There is no captain on the relation-“ship” but there are two mates.
Spirituality is the perseverance of the insistace to Love until it becomes you.
Love Never Fails
Fr. Richard Rohr
1 Corinthians 13 might be the supreme piece of condensed theology in the entire Bible. The whole message of Scripture is there. In this one short part of a longer letter, Paul shows himself to be an excellent philosopher, theologian, mystic, teacher, and psychologist. If he had written nothing else, he would still deserve a place in spiritual history. Honestly, I could preach for two hours on this one chapter and wouldn’t scratch the surface of its brilliance.
I have to compare the love described in 1 Corinthians 13 with our cultural understanding of love—largely a romantic infatuation that does not and cannot last. It’s fine as far as it goes, but we need a much, much larger understanding of love.
Paul has to list a whole bunch of descriptors to even get close to this mystery he calls love. He grabs for moral superlatives: “Love is patient, love is kind, Love is not jealous, Love is never boastful or conceited, Love is not rude, nor does it take offense. It takes no pleasure in other peoples’ faults. It is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, and to endure. Love does not come to an end.”  It has an infinite quality like the very being of God!
Divine love that is God’s Self is an absolute open-heartedness. When you’re in that space, your energy flows outward and even expands. When you’re not in that space, your energy sucks in. It’s all about who did me wrong and why I don’t like those people and how my aunt never talks to me and why so-and-so is a jerk.
It doesn’t help that our brains have evolved to hold onto negative thoughts (like Velcro) and let the positive thoughts slip off (like Teflon). To retain a positive experience, you have to intentionally hold onto it for at least fifteen seconds to allow it to imprint on your brain. You have to deliberately, consciously choose to love and not hate. Because people haven’t been taught that, we have even decent people in our country, in political parties, and even in leadership positions in our churches who are much more at home with hate than they are with love. And they do not even know it.
Spirituality is whatever it takes to keep your heart space open. That is daily, constant work because your ego and the events of life want to close it down. The voices in the dominant culture tell you to judge, dismiss, hate, and fear. If you don’t have some spiritual practice that has kept your heart open in hell, I know you’re going to be a grumpy old man or a hateful old woman. By the last third of life, negativity is all you have left.
You have to work to live in love, to develop a generosity of spirit, a readiness to smile, a willingness to serve instead of to take. Each morning you take your inner temperature, observing if your energy is loving and flowing outward or negative and sucking in. Contemplative prayer helps us witness and recognize these outer flows and inner suckings.
Sooner or later, by God’s patience, many of us eventually fall into Love and learn to draw our life from that Infinite Source “which has no end and never fails.” Yes, the nature of Love and the nature of God are the same thing.
Be the change you wish to see in the world. —Gandhi
Feel free to follow the story of your life by greater intervals of time. Rather than day by day perhaps start piecing stories together week by week, and when that becomes easy month by month and so on. God is in the big picture business, so that’s where we can see Him, hear Him, know Him.
Much of the Spiritual life is learning to get through the “unfairs” in life quickly and gracefully, while learning to let go quickly and gracefully the things that are “unfair-in-your-favor”.
After all, it is fair that life is unfair.
If your life is unhappy or imperfect in any way, please know that it is you that have misinterpreted God’s Love, and not a God that has morally failed you.
Be wild! Allow all kinds of desires. Follow them to their end! Feel the crisis of wanting all things but possessing them only as sand in a tight fist. Once all avenues of desire have been played out, only then does it dawn on us to start possessing everything by having, doing, and being absolutely nothing. This. This paradox is the exit, and just on the other side of that exit, Freedom, Truth, Love, Bliss, Self, Heaven. Welcome home.
Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord; Lord, hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy. If you, Lord, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you. I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope. I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning. Israel, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption. He himself will redeem Israel from all their sins.
My heart is not proud, Lord, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content. Israel, put your hope in the Lord both now and forevermore.
You live what you think, so think about what you think! Is it selfish, impure, gross, or mundane? Then you live in that stew.
If it is Life, if it is Light, if it is Love, if it is Laughter, that occupies your thoughts, then truly you have found a door that most others pass by.
If you are running away from being the biggest loser in the world, then you’re running away from God.
To use spiritual knowledge and experience as an excuse to hold myself in high regard, or place myself above others is to say that a man is better than a boy because he can speak better, or a tree is better than the acorn because it is taller. The older is not greater than the younger, only older.
…(of a seven year old) “So the first thing is that Kendal had the hiccups at recess, and she sneezed and coughed and burped too. The second thing is that I bought a pen as a present for Mrs. Fischer, and the third thing is that Timmy scratched my face and left a mark.”