I've been begun reading the book "The breath of the soul" by Joan Chittister with a group of friends for the last few weeks and have greatly enjoyed the space for spiritual fresh air it's been providing.
The chapters of this book are very short (2-3 pages at most), but Ms. Chittister - like always - fills each page with rich, hopeful and meaningful content. This last week's reading was based on the theme of responsibility in our prayer lives. Sometimes in prayer, I know I can become myopic - only seeing the needs closest to me and often losing sight of the big picture. Ms. Chittister says in her book,
"Prayer is not meant to make us into a world unto ourselves. We do not pray in order to escape the world around us. We pray with one eye on the world so that we can come to understand what is really being asked of us here and now, at times like this, as co-creators of the universe."
There are many ways to get more involved in community and world improving efforts, but sometimes due to the amble needs; it is difficult to sort out just where to step in and assist. The mantra for the devotion on responsibility is : God, give me the grace to "till and keep" the part of the world you have given into my care.
In relation to the bread of this week and reflecting upon responsibility I came upon a common point of focus. I see areas of need and fail to respond due to the sheer quantity of needs within my own limited vision. God's perspective is unbelievably vast, and yet the bread of his love and grace are continually offered individually to me. Humanity is bound in relationship with each other and we are called to care for each other as God cares for us. We need to see the big picture, and not be paralyzed by the multitudes of needs and attend to each small one as it comes to the surface of our particular perspective. It could be something as simple as checking in on an elderly neighbor, asking a friend out to lunch and listening well to their life story, or it could be organizing a neighborhood clean-up. No matter our place in life, we all can find at least one way of helping to restore wholeness.
Our position in responsibility is not a fixed state. Sometimes we are the one giving bread and sometimes we are the one receiving it. Have you been on the receiving end of another person's responsible act? Have you been the giver to someone else? What place is it easier for you to be: giving or receiving?
It is a true reminder by Joan Chittister that, "We must learn to pray with more than ourselves in mind." I'd like to think that when it's all said and done, I will have lived a life that was active in propagating the higher effort of helping to establish more "on earth as it is in heaven". May I remember the bread of help I've received and be motivated to serve and pray with both my eyes wide open for heaven opportunities.
God blessed them and said, "Bear fruit, increase your numbers, and fill the earth - and be responsible for it! Watch over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all living things on the earth!"
How do you do it?
Sleeping with Bread is a Monday meme. You can participate in one of two ways: 1) Pick one of the above examen question sets and answer it in the comments section of my SWB post; or, 2) Create your own Sleeping with Bread post. You are welcome to right click on the Sleeping with Bread button and save it to your own computer before uploading into your post. Then, make sure you come back and put the link to your post in the automated Mr. Linky form at the end of the current SWB post. I hope you will join me and my fellow bakers as we Sleep with Bread on Mondays!