Reflection for July 21th – Final Vow Retreat

From July 18th through July 24th we will be sharing daily reflections from the Final Vow Retreat in Bungoma, Kenya. We ask that Brothers and Associates join Brothers Moses Wafula Barasa, Serge Lumbala Kachunga, Daniel Ongeso Ohola, Marc Kabwita Mufuka, and René Mambwe Kijiba in reflection, as these brothers prepare for their Final Vows. Please keep these brothers in your prayers, as well as their retreat leaders, Brothers Larry Harvey and Richard Mazza.


He has told you, O Mortal, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?
Micah 6:8

Our daily duties and difficulties and frailties make life seem very complicated to us.  Today’s words from the Prophet Micah,however, remind us that, at its core, life is very simple (though not necessarily easy).  What God and life require of us is to “do justice, love kindness, and to walk humbly” with God.  In our experience of life, work and rest appear to be opposites.  But for the one who lives in God, work comes out of and returns to deep rest.  This is the teaching of Jan van Ruusbroec.  The following reflection is from The Spiritual Espousals.

. . . charity must remain eternally active as regards our likeness to God, while unity with God in blissful love is called to rest in him forevermore.

All this is what it means to give oneself to love, for in one and the same moment of time love is both active and at rest in its Beloved.  The one element is strengthened by the other, for the higher the love, the greater the rest, and the greater the rest, the more fervent the love.  The one lives in the other, so that whoever does not love does not rest, and whoever does not rest does not love.  It does indeed seem to some good persons that they neither love nor rest in God, but this thought itself arises from love:  Because a person desires to love more than he is able, he thinks that he is deficient, but in this very activity he savors both love and rest, for only a resigned, detached, and enlightened person can understand how one can actively love and blissfully rest.

Every lover, then, is one with God in rest and is like God in the works of love, for God, in his sublime nature of which we bear a likeness, subsists blissfully in eternal rest in accordance with the essential Unity of his being and also subsists actively in eternal activity in accordance with the Trinity.  Each of these is the perfection of the other, for rest abides in the Unity, and activity abides in the Trinity, and the two remain thus for all eternity.  For this reason, if a person is to savor God, he must love, and if he wishes to love, he must have this savor.  If he lets himself be satisfied with other things, then he can have no savor of what God is.  We must therefore possess ourselves in a simple way in virtue and in our likeness to God and must also possess God above ourselves in rest and unity by means of love.  

The Spiritual Espousals IV, B

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