John was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said,“Behold, the Lamb of God.” The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus. Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” — which translated means Teacher —,“where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come, and you will see.” So they went and saw where Jesus was staying, and they stayed with him that day. It was about four in the afternoon. Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, was one of the two who heard John and followed Jesus. He first found his own brother Simon and told him, “We have found the Messiah” — which is translated Christ —. Then he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said,“You are Simon the son of John; you will be called Cephas” — which is translated Peter.
Our Only Face by David Morrison
We have been conditioned by our surroundings and experience to conform to what is expected of us. We limit and restrict our interior life (feelings and thoughts) in order to fit into these impossible expectations. As a result, we live life not truly knowing our identity and even more importantly, the depths of God’s love. We give mental assent that God loves us, but it rarely seeps into the groundwater level of our hearts. Our discipleship remains only in the “discipline” realm. Thus, our lives only change to the extent that our self-controlled, personal disciplines will allow. “Tragically, many people’s relationship with God is reduced to and defined by what Dallas Willard calls “sin management.” But God desires to take us much further and deeper into the depths of his heart that results in an utterly transformed life. Much of this transformation occurs as God takes us on the journey of revealing our identity in him by seeing who he is and listening to what he is truly saying to us…”
The call into discipleship with Christ is the invitation to enter into and to be defined by an infinite love. This love often begins its work in us not by adding a new persona or role to our lives, but by subtracting and dismantling these machinations of coping we’ve built up. There’s seldom no place to settle for long: “Where are you staying?” they ask Jesus. This suggests he was itinerant as he literally (and I believe metaphorically as well) said: “Come and see.” Love cannot be accessed as an object to be possessed or controlled–Love (or the Presence of God) encounters us at our deepest places of vulnerability (where the disciple’s name was “Simon/Reed”). When this love begins its work of dispossessing us of our masks that our true face is revealed (for this disciple, he was revealed to be at the bottom of his masks, “Peter/Rock”). This love will not be reduced to platitudes; nor will it be restricted to the religious realm. It is simultaneously personal and universal. James Baldwin wrote: “Love takes off the masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within. I use the word “love” here not merely in the personal sense but as a state of being, or a state of grace – not in the infantile American sense of being made happy but in the tough and universal sense of quest and daring and growth.” This process of the masks being taken off of our true belovedness takes a lifetime and at times can be a terrifying experience. However, once the soul has been “consumed but not destroyed” by the fire of love, there is no desire to return to “business as usual,” and the love-stricken soul would have it no other way. How do we position or shape our lives in such a way that this love can truly take root in us? It would seem when we’re most still and simply receptive to the moment in silence when we’re not producing or achieving anything–just simply like a small child napping and the loving gaze of God-as-Mother washes over our true faces. And we awaken changed, but not really knowing just how.
“Take Lord, Receive” by Ignatius Loyola
“Take Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will, all that I have and possess. You have given all to me. To You, O lord, I return it. All is Yours-dispose of it wholly according to Thy will. Give me only Your love and Your grace, for this is sufficient for me.”