serendipity and congruence...

Last night, after a delightful French feast for my birthday, I saw a FB posting for the new Jean Vanier documentary: Summer in the Forest (see the Guardian posting here @ jun/23/summer-in-the-forest-review-affecting-study-of-jean-vaniers-vision-of-peace-and-love) I have an ever-deepening affection and respect for Vanier's work and hope to spend time learning and sharing within their community whenever I move into so-called "full retirement" mode. No sooner did I share the posting about this film than I got a friend request from a contact in Ottawa.I was going to send a note after Canada Day (today) and the festivities here in the USA (July 4) only to receive this friend request as a wonderful surprise.

We sent one another notes for a good 30 minutes born of my hope of visiting L'Arche Ottawa at the end of July.The whole community, however, takes a break at this time for vacations across Canada. So now it is my hope to spend a few days learning more about L'Arche in mid-August. Now here's why I am so knocked out: right after my FB encounter with serendipity I was re-reading chapter one of Howard Rice's Reformed Spirituality. It is an overview of the various ways people in the Reformed tradition acknowledge experiences with the Sacred. "If we really believe that God is love," Rice writes, "then it follows that God is always seeking relationship. Love cannot remain aloof and removed from the who is loved. The lover is driven by love to express love to the beloved." 

He goes on to note that from conversion and encounters with ecstasy to visionary, intuitive and transcendent connections there are a number of ways of interacting with the Divine. "A similar human experience (to intuition) is that of congruence or, as we generally call it, coincidence. One event in life fits completely with another in such a way that we know that we did nothing to make these events come together." It all felt right and I await further conversations to see where this might go. Vanier himself has observed that:

Community means communion of heart and spirit; it is a network of relationships. This implies a response to the cry of our brothers and sisters, especially the poorest, the weakest, the most wounded, and a sense of responsibility for them. And this is demanding and disturbing. That is why it is very easy to replace relationships and the demands they bring with laws, rules and administrative devices. It is easier to obey a law than it is to love people. This is why some communities are swallowed up by rules and administration instead of growing in gratitude, welcome and gift.

I will keep you posted as the summer unfolds.


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