Choose

Eternal life is the wayless way of making this one choice: to serve God and each other. It’s the most important choice you will ever make, because in that place of willingness and humility you will remember who you truly are: a child of Christ’s Light.

-Br. Nicholas Bartoli, SSJE

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Enemies

When Jesus commanded us to “love our enemies,” he was pointing to a fundamental truth behind those words. When we open our hearts enough to truly love, our enemies turn into the possibility for healing.

-Br. Nicholas Bartoli, SSJE

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Freedom

The only true freedom is in being servants to God, the perfect freedom of being God’s humble servant. We accept this gift of perfect freedom when we surrender everything to God, exchanging willfulness for willingness in union with Christ. From this place of surrender and servanthood, we see that what appears to be choices in human terms are ultimately the unfolding of God in the world.

-Br. Nicholas Bartoli
Society of Saint John the Evangelist

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Roots

Within each moment, the wind of the Holy Spirit carries seeds of opportunity: our Creator plants these seeds deep within our heart. The seeds might not find fertile soil, but instead rocky ground with nowhere to take root. If so, we need to turn to Christ for help, and to our sisters and brothers in Christ, who want to give those seeds a fighting chance as much as we do.

-Br. Nicholas Bartoli, SSJE

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Miracle

The Holy Spirit blows where it will, carrying with it an invitation to recognize the miracle of our own aliveness in this and every moment. We are a part of the unfolding of God’s will and providence.

-Br. Nicholas Bartoli, SSJE

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Happiness

Here’s the problem with pursuing happiness: it’s based on a false premise, namely that there’s something we have to do, something we need to have, in order to be happy. In truth, the joy Jesus shares with us doesn’t work like that. It’s a joy with no cause, with no prerequisite, and it’s already here.

-Br. Nicholas Bartoli, SSJE

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Mother

While we were in our mother’s womb, we were without any perceived separation at all, in a loving relationship of total communion, complete giving and open receiving. That’s one of the reasons the language of incarnation, birth, and rebirth stirs us so strongly on our journeys of faith. Like a mother for her children, God loves us before we come into being with a love greater than anything we can imagine.

-Br. Nicholas Bartoli, SSJE

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Abundance

When our minds are distracted by anxiety, we forget God’s eternal presence. We forget, and so we fail to recognize Christ’s Light in a flower, a friend’s face, the play of shadows at dusk, the sound of rustling leaves, or even the subtle sense of our own being. Fortunately, all it takes is an instant of rest for our souls, a complete surrender to God, and a quieting of our minds. Then we remember this place of abundance, here and now, already surrounding us and within us.

-Br. Nicholas Bartoli, SSJE

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Joy

The way of Jesus means taking each moment as an opportunity to surrender to God’s Love. As we practice allowing ourselves to rest in Christ’s embrace, we begin to realize that the joy Jesus talks about isn’t just an emotion we feel, it’s who we’re meant to be. We are the joy Jesus wants to share in the world.

-Br. Nicholas Bartoli, SSJE

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Identity

Our spiritual battle is a choice: between submission to God’s will or relying on our own willfulness. God’s way requires a radical denial of worldly attachments, including the worldly identity we create and sustain.

– Br. Nicholas Bartoli, SSJE

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A provocation for your day:

We are so much more than our status, our social markers, or our stuff. Think about how you talk about yourself or describe yourself to others. What do you name; what do you leave out? Imagine how God would describe you.