While in our intensely competitive society the hunger and thirst for friendship, intimacy, union, and communion are immense, it never has been so difficult to satisfy this hunger and quench this thirst.

Nouwen, Henri J. M.. Here and Now: Living in the Spirit (p. 148). The Crossroad Publishing Company. Kindle Edition.

“Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sport… the thrill of victory… and the agony of defeat… the human drama of athletic competition… This is ABC’s Wide World of Sports!” The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat and human drama may have been a great introduction to a sports program, but it may be a good Segway to love relationships as well. Love, harmony, encouragement, support… all these positive aspects of God’s love are modeled for us to share. And then the love pendulum can swing the other way as well. Balances of power, submission and domination, greed, insecurity all can enter relationships. Once again, we return to our basic needs and how they are fulfilled: Our quest for love and acceptance and our fear of rejection. Thankfully, we don’t have to enter this arena alone. God not only modeled love and relationships but can literally breathe life into them.

Let’s pray:

Heavenly Father, We were born into human family. Help us to be kind and loving as we try to reflect your perfect love with those we enter into relationships. Amen.

Keep in mind these general questions in reflection to this reading:

Is there any one idea that really reached me?

What is God revealing about Himself in this reading?

What is God revealing about me in this reading?

Where was the “bottle neck” in my past that kept me from realizing God to His fullest?

Was it a person, or maybe an event? Could it have even been me?

Upon realization, ask God for healing and an example of His perfect love.

What can I recognize, or handle differently to increase “flow” in my Spiritual life?

Where am I “bottle necked” now in my relationship with God?

Here are some thoughtful questions from the back of the book:

1. “To love is hard work!” (p. 172). Think of the romantic ideal of love portrayed in popular music and television and compare it to your lived experience. How are the ideal and the real different? What work do you choose to do so that you can be a man or woman of love?

2. “Would they be able to face together a world in which there is so little support for a lasting relationship?” (p. 175). Give some examples of the challenges that relationships face. Why do you think that the world does not provide stronger support for relationships?

3. “To be truthful all human relationships must find their source in God and witness to God’s love” (p. 179). Think of a relationship you are now part of. Does it “witness to God’s love”? If not, what choices do you need to make so that this relationship can do so?

Nouwen, Henri J. M.. Here and Now: Living in the Spirit (p. 176). The Crossroad Publishing Company. Kindle Edition.

As always, please feel free to comment!

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