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Live and Love – A Reflection

March 11, 2020
A Bull Elk snoozing beneath my office window after crossing antlers with another Bull during Rut.
Spending time in the silence and with our wild neighbors is so often a precious gift. To simply Be Still in the midst of the wonder of God’s creation is a blessing. Even though this picture was taken two years ago, it came to my mind as I was reflecting this evening. Today would have been Mom and Dad’s 67th Wedding Anniversary. One of the things I love about where Mom is buried that she is surrounded by the wildlife she loves. Cardinals, Robins, and Deer often hang out there since it quite close to the marsh. Today they were both on my mind and in my heart as I journeyed through the day.

I have been spending more time in silence and reflection, especially as I consider how our church should respond to COVID-19. It weighs heavily on my heart given the age of our parishioners and the underlying health conditions of many of them.

As I contemplate Living and Loving, these words from Thomas Merton touched my heart and made me start thinking about life.

Merton knew himself to be essentially uncomplicated as he gazed upon the natural world of his monastic surroundings. What he called the “reality of life itself” taught him a simple way to be a monk, namely, “One lives and loves.” … “To deliver oneself up, to hand oneself over, entrust oneself completely to the silence of a wider landscape of wood and hills… to sit still while the sun comes up over that land and fills its silences with light. To pray and work in the morning and to labor and rest in the afternoon, and to sit still again in meditation in the evening when night calls upon that land and when the silence fills itself with darkness and with stars.” (Thomas Merton’s Gethsemane: Landscapes of Paradise, p. 10)

To live and love… to have the love of God illuminate the darkness… to Be Still and Know… to listen for the gentle whisper of the Spirit… to live and to love….

In our daily prayer from the Northumbria Community’s Celtic Daily Prayer we pray the following each time we begin the morning in prayer:

Be in the heart of each to whom I speak;

in the mouth of each who speaks unto me.

Isn’t that somehow related to Merton’s reality of life, to live and to love? Isn’t that what we are called to do each and every day? You don’t have to be in a Monastery to do this.

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