by Chris Koellhoffer, IHM November 1, 2019
Call it a broadcasting of seeds. Call it a leap of faith. Call it a casting of pebbles into a pond. Whatever we call it and however we name it, all these actions, taken with intention for good, have one thing in common: there’s no measuring where they end or how they affect the world beyond us.
When we rise from sleep in the morning and set our intention to bless, when we begin our day exhaling healing energy, we are in the kind of space that Story People describes in “Invitation”:
“…There is only paying attention to the quiet each morning, while you hold your cup in the cool air & then that moment you choose to spread your love like a cloth upon the table & invite the whole day in again.”
When we choose to act with intention, this is the table we set, spread with love. This is the table where we invite the day to come in and join us. Though we live in a culture that values productivity and demands quantified results, we know that some things, like the life of the spirit or the impact of one good person living intentionally, simply can’t be calculated or measured. Whenever we wonder if choosing to give our lives over for the common good is making any difference in the world, may we remind ourselves that no act of love is ever lost, forgotten, or wasted. May we stake our lives in the sure knowing that the smallest and seemingly most insignificant act of compassion or justice is actually a courageous, emphatic statement announcing to the world: That love is a life force. That love is the energy we choose. That love is not dismayed, that love does not give up, that love endures. Could there be any announcement more important for our world to listen to today?
I have to believe this with my whole being. I have to believe that it was these same energies of love, for example, that enabled the Good Thief (Luke 23:49-42) and the Prodigal Child (Luke 15:11-24) to arrive at a graced intersection: a future full of hope still promised to them. Perhaps they didn’t fully grasp what was unfolding in those critical moments but they knew, in some intuitive way, that mercy and forgiveness and blessing surrounded them. That these energies were ultimately stronger than any negative, despairing forces, stronger even than their past. That they, like us, could imagine the arms of the Holy One thrown wide in welcome, waiting to gift them with their deepest longing: the doors of paradise flung open or a homecoming party celebrating their hoped-for return.
Hopefully, we’ve experienced the positive energies of love in our own lives and can produce a litany of the holy ones who have breathed just such a blessing to us. And hopefully, at least once in a while, we may get to stick around and see the palpable results of all the energies for good that we and so many are daily sending out into the universe.
May we cherish and give thanks for every affirming moment that comes our way and shines a light on the power of healing presence and intention. But may we also never limit our actions only to those that will yield such concrete, immediate results. Instead, may we continue to choose day after day as the Holy One does, spreading our love like a cloth upon the table and inviting the whole day in.
Sit in stillness with the Holy One.
Call to mind a person whose presence has blessed you.
Hold that person in your grateful heart.
Set an intention to bless them this day, and breathe a blessing to them.
Linger in that energy and give thanks.
Thank you for your prayerful support of the Nursing Sisters of the Sick Poor, the Sisters of St. Joseph, and the Cenacle Sisters who were part of last week’s guided retreat in Rockville Centre, NY. Special thanks to Sister Joan McCann, CIJ, for her graciousness in tending to every detail of those days.
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