I'm up early and praying. I'm praying for people today. For friends and enemies who are sick, struggling, failing, addicted, facing hard choices, and experiencing circumstantial hopelessness (nihilism).
I feel compassion towards them. I have visited all these places. I know what they are like, to a degree. I am a man of joys and a man of sorrows, acquainted with bliss and sadness.
I am praying for friends and enemies to be healed, to conquer, to win in life, to go free, to get clear direction, and to be filled with hope. I am also praying for myself. I am praying to be a better, freer lover of people.
Part of this morning's reading is from Thomas Merton's journals. He writes:
"Now I see more and more that there is only one realistic answer: Love. I have got to dare to love, and to bear the anxiety of self-questioning that love arouses in me, until “perfect love casts out fear.”" (Merton, Learning To Love: Exploring Solitude and Freedom (The Journals of Thomas Merton), p. 44.)
Love is the answer. By "love," I mean the love Jesus exemplified.
Dare to love, because love is risky. Love makes me vulnerable. People get crucified when they love. Because of this, I am often afraid to love.
Love causes me to question my self. What is this thing in me that wants to hate? Where does this judgmentalism come from? How could I even begin to entertain hatred? To hate or to love, those are the options.
The love of God, the love that is of the essence of God and manifested when the Word became flesh and pitched his tent among us, is the only logical, realistic answer. Love is the imperishable seed planted by God in my soul.
My recent book is Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God.