If you don’t subscribe to the daily meditations of Fr. Richard Rohr, a Franciscan priest and founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation in New Mexico, I encourage you to do so. His depth and insights are both challenging and encouraging at the same time—I like that kinda thing. Most of his meditations are drawn from his own extensive work on spirituality. This week he started a series on “The Cosmic Christ.” In the first posting Rohr draws from his own Franciscan tradition, sharing that Francis of Assisi viewed the entire universe as centering on the very love of the very living God. He even goes on to say that, “Love is the very nature of Being itself” (emphasis in original).
Another great writer that I was reminded of recently is the Quaker minister, Philip Gulley, who co-wrote a book with James Mulholland called If God is Love: Rediscovering Grace in an Ungracious World (2004). Somewhere in that book they write that “We’ve been trained to see one another as competitors rather than teammates.”
Rohr, Gulley, and Mulholland are all tapping into the one central truth of Christian faith: love is that the center of who we are and the source of our very being, and thus the source of our true joy and happiness.
In Bible study this morning I shared about a young man I encountered on the way to work yesterday. He was driving like he was at the Indy-500, weaving in and out of traffic, flying through a 35 MPH school zone going at least 50 MPH. I laid on the horn as he zoomed passed me—I could see him coming in my rear view mirror. Without trying, a few miles up the road I caught up to him. I was so incensed by his lack of care or concern about everyone else on the road that when I found myself next to him, I rolled down my window and motioned for him to do the same. He asked him, “Are you in a hurry?” He chose to share some choice words with me in response. Without even thinking, I returned the favor and finally yelled, “Slow down!” Yes, I added a less than thoughtful title after that.
While I was concerned for myself and others on the road with this guy driving the way he was, I failed to share the same concern for him. I don’t know what was going on in his life: did he just get into a fight with his girlfriend, or his parents, or maybe he was late to class? Maybe he was just in a mood for no reason, and was annoyed at the slow traffic. I don’t know, and that does not justify the way he was driving, but neither does it justify my less-than-concern or care for him. If love is at the center of our being because within us is the very creative breath of the living and loving God, I was certainly not tapping into it in that moment yesterday.
Loving requires thoughtfulness, compassion, and a willingness to seek understanding or acknowledge our lack of it. To find ourselves, we must look at our center. As Rohr shares, “Love is the very meaning of Creation.”