Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Seeing Jesus in All His Distressing Disguises

Love is the most powerful force in the universe. When we are filled with love our energy is peaceful and joyful. We radiate happiness to others.

So what keeps us from loving ourselves and others fully? Whenever we send words, thoughts, or deeds that are judgmental to another, we dispel love. Although we must continually protect ourselves from dangerous situations and individuals, we can still love everyone, even those who are difficult to love.

Judgmental thoughts are usually fear-based or pride-based. We either feel we are better than someone (pride) or that someone is our enemy (fear) when we think negatively about another.

So think about the following people and note if you have any unloving reactions to them:

• Someone from a different race than yours

• Someone from a different religion that yours

• Someone from a different country than yours

• Someone who has a different job than yours

• Someone with a different education than yours

• Someone with a different personality than yours

• Someone with a different appearance than yours

• Someone from a different social or economic class

• Someone who has a different lifestyle than yours

• Someone from a different political persuasion than yours

You may think, “I celebrate differences. I don’t think about anyone disrespectfully.” Then ask yourself honestly if you have ever spoken unkindly about anyone who is the following groups:

• Men/women

• Poor/rich

• Catholics, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Protestants, Jews, Mormons, atheists, agnostics,
or members of any other religious group

• Gay/straight

• Republicans, Democrats, Green Party members, Tea Party Members, Liberals,
Conservatives, or members of any other political group in your nation

• People who wear the latest fashions, who dress sensibly, or who wear second-hand or tattered clothing

• Those who live in mansions, trailers, shacks, big homes, apartments, small homes, or who are homeless

• Politicians, lawyers, stay-at-home mothers, working mothers, childless woman, unmarried men and women, tax collectors, salesmen

• The elderly, teen-agers, children, or adults

• Prisoners, immigrants, or someone who speaks with an accent

• Those who are mentally or physically ill or people with disabilities

• Any other individual or group of individuals that you may feel is of less value than another

Every person on earth is a child of God and has divine worth. As children of God, we are created to love. Love is our mission and our journey to peace.

Mother Teresa described those she served as “Jesus in a distressing disguise.” She said, “Keep giving Jesus to your people not by words, but by your example, by your being in love with Jesus, by radiating his holiness and spreading his fragrance of love everywhere you go. Just keep the joy of Jesus as your strength. Be happy and at peace. Accept whatever he gives, and give whatever he takes with a big smile. You belong to him."

Each morning the Missionaries of Charity, nuns who follow Mother Teresa’s example by serving the dying and destitute throughout the world, offer this prayer:

Dear Lord, the Great Healer, I kneel before you, since every perfect gift must come from you. I pray, give skill to my hands, clear vision to my mind, kindness and meekness to my heart. Give me singleness of purpose, strength to lift up a part of the burden of my suffering fellowmen, and a realization of the privilege that is mine. Take from my heart all guile and worldliness, that with the simple faith of a child, I may rely on you. Amen.

May this be our prayer, too.

World peace will not come until individuals become peace-givers, peace-thinkers, and peace-speakers. It begins with every loving thought we think and every unkind thought we refuse. It begins with every loving word we speak and every unkind remark we forego. It begins with every loving deed we do and every unkind act we avoid. It begins one person at a time, and that one person can radiate love to hundreds of people, who will then do the same.

Some day the power of love will heal the world.

&copy Carol Brown

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