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There is no fear in love,

but perfect love casts out fear;

for fear has to do with punishment,

and whoever fears

has not reached perfection in love.

We love because God first loved us.

-1 John 4:18-19

Seeker,

What frightens you most these days?

 

The dual drivers,

fear and greed,

motivate so much human activity.

 

Combined, these controlling forces

in some way bind and blind us all.

And they are most debilitating when disguised or denied.

 

Even at the heart of so-called “spiritual lives”,

the twin engines are hard at work—

fear of punishment and expectation of reward.

 

Perhaps the longest, steepest descent

in each life journey is that movement

away from grasping and into giving, out of fear and into forgiving.

 

As long as we look

for some kind of pay for what we do,

as long as we want

to get something from God

in some kind of exchange,

we are like the merchants.

If you want to be rid

of the commercial spirit,

then by all means

do all you can in the way of good works,

but do so solely for the praise of God.

Live as if you did not exist.

Expect and ask nothing in return….

Only such a person is free and genuine.

-Meister Eckhart

 

Feasting on a diet of dissatisfaction,

greed leaves us hungry for more,

alert to what might threaten our accumulations.

 

Transforming fancies into wants,

spinning desires into necessities, turning passion to poison,

greed dizzies and disorients, till we lose balance.

 

Consider the events of this day alone.

How many actions and reactions

are subtly suggested by greed and massaged by fear?

 

Christ said,

“Go and give all you have to the poor

and become the servant of all,”

for if you do that,

you’ll become a thousand times richer

because your happiness

won’t be made just of good food,

rich clothes, satisfied vanity, and appeased envy.

Instead it will be built on love,

love multiplied by love without end.

-Fyodor Dostoyevsky

So, how do we break free

from the entanglements of avarice

and the paralysis of paranoia?

 

 

Transforming fancies into wants,

spinning desires into necessities, turning passion to poison,

greed dizzies and disorients, till we lose balance.

 

Consider the events of this day alone.

How many actions and reactions

are subtly suggested by greed and massaged by fear?

 

Christ said,

“Go and give all you have to the poor

and become the servant of all,”

for if you do that,

you’ll become a thousand times richer

because your happiness

won’t be made just of good food,

rich clothes, satisfied vanity, and appeased envy.

Instead it will be built on love,

In order to face fear

and grapple with greed

we first must dare to unmask them.

 

Humbly we confess our compulsions—

the drive to acquire, compete or compare,

and the dread-filled doubts that overpower us.

 

Both water and oil

come from the earth.

And though they are similar

in many ways, they are opposites

in their nature and their purpose.

One extinguishes fire,

the other gives fuel to the fire.

Similarly, the world and its treasures

are creations of God

along with the soul

and its thirst for spiritual truth.

But if we try to quench

the thirst of our soul with the wealth

and pride and honors of this world,

then it is like trying

to extinguish fire with oil.

-Sadhu Sundar Singh

 

As greed and fear

command and control,

so love loosens and liberates.

 

Mercy and humility are love perfected.

When invoked and embodied, they unshackle fear

and exorcise the demons of desire.

 

Perfect love, the act of letting go,

unclenches first the heart,

and then the fist.

 

I would rather live unlocked,

And more often than not astonished,

Which is possible

If I am willing to surrender

What I already think I know.

-Carrie Newcomer

 

Forgiving is the hardest,

most potent, most holy

form of giving.

 

Mercy alone extends the possibility

of a new horizon— a heart unencumbered,

a life liberated, a world turned inside out.

 

From fear to forgiveness: is this not

the trajectory to wholeness and well-being,

for our war-weary world?

 

There is no Shalom without forgiving,

no true self-giving

without heartfelt humbling.

 

May you hold in mercy’s light

those left famished by greed

and traumatized by the terrors of the night.

joe