Dear Abbey Members and Friends:
I found today's reflection from St John's Abbey a wonderful reminder of the inclusiveness of God. One of the things I treasure about our Abbey is the willingness of our Abbess and those who plan our events to draw spiritual practices from other faith traditions. We have become such a rich community because of this diversity. But we also remember that, as Christians, we show our witness to the world through our belief in Jesus Christ and how Jesus embodies God's unflinching love for each of us. The challenge is to continue to be open to seeing God's love in action in the world around us and in spiritual practices of other faith traditions while remaining grounded in who we are as Christians.
Shalom and blessings, George
One problem a collection of reflections like this might have competing on the Internet with other Web sites of "spirituality" results from the inclusion of the Christian perspective. Books with wider public appeal do not betray or give preference to any such "narrow" perspective as the critics would call it. A friend asked me if a book of my reflections would be an appropriate gift for some Jewish friends. I had to say that I didn't think so. No effort is made here to exclude Jewish or Islamic or Hindu readers; in fact I am indebted to these faiths for insights. I believe with St. Paul that God has not left any part of the world without some witness to God's love for us. For Christians that witness shines out in Jesus Christ. But I don't think that we can say that it is only in Christ that God has revealed something about God's love for all human beings. On the other hand, to ignore Christ in the interest of a wider appeal would be turning our backs on what has formed and nourished us. Faithful Jews, it seems to me, must affirm that God has shown love for them by the care given the Chosen People and described in the Scriptures. Other religions affirm a similar message through entirely different images of God or of the power that cares for the world. It's hard to imagine -- impossible to believe -- that God does not make the divine love available to human beings wherever they are. Fr Don Talafous, SJA, 6/16/09