Friday, January 2, 2015

Loving those with Whom We Journey

"So start to love your neighbor. Share your bread with the hungry, bring the homeless pauper into your house. Clothe the naked, and do not despise the servants of your kin...  By loving your neighbor, by having care for your neighbor, you are travelling on a journey." St Augustine's Treatise on St. John

Thinking of the spiritual life as a journey is a helpful metaphor because it frees us from needing to be someplace or get somewhere.  People on journeys or pilgrimages  are not much concerned about social status, political views or cultural norms.  Rather, they are seekers who want to experience something new, something different from what they have always known.  Seekers are the kind of people who eat to live, not live to eat.  They are not tourists who need to see ten things every day, but pilgrims who want to experience each day as it comes. They are more concerned with knowing the people and community in which they live  than accomplishing something for their own satisfaction.

St Augustine reminds us that the best way to begin a journey and live as pilgrims is to love our neighbors, whoever they might be.  When we break bread with the hungry and give a place in our hearts to the homeless everything changes.  We realize that the hungry and homeless are people just like us, not objects to be fed but children of God with whom we will travel. It is not simply our generosity that is so attractive to those who witness our love, but our relationship with the poor that will call others to "get on the bus" as together we seek God.

Today, don't go looking for someone in need, love the neighbor right next to you.

What have been the highlights of your own spiritual pilgrimage?

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