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Love 3: Identity

Question:

How are you a lover?

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Share: #ssjetime #identity

Transcript of Video:

What’s your identity? What are you to be about? Why don’t you be a lover: to presume that why God has extended your life into this day, is for the cause of love. To receive God’s love in every way into your being and then to reflect that love outward. Hildegard of Bingen, the great medieval abbess, said we should be mirrors. We should be mirrors, mirroring God’s light and God’s love with great generosity everywhere we go. Love: love is of our essence.

-Br. Curtis Almquist

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60 Comments

  1. Sophfronia on March 29, 2015 at 15:11

    To answer the @SSJE brothers’ question, “How am I a lover?” I would say I offer love with my presence and with listening. To quote “The Little Prince”: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” I try to see a person with my heart and to offer the gift we’ve been discussing all month, time. Again, “The Little Prince”: “It’s the time you spent on your rose that makes your rose so important.” I offer focus, attention and energy in a world where too often we look the other way. #SSJEtime #identity

  2. Elizabeth S. on March 29, 2015 at 13:50

    When I am feeling full of love, I see other people loving me back. It’s as simple as a smile. If I walk down the street or through the grocery store, for example, and let the love I’m feeling show on my face, then I see genuine love filled responses from others, strangers. It’s a miracle that can happen any day any time.

  3. Lisa on March 28, 2015 at 07:06

    I try to be for those around me what they need for me to be. What that means, is to be present for them, attentive to their needs and their presence in this world. To make our time together about them, not about me. I notice when I am intent on meeting my needs in a relationship, that it seems to drift away – when I am intent on the other, I gain much more and so do they. Being a lover for me is being present and caring for those around me.

  4. Lissa Davis on March 27, 2015 at 12:30

    I suppose by caring for my clients; my feeble attempts at encouraging others

  5. Christopher Engle Barnhart on March 26, 2015 at 22:39

    Start each day and end each day with a kind word for those who you love.

  6. Terri on March 26, 2015 at 11:15

    I am a lover to my family and friends by being present during their time of need, being compassionate and caring, being a good listener. I am a good lover to strangers by listening to them and smiling when I see the stranger on the streets or in a waiting line at the grocery store.

  7. NA on March 25, 2015 at 22:05

    I have to say that I haven’t really ever thought about my identity as a lover. I am not sure I actually know for sure in that context. I think I might get a more accurate picture if I were able to ask those with whom I interact, both for where I might be loving and where I might be falling short. I am frequently told I am very loving and generous, but then sometimes I wonder if it is enough. However, I do tend to be my own worst critic at times.

    Giving comes naturally to me, but I see that as a gift as well as an area in which to exercise healthy boundaries. My identity? Hmmm. I’ll have to mull that one over!

  8. Karen on March 25, 2015 at 15:00

    I try to love through generosity…with my money and my time and my emotional investment. I enjoy listening to my friends and volunteering. I feel very lucky that I can support my mother who lives below the poverty line. I like to give even when I’m not expecting anything back. I just have to be careful about burnout.

  9. Susan Dredge on March 25, 2015 at 12:52

    What a wonderful comment and thought of being God’s mirror for His love and light. I like to think of myself as a lover, it is so much more positive to love and to give. I like many have my “down and negative” times but then soon, through God’s love I am brought back to the here and now by counting the blessings God has given to me and the power to love and be generous with His love through me.

  10. Michael on March 25, 2015 at 10:30

    I’m not sure I really have an answer for the question

  11. Marta e. on March 25, 2015 at 08:25

    Sometimes life if tough. Yesterday, I had a real “meltdown” so deeply struggled with unsolvable computer issues interfering with. Course work proceeding as scheduled. Yet, as the day proceeded and I tried to “recover” a few things miraculously happened. I like to watch for God’s little “miracles” interjecting themselves into my life like little surprises: the gift of a exactly sized screw to rescue the old clippers, yet again. The experience of the tai chi class healing my energy. The warmth of large animals knickering at me during feeding. These, and all the other graces that abound, so I try to pass that feeling on as I go About my day in the shops, neighborhood, relating with family, and doing my
    “Work”.

