I had a wonderfully creative teacher in high school who asked each senior to write a 'This I Believe' essay upon graduation (you know, before we had changed the world and everything). I have re-read mine and I am both embarrassed and exhilarated by my own sureness of things and passion for all I knew to be true. It has been a long time since I sat down to write those words, which is challenging me at a time when many opinions are being aired--what truth do I speak?
There is a bit of a theme in the writing that makes my heart catch in my throat, lately...or at least the writing that has been calling to me in the sea of voices shouting their opinions. I am hungry for integrity, sincere sharing of views and the whys behind them. Manifestos have got my attention these days. It doesn't matter if I am reading a piece about black holes, faith or natural childbirth. My heart beats faster when I come across the holy ground that encompass the words that one might dare to live by--principals to build a life on.
Merriam Webster defines a manifesto in this way; " A written statement declaring publicly the intentions, motives, or views of its issuer."
This is much different and far more vulnerable than sharing an article or news reel on social media. Proclaiming a purpose to the actions and values an individual holds (when asked), carries with it the weight of introspection and intentionality. It is daring. Would that we all enter into relationship, conversation...daily life, with these two qualities in mind. I find those willing to share on this level captivating and unintentionally begging this question: "What words might I proclaim to live by?"
This is a tremendously important question on Inauguration day, at a point in history where division is rampant and tempers are hot. We are not defined by our address, our experiences or whom we voted for, thankfully. We are defined by the beliefs that get us out of bed in the morning and the actions that follow...essentially, what we are in love with.
I can work with love. (Which is to say that Love can work with me).
I believe that God, who is Love, will reveal yet again, that 'Love has the final word,' and that we will each be transformed by our participation in that process.
This challenge is aimed directly at me, and I am imploring the God of Heaven and Earth to continue to invite me to fall in this kind of love. I can't think of a more appropriate prayer for today than this:
Fall in Love
Attributed to Fr. Pedro Arrupe, S.J. (1907–1991)
Nothing is more practical than finding God, than falling in Love in a quite absolute, final way.
What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything.
It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, whom you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.
Fall in Love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.