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Unconditional Acceptance

Sister Doreen’s Reflections

How are you preparing a home of unconditional acceptance for yourself?

In one of Richard Rohr’s daily medications there was a quoted question by Felicia Murrell that is the title of this reflection, it was a question that made me stop and think. How am I, or perhaps even more importantly, am I, even unconsciously doing this? Sometimes we take for granted those great truths that we know are so important, and coast along, rather than consciously working at giving birth to the truths in new ways for right now!

Julian of Norwich over the years has kind of ‘set the stage’ for me when it comes to thinking about myself and all of creation and the world in which we live. She marvels at the beauty of that portion of creation which is humanity when she sings of “our noble and excellent making.” One’s reaction to this revelation is to be filled with gratitude, almost more than we can ask or imagine. If with Julian we believe what she says about how the goodness of God fills everything that God has made, and that includes me and you, are we filled with gratitude? Does this make a difference to how we see ourselves and others? To our acceptance of ourselves and of each other? She says “God’s goodness fills all God’s creatures and all God’s blessed works full and endlessly overflows in them … and God delights without end at the goodness and beauty of humanity which is as beautiful, as good, as precious, a creature as God could make.”

In a real sense God is the glue that holds our whole self together. Much like Macrina Wiederkehr in her book “A Tree Full of Angels”. She has several chapters that talk about our frail and glorious self – that at our very core God is within us. She writes: “God has such a yearning for our holiness to be rescued from the lies of this world that nothing will remain an obstacle forever unless we cling to it with such a tenacious grasp that we utterly refuse God’s embrace.”

If we see ourselves as we really are – our self-righteousness, our narrow minds, our stubborn wills, our clinging to whatever it is we think we need or want, our blindness – if we see ourselves within the knowledge that God stands before us each day with arms open in welcome offering forgiveness and love, it is our choice, our courage to accept it. For Julian and for Macrina and for me and you we are frail and glorious, little and great, weak and powerful.

The question asked as the title of this reflection holds out the possibility and the challenge of choice: to accept and to embrace this frail flesh of ours with love, to claim and cherish our humanness. How am I preparing a home for myself of unconditional acceptance? Perhaps it is to acknowledge that what is good enough for God to embrace is good enough for me! It also means that if those I live with are good enough for God to embrace that is good enough for me! This can shake and change the way we live! This surely can prepare a home of unconditional acceptance for all of us little great ones that God loves.

Our life is a series of experiences, of lived wisdom – each experience important, and all of them to be pondered in a way that we may come to know ourselves more deeply. Life is not only what goes on outside of us, as Joan Chittister says “life is what goes on inside in the quiet, murky waters of our souls. And life is driven by energies too wild for us to ignore, too deep for us to hide. Life is the bubble of time in which we find ourselves and which we ourselves shape.” There are riches still to discover within myself, this is true for all of us. So often those riches are hidden, hidden behind defenses we have created to hide our hurts and our fears. To heal and to prepare a home for myself of unconditional acceptance, of finding those hidden riches – will mean choosing the joy of getting life instead of hiding, of choosing the new ideas of hope and of risk, and of choosing to trust myself to trust others.

In a wonderful children’s book (written for us grown-up children too!) called “The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse” by Charlie Mackesy there is a wise exchange between these ‘friends’: “Isn’t it odd. We can only see our outside, but nearly everything happens on the inside.” “Being kind to yourself”, Mole goes on to say, “is one of the greatest kindnesses. We often wait for kindness … but being kind to yourself can start now. The hardest person to forgive is yourself.”

How am I (how are you) preparing a home of unconditional acceptance for yourself? And how am I (how are you) preparing a home of unconditional acceptance for everyone you meet?

An old hymn, sung often in the past, from Common Praise, a hymn book of the Anglican Church of Canada: #615 Just As I Am written by Charlotte Elliott:

Just as I am, without one plea, but that thy blood was shed for me,
And that thou biddest me come to thee, O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind: sight, riches healing of the mind,
Yea, all I need, in thee will find, O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, though tossed about with many a conflict, many a doubt,
Fightings and fears within, without, O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, and waiting not to rid my soul of one dark blot,
To thee, whose blood can cleanse each spot, O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, thy love unknown has broken every barrier down,
Now to be thine, yes, thine alone, O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Deepak Choopra wrote the following:

“A is for acceptance. Today I will accept myself, just as I am. I will affirm that I am a beautiful person just as I am. Today I will accept myself, just as I am. I will affirm that I am a wonderful person, just as I am. Today I will accept myself just as I am. I will love myself, just as I am. Today I will say to the infinite divine being, the mystery that we call God, thank you God for making me, just as I am. Knowing this, I will see the world, just as it is. I will accept the world, just as it is. And in the reality of that awareness, I will feel peace, harmony, laughter and love.”  Deepak Choopra was a prominent figure in the new age movement, not a Pollyanna but a realist, and believed thatYou must find the place inside yourself where nothing is impossible. In the process of letting go you will lose many things from the past, but you will find yourself. It will be a permanent Self, rooted in awareness and creativity. Once you have captured this, you have captured the world.”