  12. Mark on March 25, 2015 at 07:15

    By being an conduit and allowing God’s love to flow through me

  13. jane on March 24, 2015 at 23:20

    Like Randy, I am a pastoral visitor and try to show love to those who are often isolated. I love them by giving them my time and listening, by occasionally taking aspecial gift and by just being there. I try to be alover of my husband of 55 years by caring for his needs, making nice meals and sharing time with him discussing something or attending a concert together. Giving my children time is another way of sharing my love and God’s love for them. I think of the time Jesus gave to Zaccheus, to the woman at the well who came alone and was transformed by Jesus love and Peter after the resurrection when Jesus spent time with him, resolving his fears, forgiving him and loving himas he affirmed his love for Jesus. we need to emulate times like that.

  14. Dee Dee on March 24, 2015 at 22:17

    I am a lover of others when I do and say things that help others move forward with their days, their weeks, their years, indeed, their lives.

  15. Jane on March 24, 2015 at 22:07

    I try to be aware of and grateful for the beauty of nature around me every day. Today I noticed that the trees are already leafing out!! In NJ (my old home) the tree branches are all still bare!! There’s a beautiful crescent Moon in the sky this evening. I love all of the flowering trees that seem to be everywhere. And I feel as though all of this natural beauty is one of God’s ways of showing love for me. Sometimes I do feel lonely for loving human companionship during the day. I’m retired and my family isn’t, so I don’t get to spend as much time with them as I’d like. But I’m always getting phone calls, e mails and Facebook messages from them as well as friends as tangible indications of their love and caring. I just finished a phone call from a dear friend in NJ before I started writing this reply. I show love by hosting meals for family and friends, giving small gifts for no reason, etc. And my family and I always end our phone conversations and e mails with “love you!” And finally, when I’m out and about, I try to treat everyone with kindness, from the clerks at the post office and grocery store to the neighbor I see in our complex’s parking lot as we walk to and from our cars!

  16. Susan Zimmerman on March 24, 2015 at 20:45

    …i believe there comes a time for some when one ‘knows’ they are no longer a lover, rather they are worthy of being the ‘beloved’. Had a unique experience in discovering the same.

    …when two know they are worthy of being the beloved it is difficult for relationship, although both know that love is present…

    …Curtis what is the difference between a lover and the beloved for you? What was your experience of discovering the same?

  17. Nicki on March 24, 2015 at 19:02

    How am I as a lover? Passionate, loving with my whole being and soul, with restraint! It’s a cause for celebration. My love for God is rather overwhelming with gratitude, because God has seen me through a pretty rough life, and rewarded me several times along the way. What I lack is experience in accepting love from any loving person. I can’t imagine what they’re talking about. So, this is a hard topic for me. I do believe my spouse and children and grandchildren, but they all show it , first.
    I love my gardening, walking in the woods, wild animal sightings, and bird song, cold wind in my face, swimming in the ocean, eating seafood, and my beloved cats! All great privilege.

  18. Karen Fast on March 24, 2015 at 17:33

    It is interesting to have this question for a day that I am home alone with various chores and joys to accomplish. Today I am a lover by planting some chard and kale starters in my back garden, knowing that God loves the earth enough that they will grow and feed me, and perhaps visiting family and friends. Today I am a lover hanging laundry out on the line, I with loving thoughts of my grandchildren and their parents who slept last weekend in the bedding now blowing in the wind. Yes, love just happens. It can’t be set up, like a date.

  19. Janet on March 24, 2015 at 17:13

    Dear Brother Curtis, your words always reach my heart. For several years I have known God’s presence in quiet periods of meditation, but it happened in my head. I think I held God away, not feeling “good enough” to be close to Him. But recently something has changed, and now I know in my heart, the boundless love which lifts my spirit, and fills me with joy. I feel it is flowing through me, and it has influenced the way I interact, and think of other people.
    I pray, like Hildegard, to be a mirror, reflecting the love and joy I feel.

  20. Randy Ruffin on March 24, 2015 at 17:09

    My desire is to be a lover through the pastoral visits I make to shut ins – sometimes taking something tasty to eat, or a flowering plant – but principally takint the gift of time and care. I try to give back to those who serve in check out lines in stores, or in other capacities, and I’m trying to reflect God’s love in my work at our local literacy council with hispanic immigrants who are trying to learn English. And I try to be an encourager and listening ear to my grown children and to do the little things that show care and love for my husband- from cooking meals and doing laundry to listening attentively – always a good challenge for me – or watching a basketball game with him. Like others, I’m a work in progress and fail often, but this is my intention.

