“You are accepted!”… accepted by that which is greater than you and the name of which you do not know. Do not ask the name now, perhaps you will know it later. Do not try to do anything, perhaps later you will do much. Do not seek for anything, do not perform anything, do not intend anything. Simply accept the fact you are accepted.
– Paul Tillich
We sing a slow hymn at my church, St. Andrew, that goes, “God has smiled on me, He has set me free.” For us to acknowledge that we have been set free from toxic dependency, from crippling obsession or guilt, that we have been graced with the ability finally to forgive someone, is just plain astonishing. You can’t have gotten from where you were – gripped by anxiety, tiny with fear – to come through to freedom, for God’s sake. To have been so lost that you felt abducted, to feeling found, returned, and set back onto your feet: Oh my God, thankyouthankyouthankyou. Thank you. Thanks.
– Anne Lamott, Help, Thanks, Wow
Abba Anthony said, “A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, ‘You are mad, you are not like us.'”
In forgiveness, we live up to our true and deepest dignity. We then operate by a power and a logic not our own. We live out of the True Self and not just the tiny self that is always offended and complaining. Without forgiveness nothing new happens, and we remain frozen in a small past. – Richard Rohr
R. Rohr -There is an “Inner Reminder” (John 14:26) and an “Inner Rememberer” (John 16:4) who holds together all the disparate and fragmented parts of our lives, who fills in all the gaps, who owns all the mistakes, who forgives all the failures—and who loves them into life. This is the job description of the Holy Spirit. S/he is the spring that wells up within us—and unto eternal time (John 7:38). This is the breath that warms and renews everything (John 20:22). These are the eyes that see beyond the momentary shadow and disguise of things (John 9); these are the tears that wash and cleanse the past (Matthew 5:4). And better, they are not only our tears but actually the very presence and consolation of God within us (2 Corinthians 1:3-5).
You must contact this Immensity! You must look back at what seems like your life from the place of this Immensity. You must know that this Immensity is already in place within you. The only thing separating you from such Immensity is your unwillingness to trust such grace, such an utterly unmerited gift. It is an immense humiliation to the ego to know that it cannot earn love, achieve merit, or “get enlightened” by any technique or formula whatsoever. “You cannot get there, you can only be there,” as Eckhart Tolle so wisely says, repeating in modern form the wisdom of Eastern Orthodox spirituality. You surrender to love; you do not accomplish love by willpower.
Today, may I walk in right paths, in God’s light. May peace prosper the steps of my family and friends, in city streets and buildings, and among all nations.
Today, may people stream from east and west to converge in God’s neighborhood. May nations labor to dismantle barricades. May our city be a just, peaceable center, united and vibrant. May my friends and relations strive for the good of each other, and may I remember I am neither higher nor lower than a servant.
Today, may east and west meet in my right and left hands, complementing, comprehending one another.
In my body, may north and south correspond, lifting my mind above worry, grounding my feet on the earth.
Today may I know what I am: created, not self-made, instructed to walk and work in God’s ways.
May I hammer old knives into new spoons, old enmities into love.
May I respect the least functional part of myself as surely as Jesus cherishes a paralytic slave and saves him with a word.
May the shriveled and disused part of my heart be bathed in God’s mercy today, that I might see sunlight for what it is: the gaze that beholds and heals us all.
In a banquet hall spacious enough for a whole world of nations, may I rest among neighbors and strangers, friends and relations.
May we feast among prophets on food grown in plowed mountain soil, reaped with weapons repurposed as tools.