by Christine Sine
A Meditation on love
Over the last week, inspired by readings by Evelyn Underhill and John O’Donohue, I have spent quite a bit of time thinking about the love of God because I think that in this challenging season all of us need to know that we are loved and cared for.
I have read through Romans 8:35-39 and other scriptures that refer to the love of God several times and this meditation is the result.
Not surprisingly, as I began, I decided to create a new contemplative garden.
As you can see I have left the owl wing that was the focal point in my last garden in place but have removed the other feathers and added a couple of teacup gardens instead. I have also added all the heart shaped stones I could find – some of them that have been given to me and others that I have picked up on my journeys.
Several thoughts came to me as I worked on this:
- Under God’s protective wings is where I feel most secure in the divine love which is why I felt that the owl wing still needed to have a prominent place in my garden.
- At the centre, not surprisingly, is God’s huge heart of love which permeates the universe and fills all of creation.
- I was very aware as I placed my teacup gardens in here that the love of God doesn’t just reside in my heart but it overflows from there into the world around me. That’s why the other heart shaped rocks fill so much of the garden. God’s love is abundant. It doesn’t just fill you and me but it fills the whole of creation.
If you have a heart shaped stone, hold it in your hand. Or you might like to pause and draw a heart, or make a collage to use as you participation this exercise.
Reflecting With Evelyn Underhill
Just like so many of the psalms, Evelyn Underhill reminds us that to love and praise the God of creation is what creation is for.
As I reflected on my garden a couple of quotes from her meditation on The Lord’s prayer which both emphasize this and expand on it, caught my attention:
“Love is always to be recognized and adored for it is the signature of God lying upon creation; often smudged and faded, almost blotted out, yet legible to the eyes which have been cleansed by prayer.”
“Our Father which art in heaven yet present here and now in and with our struggling lives, on whom we depend utterly as children of the Eternal perfect whose nature and whose name is love.” According to Underhill one aspect of redemptions to show us how to love this perfect and ever present God – this God who created all things, fills all things and desires to see all things filled once more with the radiance of divine love.
Wow, wow, wow – as I hold this heart shaped love stone in my hands I feel the embrace of God’s love and I wanted to be drawn into this loving presence and be filled once more with the radiance of divine love I was designed to participate in and to share.
Inspired by John O’Donohue
John O’Donohue in his book Anam Cara talks about the wellspring of love that resides deep within all of us – this radiant and divine love that is meant to be the centre of our lives. He talks about imagining this divine love welling up though our bodies and into the entire world. So I thought that I would walk you through an expanded version of the exercise he suggests. I will then read the poem that flowed out of my heart as I completed this meditation and end by reading Romans 8:35-39 in The Passion Translation.
So settle yourself into a quiet, comfortable and safe space.
Close your eyes and imagine that wellspring of love that resides deep within you in that hidden place at the root of you soul. It is here that our Creator still resides in glorious splendor and freedom, the image of God waiting to be set free.
Sit still, breathe deeply. Imagine opening the doors of your heart to give freedom to this love. Picture its nourishing stream of light and life welling up in a river that washes over your anxieties and fears with a beautiful sense of belonging, ease, peace and delight.
Sit still, breathe deeply, feel these refreshing waters breaking out and gradually flowing up through the arid earth of the starved and neglected part of your heart.
Imagine it seeping through that hardened circle around your heart and dissolving the fears and anxieties, the self centeredness and pride that beset you.
Sit still, breathe deeply. Offer this love that flows from the very heart of God, as a blessing, first to your own heart and then out into the world to people who are desperate, starving, trapped in hospitals, tormented and in their own barren places.
Send it out from the bountifulness of your own love. Let it reach into the lives of others to heal them, to free them, to bless them, to nourish them and to make them whole.
A prayer of love
Glorious and eternal One,
Creator of all things,
Architect of earth itself,
I praise and adore your glorious name.
From you all love comes,
All light radiates,
All life flows.
It permeates the universe
and fills all things,
Yet resides within my soul,
In a deep and often hidden well of peace and freedom.
The image of God waiting to be set free.
Let it soak into the depths of my being,
And immerse me in your presence.
May it fill every fibre of my being,
Until I awaken fully to your love,
And my heart becomes your dwelling place.
May it seep through the hardened circle of fear and anxiety,
Until it becomes
The air I breathe,
The food I eat,
The wine I thirst for.
Let your love fill me to overflowing,
So that I ache with your desires,
And weep with your compassion.
I offer your love as a blessing
First to my own heart to cleanse and free me,
And then to our hurting world,
To people who are desperate, starving, trapped in hospitals,
Tormented and in their own barren places
I reach out wit the desire for justice and mercy and generosity
From this bountiful well of Eternal Love bubbling up within,
Sending it out to heal, to free, to bless and to nourish.
Please continue reading Romans 8:35-39 The Passion Translation
You may also like to read this beautiful love poem by Father Pedro Arrupe’s beautiful prayer Falling In Love With God.