BLAST FROM THE PAST
Acts 11:25 Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.
Stories from the past are important to society. They remind us of former struggles, gains, and losses so that we can learn from them and try to avoid earlier mistakes while at the same time building on the good foundations laid by our ancestors. The stories told in monasteries serve the same function, and are an important part of monastic education and formation. [One] story involved two junior monks, one of whom told the other, “If this were truly a Christian place, people wouldn’t do things that upset me.” The one who said it didn’t stay in the monastery very long. He was confused about love.
We all suffer from the same confusion at times. We mistakenly think that others who profess to love God and follow Jesus will do so only in ways that we understand and approve. We wrongly expect people to show their love for God and neighbor by behaving only in ways with which we are comfortable and that reinforce our own beliefs, rather than causing us to question our assumptions. The life of Jesus teaches us how wrong we can be.
Jesus upset almost everyone at some point, and yet he loved them all. His example teaches us how to truly love by seeing people as they are and accepting them as they are, while expecting them to grow, hoping and praying for their growth, and joyfully respecting their ultimate maturity as images of God. Images that are unique, beautiful and different from each other but still images of the infinite God.
Many times we think we love someone or feel loved while in a certain group, but are merely enjoying the emotional high that the person or group brings us. The expansion of our heart in love is important, because we must avoid the opposite habit of gripping things tightly to our chests out of fear. Never confuse love with control. Love allows others to follow their own life paths; fear tries to control the paths of others. We can destroy this fear and controlling mindset by trusting that God knows all things and loves all people and has a plan specific to each person we know.
The Abbey Newsletter by Br. Abraham.