  21. Verlinda on March 24, 2015 at 16:54

    I’m a lover by paying attention to the little things about people. How often we miss undercurrents in words or in body language that might help us reach out when it’s most needed.

    I’m also a lover by encouraging others and by asking the hard questions. That might seem counter-intuitive to being loving, but I believe if I love someone or something, I need to speak out and address tough situations. It’s not always easy, and lord knows I fail spectacularly sometimes, but God’s grace and love are always there for me–and others.

  22. Muriel Akam on March 24, 2015 at 15:00

    I have especially loved reading all of the posts today. I am a BC survivor and so thankful that I can have this time to show my love for family and friends. I am not sure that I mirror God’s love but hope my actions in daily life reflect mu love for God, family . friends. students and this wonderful world .I love the hymn, ‘ Make me a channel of your peace’ and often let it guide me.

  23. Louise Howlett on March 24, 2015 at 13:37

    I think everyone needs validation and knowledge that they are heard; sometimes this is the only way I can love a person, not be agreeing with them or serving them in some way, but just by showing understanding of their feelings and thoughts. I show love through hugs and words and acts of service to family and friends, but for others it may be just showing understanding or compassion in some simple way.

    • Melinda on March 24, 2015 at 14:26

      Very lovely Louise.

  24. Patricia on March 24, 2015 at 13:01

    During some of the most stressful times of my life, friends have told me, “You look great!” I know they are being truthful and yet I am crumbling on the inside. When people are rude or careless with me, I wonder what else is going on in their lives that only they know about. Perhaps, that is one way that I am a lover.

  25. Roderic Brawn on March 24, 2015 at 11:36

    I try everyday to be a lover in all the things I do. I try to serve others. However, I’m not sure how to love in some cases. Sometimes I have to cut off contact with some people because I feel hurt.

  26. Louise on March 24, 2015 at 11:16

    Great quote from Hildegard. It is so very true that what a person feels inside is reflected in their outward appearance. May I always remember that as I go through each day, and try to reflect God’s love.

  27. Roderick McDowell on March 24, 2015 at 11:15

    During Lent I have been involved with a parish group reading Simon Wiesenthal’s book, the Sunflower. In essence it is about his reaction, while still a prisoner, to a dieing ss soldier who requested forgiveness. I struggled with the question of whether I, in similar circumstances, could have forgiven. The messages that have come in this video series, and particularly today’s, reminded me of God’s infinite and vast love for us and that we are asked to reflect that love. I hope I never will face what Mr. Wiesenthal endured but I am confident that God would want me to love.

    • Marta e. on March 25, 2015 at 08:16

      In a course last year (spring -2014) religious ethics and morals, we read Selections from The Sunflower and wrote a paper. The issue of forgiveness and reconciliation is a massive one : how to forgive. Sometime, I don’t believe we can forgive unless we understand the physical and psychological background of the offenders. Then, there is the group issue brought out by Moral Man and Immoral Society (Niebuhr) (and by “Lord of the Flies”) that when the group process takes over, we sometimes cannot gain our boundaries and individual power. But the outcome of Moral Man is the WWII treaty, and a peaceful world today, at least as far as we are able. Taken personally, forgiveness is. Very hard, and I am not sure that we can “forgive” unless we take our faith on faith, that is, that no matter what happens, God calls us to forgive. The rest is up to God. That is the “Miracle” of the resurrection.

  28. Linda B on March 24, 2015 at 10:23

    I want people around me to see the joy in my life. So I try to smile and be approachable and welcoming. I try to engage those around me and show them is some small way that I notice them and love them even if they are strangers.

  29. Rev Tom Calhoun on March 24, 2015 at 10:15

    Like most of us, I’m a pilgrim on this journey…I haven’t arrived yet. I admit that much of what I’ve learned about “Christian love” was taught by the Buddha. My theory is that Jesus IS the Buddha; The Sangha to which I belong has many thousands of Christians as members. Let us give completely to others the love God gives us. Love is a living entity that grows with use, and is usually returned.

  30. anders on March 24, 2015 at 09:56

    I am a lover in accepting that there is only love. Some may wish to break love into pieces, that agape is not éros is not philía, that it’s dreadful to put God, children, your intimate other and pizza as objects of love. Pizza aside, we are all on a level playing field, all created in the Creator’s image in the image of love. What else do we need to figure out? That alone is enough, and it is good.

