Listen to the Spirit … adapt as needed … stay longer where you are drawn …
“I so much want the truth of Jesus’ life to be fully the truth of my own that I find myself, moved by grace…(asking) to follow Jesus Christ in the most intimate union possible, that his experiences are reflected in my own. In that, I find my delight.” – Spiritual Exercises #167
Real love begins first as self-love. We have to love ourselves first so we can love other people. We have to respect ourselves and see ourselves as beautiful, worthy, and confident…loving ourselves deeply and intensely with passion and conviction.
Self-love is a choice we make every single day, with every decision. We either say no to doing things that makes us feel as if we are a cardboard cut-out version of ourselves or we take a stand in every moment to find our ultimate truth and being authentic…we choose.
Relationships are like mirrors. If the love is pure, the mirror is clean. But pure love demands us to be open. We need to be vulnerable and realize we cannot control our outcomes. The mind has to be dropped and risks are involved. It is dangerous to love purely, because the other person can hurt or reject us. There is fear in being in love because of these reasons. But if we bypass that fear and take a risk, our presence will be enhanced by the presence of the other in the mirror, and we will get closer to The Divine. Love allows us to be aligned with something that is not the ego and gives us joy. Love allows us to be in harmony with one person on a spiritual level…and if we can be in harmony with one person in this way and feel good and learn from the experience, imagine how we feel when we take the next step, which is imagining ourselves in love with all humanity.
Suggested Song: Gravity by Sara Bareilles
Grace to seek/ask: To become more fully alive, ourselves, interiorly free, and generous in self-giving…
Try to keep this short, focused on how people’s hearts are as they come to the meeting.
There doesn’t need to be something written for this for each meeting, but if there is a way of checking in that would be helpful in setting the theme for the meeting, include it.
“We are meant for greater things, to love and be loved.” – Mother Teresa
John 4:18 – There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
Ephesians 4:2 – Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
Romans 12:9 – Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.
Listening and Sharing
Did I make room for friends/family/relationships this past week?
Do I spend time with people who lift my spirit? Did I act with love towards myself today?
Who do you love? What are you doing about it?
These are questions that allow community members to listen to and share about what is moving within them after the focus exercise. Specific questions about the focus exercise can be included here, but facilitators may choose to approach it differently such as with more open ended questions.
- What has struck you as you have been listening to others share? Do you notice any patterns or similarities?
- How have you been feeling throughout the meeting? Comfortable? Anxious? Curious?
- Is there anything you would like to share after listening to another person share?
- What is remaining with you? What do you hope to return to in prayer at another point in the week?
It can be a written prayer that fits the meeting or it could also be left open.