Thursday, January 20, 2022

Peacemaker - Love is the state of being Radically Awake

Photos by Robert Ellsburg

Jim Forest's funeral today in the Russian Orthodox Church of Saint Nicholas in Amsterdam.
At the very first conference of the Thomas Merton Society Great Britian and Ireland held in Southampton in May 1996 ‘Your Heart Is My Hermitage’, Jim Forest took part in the round table discussion between Merton’s friends and he also gave the Sunday homily.

Jim described love as a state of being radically awake:

'We can imagine that what will be strangest about heaven is how it is at once so familiar and yet so different. It will seem to us that in the first part of our lives, we were more asleep in the day than in the night. Our eyes were open but we saw so little. We heard so little. We understood so little. We loved so little. Not only our eyes but our souls were bricked over most of the time. Opposing love is fear. Recall Merton's insight: “The root of war is fear.” Still more important, recall the many times in the Gospel we hear the words, “Be not afraid.” We are not speaking here about fear of God; this is in fact that fear which should cure us of all our petty fears. But how often do we allow fear to prevent us from reaching out to others, to divide us from others, to make us into enemies of others, even to decide what we will do with our lives and with whom we will spend our lives? But in moments of love, we see more clearly and are able to live without fear in the freedom of the Resurrection. What freedom that is! As we sing throughout the Easter season in the Orthodox Church, the words falling on us like heavy rain on dry fields: “'Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tomb bestowing life.”'

Deep wisdom, being radically awake. Fear of reaching out to the other which is hedged with all sorts of ego concerns. Sometimes silence is a way to get through. Simply being with the other. Allowing space for all of us to be in our broken state.

Jim's funeral, below, live-streamed today from the Russian Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas of Myra in Amsterdam. A day of great sadness and joy.

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