Greetings, SBT Readers!
The scholar Mircea Eliade once wrote, "The dead are those who have lost their memories." To find the exact passage, I would have to thumb through several volumes of his work, scanning the underlined passages; however, it's enough to say that these "dead" are the ones who have yet to learn either the lessons of history or the lessons of their own stories. We keep events alive so as to be "re-membered," that is, made whole. Our fragmented selves find this wholeness through reflection and ritual action. We make present the events of the past through memory, so as to stay connected to each other and to those who have gone before us-- hence the importance of national holidays like Memorial Day. Merchants have hijacked this day for commercial gain, but the real meaning of Memorial Day is to remember the fallen ones who sacrificed everything for the sake of their country. The best way we can honor them is to pause, reflect and say, "Never again!" -- to say "NO!" to all those forces of hatred, division, greed, and injustice that are at the root of all wars.
PS Please note my new address at the bottom of this e-letter!
Brothers and sisters:
Those who are led by the Spirit of God
are sons and daughters of God. For you
did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall
back into fear, but you received a Spirit of
adoption, through whom we cry, “Abba, Father!”
The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit
that we are children of God, and if children, then
heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ,
if only we suffer with him so that we may also be
glorified with him.
Fear is the antithesis of love; slavery is the opposite of freedom; and "living small" contradicts what God desires for each of us. Sadly, there are many people who, enslaved by every kind of fear imaginable, never find that fullness of life that awaits us. Instead, they cling to old, outmoded ways of thinking and being, defining themselves by what they do and what they own, by whom they know, and what they have achieved. Of course, they have no idea as to what their true destiny is. Instead, they continue to repeat the old patterns of behavior because they cannot imagine anything different; to them, what is most important is staying in control and avoiding losses of any kind. Whether they are narcissists with inflated egos or timid, self-effacing people-pleasers, they cannot see beyond their illusory world. For some, life is a pleasure palace that teases and tantalizes all the senses but never satisfies. The more one has, the more one wants, and with each acquisition come more craving, more disappointment, more frustration, more heartache. For others, life is a desert, devoid of sustenance and hope, filled only with snakes, scorpions, and heaps of whitened bones. They see only scarcity and want, unable to believe in possibility, incapable of asking for manna...
Change will only happen when we allow the Spirit to break through our boundaries and barriers, our limitations and defense mechanisms. As St. Paul reminds us, it is the Spirit who leads us out of slavery and into the liberation of the Divine embrace where we know ourselves to be sons and daughters of a loving God. In that awareness, everything changes. We discover that our true nature is to participate in the life of the Creator, Sanctifier, and Redeemer. Like St. Dominic, we discover that everything we imagined was important, was only "straw," that the goals for which we strived so hard were often nothing more than detours and distractions, leading us away from our true destiny as "heirs with Christ."
The Trinity is no mere theological abstraction but Love itself that flows in us and through us and around us, beckoning us to leave behind all that ties us down or prevents us from living as spiritual beings. This Love is always creating and re-creating, leading and guiding, inspiring and sanctifying, companioning and encouraging. It warms our hearts and activates our minds; it sets us on fire with the desire to live in union with the Holy One; it sends us forth to share the Good News with the whole world, to awaken those who are spiritually asleep, and to live in the joy of the Risen Christ. Trinitarian Love is God's way of encountering us, transforming us, raising us up, and claiming us as Beloved-- not as a monolithic God but as fluid Being that enters into our lives, inviting us to become what we were created to be!