offering each other hope. (p. 109-110) Have you experienced this in your life or seen it in the lives of others? How did the brokenness lead to deeper sharing?
- We tend to forget that our real gift is not so much what we can do, but who we are. The real question is not “What can we offer each other?” but “Who can we be for each other?” (p. 113) How are you living this truth today? What changes might you consider in how you live your life as a gift?
Thanks again to everyone joining us in this Advent community, those posting and those following along in silence. We’re blessed by your presence and we look forward to another week together. Be safe and be well.
Peace and all good.