Right relationship, of love,not of power over, of abusiveness

October 1, 2018

A reflection from one of our GCCM Steering Committee members, Patrick Carolan, Director of the Franciscan Action Network

When we form this spiritual bond where we become one flesh connected through love, we become connected through God, whether we like to acknowledge God or not. The two beings become like the Trinity, three beings connected and becoming one through love. Since God is love we are connected through God. As it says in Hebrews all things exist through God and God is perfect Love therefore all things exist through love.

St. Bonaventure taught us that the purpose and meaning of all of creation is relationship. If we exist through and in God then we have to be in relationship. First in right relationship with God. Sr. Ilia Delio, OFS so beautifully describes this relationship in her book Making All Things New; “Eucharist means being an active participant in the Cosmic body of Christ, a body evolving unto fullness, the Cosmic person, through the rise of consciousness and unity in Love.” Then as Bonaventure teaches, we have to be in right relationship with all of God’s creation, a relationship of love, not of power over, of abusiveness. St John of the Cross taught us that human desire is unlimited. The heart of the human being is not satisfied with less than Infinite. This infinite is clearly God himself. Our deepest human desire is a desire of God. When we turn away from God, we no longer consider God’s creation and all that it encompasses as sacred. As a nation today we are so divided, so separated. Families cannot even come together without fighting and bitterness. We no longer consider ourselves as children of God and brothers and sisters.

This week the reading on the wedding story has special meaning to me. My daughter got married this past weekend. I was a proud father as I watched her walk up the aisle. I thought about how far she had come and how she had grown into a beautiful young woman. My daughter spent her early years in and out of foster homes. She had been abused as a child. My wife and I were foster parents and we took in Briana and her brother when she was nine. At ten, we welcomed them to our family through adoption. She is African-American, so she not only had to overcome her early years of abuse and moving from family to family, but she also had to overcome the racism she experienced as a teenager. I often share with people that I thought I understood racism until I became the parent of two black children; then I really understood racism. Her new husband is white. Just 19 years ago in South Carolina where they live, it was against the law for a black person to marry a white person. As I watched the two of them exchange their rings and share their love and joy for each other, I thought of this reading. I watched the large gathering of folks who came to share this beautiful evening come together. Her biological parents were there as well as many of her biological cousins. We all gathered to share in their love. There were black, white and Latino, straight and gay, conservative and liberal, Christian, Jewish and Muslim. They were gathered not caring about race, color, sexual orientation, creed or political views. Just gathered sharing in love. I thought, ‘this is what America should be.’

Peace and All Good,
Patrick Carolan
Executive Director