I keep thinking about that story, where a monk goes to his superior and says, I do my little alms and make my little prayers, and what more can I do, and the superior answers, why not pray to be turned into flame? That story has always gotten to me and I’m not sure why. What does that even mean? I think the story isn’t about martyrdom, it is more about zeal, about being all-in. So what does that mean, in 2017, here, now? Why does the story affect me at all?
Because you always think you are not doing enough. You always fear you are falling short of some impossibly high standard I have set for you.
Well, yeah—perfection. Be ye perfect, right? Straight A life, right?
This is the common interpretation, God as School-master, ready to grade performance and knowledge, every day an exam, every hour a pop-quiz. No wonder you, so many humans, are so stressed. A better understanding of perfect would be complete or whole. Scripture also says, perfect love casts out fear. Imagine a container, full to the brim with water, full even to the point of overflowing. There is no room for anything else in that container. A life lived in perfect love, a soul made perfect in love, would have no space for fear or any of fear’s outworkings, like greed (which is fear of lack) or jealousy (which is fear over position or opportunity) or hatred (which is fear of being less-than, of being ignored, of being taken for granted). Take away fear, all fear, and replace that with love, genuine love, and look what happens to your day and in your life. You treat others well and you treat yourself well. Your gifts and talents are fully developed and used to bless others, blessing yourself in the process. You have no lack. And if everyone around you is living from the same mindset, no one else has any lack either. Perfect love is the answer to every one of earth’s ills.
But, Lord, we don’t love like that. And some live the opposite—they are so full of fear they have little or no room for love at all!
It is tempting to look around and try to grade others. That is why I said, “don’t judge.” Be concerned with your own vessel, with your own heart, your own life. Fill yourself up with My Love.
How do I do that with folks whose values are so different than mine? How do I love those who do terrible things, who show no love at all?
(Gently) Little One, they need love most of all. The only way you can show love to such as these is to pray to see with My eyes, with My heart. Pray for a crack in the dark to let the light in. Pray for the tiniest crack in their bedrock of fear to let the water of Love seep in. Pray for Love to increase. Pray for seeds of Love to flourish and grow in the unlikeliest of places, in the most arid and polluted of circumstances.
The Sower sowed seed everywhere, in all kinds of soil, remember? Do you think the Sower was stupid? Or wasteful? No, the Sower is a parable of Hope! You be the good soil that brings forth a multiplication of seeds—and then dare to be a sower who scatters seeds of love everywhere, trusting that some will sprout, some will grow, and will transform the desert into a garden. That is the promise, about rivers in the desert and dry places holding a well. You grow in Love, and sow in Hope, and know, no seed of Love sown is ever truly wasted.