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3. Capacities we bring

A beautiful mind

When we place emphasis on responding to the invitation and welcome of Jesus with the whole of our person, we are bringing far more than our intellectual understanding (our mind) to what he is asking of us. Our mind will do a great job in looking over all that is contained in our “window” and may even view it as content to be understood, remembered and “mastered.” It might even draw our attention back to pages xi – xiii of Reflected Love to find a context for our consideration of this “window.” It may even raise the possibility of consulting a Bible Commentary on this passage. Good work! It is important to acknowledge the amazing contribution our mind. We would be totally lost without this wonderful capacity!

An open and receptive heart

And yet, there is far more. The more integrated capacities of heart would offer the gifts of our intuition. Our intuition can offer a more wide-ranging perspective on such a passage, relating it to our relational inner knowing and pondering how it might fit with the bigger picture of our life and with the mystery of our faith. When we ponder such things in our hearts there is far more room for mystery and for responses that cannot be intellectually explained or fully grasped by our minds. An “inner light” might go on, and a feeling or an emotion might push to the surface, bringing forth a feeling of warmth in our body and tears to our eyes (more body responses). The heart responds really well to metaphors, imagery, poetry and music.

A shy and reluctant soul

But not all of our responses might be positive. Somewhere in our soul might arise the whisper: “That invitation is not for me; it’s for somebody else!” “No one has ever welcomed me like that!” If we became prayerfully attentive to such whispers of the soul we might be reminded of a wounding we experienced in some relationship; a relationship which turned out to be less than welcoming. Soul, of course, can be rather shy. Soul may only reveal of it treasures to our gentle attentiveness.  Of course our soul, with all of its wounding and pain, has a place in the invitation and welcome of Jesus. Soul may lower its protective barriers as it encounters the gentle and humble heart of Jesus.

An enlivened spirit

Something may stir and come alive in our spirit. There may be a movement towards Jesus’ Spirit as we encounter him. And yet, there can easily be counter-movements—negative aspects of our spirit—that might so easily pull us away from him! For example, it might join with the whisper of the wounded soul by adding a spirit of distrust.

An active and believing imagination

We can bring our active and believing imagination to this encounter with Jesus. For some, this may be a visual picture, as for example, the one mentioned above of Jesus reaching out his hand to us. Or it could be just holding in our minds and hearts the experience of such a welcome and how we might consider ourselves responding to it.

In my books Reflected Love and Guiding Gideon there are examples of how pilgrims engage in their stories via their active and believing imagination in ways which were significant and transformative.

How wonderful it is to be able to use these God-given capacities!

Extract from:  Reflected Love: Companioning in the Way of Jesus, pages 29 – 30. 


Treading the Air of Mystery

I came that they may have life,
and have it abundantly

Beyond Our Littleness

When away from the interface of city lights, it is a gift to lie back and gaze at the stars. Recently, while in that reclining posture, a friend said, “Imagine you were looking down upon the stars rather than looking up at them. You might get the feeling of falling off the earth.” As I sought to adjust my gaze I entertained two opposing thoughts: I could free-fall into the vortex of this immensity to my certain destruction, or I could grow wings, learn to tread the air and embark on a great voyage of discovery. How quickly my imagination was sparked by such oblique viewing! How sobering the close proximity between my thoughts towards self-discovery and self-destruction.[2] While there is but one soul, its faculties and energies can be gathered up and drawn in opposing directions, thus we need some force, like gravity, to keep us safe and grounded . . .

. . . As a companion, I need to expand the eyes and ears of my heart each day in order to enter the mystery of oblique viewing; otherwise I will only see and hear what fits with my logic concerning people’s psychological functioning. But by gazing more obliquely, I might grow new wings and “by indirections find directions out,” [3] thus learning to tread the air of mystery that surrounds the inner vastness of the human soul.



1] John 10:10, NRSV.
[2] "Can two opposing souls be found within one breast?" Wolfgang von Goethe, Goethe’s Faust, 145.
[3] Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act 2, Scene 1, line 66. 

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