Catherine of Siena (d. 1380 at the age of 33) lived in a community dedicated to good works. This excerpt is from a letter to a monk named Bartolomeo Dominici.
“God has loved us without being loved, but we love him because we are loved…we cannot profit him, nor love him with this first love…In what way can we do this, then, since he demands it and we cannot give it to him? I tell you…we can be useful, not to him, which is impossible, but to our neighbor…love is gained in love by raising the eye of our mind to behold how much we are loved by God. Seeing ourselves loved, we cannot otherwise than love.”
The mothers of the Christian faith still nurture my soul. Catherine of Siena tells me that I must not allow the cloud of self-love to darken the eyes of my heart. Instead, I need to reset my attention to see the love of God. Then, I will see my neighbor as I see myself. I will tend to their needs as I would tend to my own. I will give generously to their needs with the kind of generosity I would want to receive. In doing so love is multiplied and the love of God becomes tangible to each of us.
Beloved, wherever our gaze is set that is where we are placing our hope. If self, then self and all that self can do. If Christ, then Christ and all that Christ can do.
Where is your gaze set? Take a few moments and ask the Lord.
Fred came to serve greater Williamsburg and WCC as lead pastor in October of 2010 and is grateful to be a part of the family. He is a husband, father, certified trauma professional, S.T.A.R. (strategies for trauma awareness & resilience) practitioner, community organizer, TEDx alum, founder of 3e Restoration, Inc. and co-owner of Philoxenia Culture LLC. He received his B.S. in Ministry/Bible at Amridge University and his Master’s of Religious Education in Missional Leadership from Rochester University. Currently he is a candidate for a Doctorate of Ministry in Contextual Theology in at Northern Seminary in Chicago. Fred has also served as an adjunct professor for Rochester University and Regent University where taught courses in philosophy, ethics, leadership, pastoral care, intro to Christianity, and ethnography. He has also served as a guest lecturer on the subjects of racialized cultural systems, poverty, and missiology at various universities, such as William & Mary and Oklahoma Christian University. Fred has authored on book (Racialized Cultural Systems, Social Displacement and Christian Hospitality) and several curriculum offerings, including The FloorPlan: Living Toward Restoration & Resilience.
Fred enjoys hanging out with his family anytime, anywhere. He is deeply grateful for how God graciously works through the Church in all her various forms, despite our brokenness. He is passionate about seeing the last, least, and lonely of every neighborhood, city and nation experience God’s in-breaking kingdom, and come to know Jesus as King. Oh, and his favorite season is Advent and Christmas.
Fred is a founding member of the board of directors for Virginia Racial Healing Institute, a member of the leadership team for Williamsburg's local chapter of Coming to the Table, and a member of Greater Williamsburg Trauma-Informed Community Network's Racial Trauma Committee and Training Committee.
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Ok; since this comes to my home e-mail address, I just got to read it now so I understand what the “blog” conversation that Jon referred to is. Thanks!