The Stories That Make Us

Day 5: Stories of Others

At the beginning of the day:

            Offer a short prayer of thanksgiving for the day.  Then I suggest you listen to the attached talk first and then familiarize yourself with the suggested reflection questions and practice.

Throughout the day: a couple of things perhaps to ponder and practice….

We live in an increasingly divided nation, and social media has been exposed as a format that can exacerbate polarization by feeding us a narrative an algorithm thinks we want to hear. (If you’ve not seen “The Social Dilemma,” I recommend it.) Are you in control, or being controlled, by what you see on the internet? Does what you “like,” “share,” “re-tweet,” help to build unity and increase compassion? Or does it maintain and justify divisions by enhancing stereotypes (false or inadequate narratives about another person or group) we wish to believe? What would Jesus tweet?

None of us gets through this life unscathed. Chances are someone you loved wounded you quite deeply. Perhaps reconciliation is not a possibility. We can carry these wounds for a long time, and even keep them open through memory; replaying the old story. It might not be possible to feel forgiveness, much less affection for the one who hurt you. But is it possible to pray for them to God: “Your will be done. I leave this to you. I no longer wish to carry this burden.”? This is agape, an act of love, an expression of our desire to keep grace alive and flowing despite how we might feel.

At the end of the day:

If you have a spiritual practice with which you end the day, and it’s working for you, don’t change it. If not, I’d suggest taking just a few minutes before bed to review the day. Give thanks for the day. Ask forgiveness for whatever you may you need it for. Again, don’t judge yourself too harshly: God doesn’t. Ask to be freed of anything you may be carrying as a burden from the day. Give it to God for the night.

And may these words of St. Teresa of Avila, which were so often a comfort to her, be a comfort to you as you close the day:

Let nothing disturb you,

Nothing affright you,

All things are passing;

God never changes.

Patience gains all things.

The one who has God lacks nothing.

God alone suffices.

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