    • Susan Zimmerman on March 24, 2015 at 20:57

      …I never put my tacos to the side…actually i think the Greeks missed one…Ha!

  31. Norm Anderson on March 24, 2015 at 08:47

    I attempt to become” that which I know deep inside is my purpose: to love with all my heart and soul and mind, everyone! Of course I am drawn to thise who are also passionate about their love but I am also drawn to those on the margins-where my life in the world has taken me.
    I fall short of my “reflecting” each day but every now and then, I get it right. My I continue this journey to reflect God’s love and to assist in the great challenge of making the mirror of our souls brighter and more focused, thus relecting God’s love more clearly.

  32. John on March 24, 2015 at 08:46

    Bro. Curtis’ reflection and how I heard the question ” how to you love? ” seemed incongruous until I realized that that both are about being and not doing… Identity… A mirror taking in the light and Love of God and radiating God’s Love to the world and people in my life… This image of the mirror is freeing… The image describes my identity…sometimes…

  33. Nancy W. Del Borgo on March 24, 2015 at 08:46

    Wow! Powerful, Br. Curtis. Thank you!

  34. Jana Everett on March 24, 2015 at 08:28

    I try to express kindness to and interest in others. I like to cuddle with my cats. My main obstacles to reflecting God’s love is that I get discouraged, feel inadequate, and tap into the feeling unloved that I experienced as a child. When I can tap into the realization that I am loved by God, I can try to express that love to others.

  35. Craig Sugden on March 24, 2015 at 07:56

    I think I will keep this in mind today with the people around me. Am I treating them like someone I love? or someone I just have to spend time with? I will try to look at myself from their point of view and see what I am doing.

    • Karen y on March 25, 2015 at 09:13

      Thank you for your comment it struck a chord with me and will also try and see myself from the others perspective.

  36. Dee Paine on March 24, 2015 at 07:53

    If we are mirrors of God’s love, I pray that God helps me to keep my mirror sparkling and streak-free to truly reflect His light. I myself, cannot do this, but only with His loving assistance can I truly reflect His love and His light.

  37. Kathy B on March 24, 2015 at 07:43

    I love my husband deeply and without limits; I love my students, but sometimes its hard for them to see that. I have to push them to grow, which they often resist,
    I guess I love anybody who will accept it, though I wonder if some people get shortchanged on days when I’m less generous.

  38. JGlow on March 24, 2015 at 07:39

    That’s a challenging question, how am I a lover? I love Psalm 19 …in the heavens “He has created an expanse for the sun, it rises like a bridegroom rejoicing to run its course.” Rejoicing to do what I was created to do, to run the course set before me, that is love.

  39. Christopher Epting on March 24, 2015 at 07:33

    Part of love is wanting the very best for others, putting their best interests ahead of your own. I try to do that with my family, friends, parisioners, etc. A caution here is remember to take care of oneself, so that you will have enough to give to the other. Love your neighbor AS yourself.

    • NA on March 25, 2015 at 21:51

      That last bit is the tricky part. I remind myself of the airplane oxygen mask spiel they give, that you have to put the mask over your own face in order to have the ability to help others.

  40. Karen y on March 24, 2015 at 07:33

    I know in my soul God loves me and I stand in his confidence, strength and courage but I would be dishonest if I did not say it is a daily struggle to love others who have hurt you in a number of different ways. To love as Christ loved us to those who are rude and only want to use you for their own ends is a challenge, but I have picked up my cross and I am trying to follow.

  41. Jeanne on March 24, 2015 at 07:26

    I love my children, my extended family, my friends. I try to hold them all in my embrace as a shepherd holds a sheep. I would be better at it if I could forget myself – my worries, and how I look to others. I think the mirror is not always positioned properly. (And whose fault is that??)

  42. Sallie on March 24, 2015 at 07:17

    the question is, what is love? is it just being “nice” or is it something more? I can’t figure that all out right now.

    • Kathy B on March 24, 2015 at 07:31

      I think it sometimes depends on where you and the other person are at that moment. When I’m at peace, I can give as much love as the other will accept; when I’m agitated, I just can’t do or care as much.

  43. Linda H. on March 24, 2015 at 07:01

    I am a lover to my friends and family when I listen to them and celebrate their being, when I sm present in their times of joy and sorrow. I’m a lover when I connect with the divine in each of us.

