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I am going to love everyone in my 30-foot circle. -Bail Bardis


markdohle

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I am going to love everyone  in my 30-foot circle. -Bail Bardis

Gail is a good friend of mine.  When talking to her she can come up with some interesting statements that grab my intention.  One such statement went like this: “I am going to love everyone in my 30-foot circle”.  When she stated this, she was dealing with feelings of being overwhelmed about the state of the world.  So, she decided to narrow things down to something that she could actually deal with.

Our 30-foot circles are changing constantly when we are out.  At the airport, driving, shopping, or like me, meeting people in our Retreat-House.  From one moment to the next we are in contact with a constant flow of diverse peoples. 

She understands that we are commanded to love everyone, even our enemies.  The parable of the “Good Samaritan” brings this out beautifully.  People tend to get emotional when they read this parable, but at the time of Jesus, the people who heard this were not pleased.   It was a call to move beyond our concepts of love and acceptance of others.  Samaritans and Jews were enemies, and any Jew would rather die than to be helped by the hated Samaritan, and vise-versa is true as well.   Yet Jesus stated that the Samaritan was right in what he did.  He looked upon the Jew as a brother in need, someone he came upon who was in his 30-foot circle.

We can only affect our own small part of the world on a daily basis.  How we treat others is important and has repercussions that have eternal consequences. 

To treat another human being with contempt and cruelty is a form of sacrilege.  When Jesus stated that how we treat others, is in fact how we treat Him.  To love as Jesus loved is a process that we are called to grow into.  We are not called to save the world, or even to change it, but to love those with whom we have contact. 


When we follow Jesus Christ, hatred is not option, for to hate is to allow darkness to enter into our hearts.  To hate another human being is to strip them of their humanity, and after that is done, well, look at the hell we have been creating over the centuries. 

So, to love those we meet, whether we know them or not, even if they are very different, we see deeper, and in doing that we see Jesus Christ. 

Difficult, yes, but the death to self so that we can expand our hearts through the grace of God is necessary, and we are called to do that.  Death and rebirth are a painful process, but so or all progressions in this world.  Most lead to a dead end because we are mortal and are not long for this world.  We are called to grow in love of others, not a sentiment, but something that is stronger than death. 

It is in prayer that we learn to open our hearts.  To understand how we are all in need of mercy and we do receive it if we are open to that gift.  Prayer is oxygen for the soul, warmth for the heart, and a flame that purifies us of our egoism over time. -Br.MD

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