  44. Elspeth on March 24, 2015 at 06:52

    This is a great message for this morning. To think that my main job today is to love and to reflect God’s love. Thank you for such a good start to this beautiful day

  45. Margie on March 24, 2015 at 06:46

    How do I love???? What a question for thoughtfulness. I love people, I love to care for people, I love children, I love to care for children. I care for elderly, I care for the sick and injured. I love being able to share love in this way. I often think from the bottom of my heart that really no one loves me. They love what I do for them but if it was not for His love I would have none. Why are there some days that I’m just sad without the love of others? I know I should not be sad. His love should be all I need. Most days it is. Sincerely most days it is. But….with the earthly life I have sometime I’m lonely without the love of the rest of God’s creation. Thank You Father for being with me. I love You with all my hear.

    • Melinda on March 24, 2015 at 11:34

      Dear Margie, many years ago someone told me “Don’t should on yourself”. Lovely advice, and I strive to follow that. However, being not yet perfect I do not always succeed 🙂 Yes, I am aware that God loves me and that knowledge brings comfort/peace – most of the time. But, being a human being I too sometimes feel lonely and wish for the love of earthly beings. The reminder that helps me during those times is the St Francis prayer. It reminds me that it really is in giving (love for example) that we receive -not necessarily from those to whom I give love – it comes back to me from a place within myself. I believe that God “built” us that way….placed His love right inside our hearts. Thank you for sharing your true feelings/thoughts…that is a great gift. God bless you!

  46. Tom on March 24, 2015 at 06:43

    I have a very positive, almost Pollyanna-like attitude towards the world. When a friend of mine complains about someone or something, I often try to point out a good reason or justification for the problem at hand, a “put yourself in the other’s place.”

    I also tend to be an “includer”. It bothers me very deeply when an individual or group is left out or excluded from an activity for whatever reason.

  47. Karen on March 24, 2015 at 06:37

    This is a hard one for me to answer. Showing love and wanting to be loved hasn’t always been a positive thing for me.

  48. Agatha Nolen on March 24, 2015 at 06:25

    I believe each day that the reason I’ve survived breast cancer in 2006 and God has extended my life to today, is because of love. So that I could fully experience His love and then radiate it to others, in His name. My question isn’t “why did I get cancer?”, but instead, “why did I survive?”. It is love.

  49. Diane on March 24, 2015 at 06:16

    Thank you, Curtis. I was meant to read this first thing this morning. You have reminded me of my (and our) vocation, a reason for my still being around, and it is so simple and obvious though I search all the time for why I am here and what God designed me for. I will carry this into the day and, I hope, beyond.

  50. Winifred on March 24, 2015 at 05:11

    I am a lover through curiosity and enjoyment, about living animals and nature and other human beings who are passionate and joyful about something. Bring it on! What an honor to be alive and breathing the air –

  51. bob on March 24, 2015 at 04:19

    As I may have mentioned excessively already, health care is massive on love. It doesn’t call it that – it talks of compassion, care, competence, challenge, courage and confidence- but what it means is sharing love. Love those who love their children, love those whose lives are disturbed and assault you, love those you work with and stand up for right when wrong is sliding in. I would like to think all of us work in love.

    • NA on March 25, 2015 at 21:48

      Those in the medical profession whose lives are mirrors of love really stand out. Just this past Sunday and Monday, our local hospital got a chance to shine when my mother was admitted for testing. Because the “norm” for medical people where we all used to live was not love, to put it as nicely as I can, she went in being extremely apprehensive in an already scary situation. Thankfully, the local folks are very different than those previously encountered. Their respect, love, and care at every step of the way enabled her even to get through an MRI for the first time, which was what she needed for a correct Dx. Her doctor (hospitalist) was a Christian, too, and encouraged her heart that way as well. She came home talking about how nice they had all been and how she wanted to thank them. The hospital even has a send and email to a patient service where messages are delivered to cheer people. All of that helps and shows love. 🙂

  52. Enid Shields on March 24, 2015 at 01:12

    It was posited today that the opposite of love is fear. I now realize from receiving your message that fear is turning away from the mirror to live in shadow, dull and unreflective. The challenge for me is to stay in the light of love even when it makes me wince and blink and wonder if it will harm me if I do not escape it. I suspect there are uncomfortable truths in that mirror, and my very wish to avoid them is perhaps the most uncomfortable of all. May I manifest the wisdom to embrace tough appraisal as both a good and necessary aspect of love.

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