Women of the Diocese of the Rio Grande

"Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same lord; and there are varieties of working, but it is the same God who inspires them all in everyone." (1 Corinthians 12:4-6)

As women of the Diocese of the Rio Grande we work to live out this promise in retreat, fellowship, study, and ministry.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Love as Life in Relationship with One Another, Bishop Vono

Excerpted from Bishop Vono's Afternoon Meditation at the Holy Lent Through Love Retreat at the Cathedral on March 15

The Bishop reiterated his morning message by saying that the relationship of God with us is Love and that is the reality of life. God never lets go. He can take us from bitterness to the wings of eagles. God’s love is divine and God’s love is transforming.
We want to have people look at us and say, “There is the Love of God”. We want God’s love to radiate through us.

During the season of Epiphany we have become conscious of many revelations of God. We may have become conscious of discerning moments and we have been made conscious of the paths of those seeking revelation. In reality the church lives epiphanies all year. Lent also is a time of epiphanies as we ask and discover ‘Who is this Man?’
Bishop Vono explained that Romans 12:9-16 includes the 12 ingredients for living a life in incarnated Christian love. According to John Stott, it is a recipe for Love. The ingredients are Sincere, Honor, Generous, Discerning, Enthusiastic, Hospitable, Tender Affection, Patient, Kind, Sympathy, Harmony, and Humility. These are how the Love of God is channeled to the world.

“Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are.”
Then the Bishop unwrapped the ingredients with further explanation.
  • Love incarnate is Genuine or without hypocrisy. Eugene Peterson expands vs. 9 to read we should “love from the center of who you are, don’t fake it.”
  • Love also discerns and holds to what is good.
  • Love has tender, that is brotherly, affection for each other. This is the philos affection meaning loving someone as ‘born of the same womb’. Indeed we are all born of the same womb-of God and Christ.
  • Love should compete or strive in showing honor, like an athlete who works to get better and better at a sport.
  • Love is enthusiastic as in earnest endeavor and aglow with a spirit of service toward the Lord.
  • Love is generous in contributing to needs.
  • Love gets involved and is sympathetic to each other.
  • Love lives in harmony by loving others as we love ourselves-that is to be of one mind.
  • Love has humility and is not haughty or conceited. The Bishop referred to Pat Green’s sermon illustration of DL Moody who once was staying with some European clergy in a hotel. The other clergymen left their boots outside their rooms to be polished, as was the custom in Europe. Moody gathered them up himself and polished them for the fellow clergymen.

At the break, Bishop Vono suggested that we re-read Romans 12:9-16 and pray over the ingredients of love to see which one(s) we need to work on.
After questions from the ladies, the definitions of Love, written by the ladies at the start of the retreat were read. Love is:
  • Caring deeply for the welfare of another and when necessary putting their needs before your own.
  • Praying for family and friends, forgiving those who have hurt us & compassion to those in need.
  • Sharing your life with someone, or God, to help and be present as needed without intention of recognition or reward.
  • Deep caring and wanting good for the other (person, animal, deity).
  • An action that supports the highest good for another.
  • The intense sense of caring and needing to belong to another.
  • Sharing God’s feelings for you.
  • Appreciating and accepting all the ways we are the same and different.
  • Joy in sharing both the good and bad aspects of ourselves with another.
  • Giving oneself without qualification.
  • Seeing Jesus in someone else.
  • A relationship in which one is accepting, forgiving, always promoting the other’
 
Below are links to the afternoon mediation by Bishop Vono (in 2 parts because of the length of the total talk).
http://youtu.be/HvGkGDvKqnk         part 4

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Love as Life in Relationship to God (Bishop Vono)

Excerpted from Bishop Vono's Morning Meditation at the Holy Lent Through Love Retreat at the Cathedral on March 15

There were over 40 women present from around the Diocese for the retreat. We started with Eucharist in the Choir. Pastor Pat Green officiated and preached. She said we are Loved by God and live out this love by loving one another and ourselves.
The prize for coming furthest went to Amiee from Carlsbad and the youngest present was Elizabeth from the Cathedral. Both women got door prizes and 7 other lucky ladies took home a shamrock plant.  

Bishop Vono started by noting that there are many kinds of relationships. There are also many kinds of divine relationships or encounters, too. Jesus calls us to the ethics of Love. However, there are many definitions of love. (The Bishop asked each lady to write their definition of love. These were read at the end of the retreat.) He asked if we are “known by love”.

Prince Andrew, in Tolstoy’s War and Peace says, “Love is life. All, everything that I understand, I understand only because I love. Everything is, everything exists, only because I love. Everything is united by it alone. Love is God, and to die means that I, a particle of love, shall return to the general and eternal source.”

A higher meaning of love is found in John’s Gospel. It has been said that ‘Love is a sermon you live to see and experience rather than hear’. John says that the fullness of God is Jesus Christ, as in John 3:16 and the story of the vine and branches.
What are the implications for believing that God is Love and that we are connected to Jesus? It means that we are connected to God and therefore we [too] are love incarnate. This is because love is the result of connection to God.

Bishop Kallistos Ware said, “The whole person is on the one side open to God, and on the other side open to other people. The isolated individual is not a real person, for a real person lives in and for others. This idea...could be summed up under the word love. We become truly personal by loving God and by loving other humans. By love, I don’t mean merely an emotional feeling, but a fundamental attitude. In its deepest sense, love is the life, the energy, of the Creator in us. We are not truly human as long as we are turned in on ourselves. We become whole only insofar as we face others, and relate to them.”

We are not objects or servants or slaves of God-we are friends. Jesus said “I have called you friends,” which is a deeper relationship. We are loved as we love a true friend. Throughout history, many have followed this love: Albert Schweitzer and Martin Luther King to name just a couple.
We are each called to be a vehicle of God’s self-giving love. In First John we are admonished “little children let us love one another…” Love flows through us, to others, then through them to still others, and on and on.

The Bishop noted we receive [God’s] love in order to give it away. Tolstoy said “The simplest and shortest ethical precept is to be served by others as little as possible, and to serve others as much as possible.” Madeline L’Engle agrees. She says, “Following Christ has nothing to do with success as the world sees success. It has to do with love.”

We are told to abide in Christ be keeping his commandments-the greatest of which is to love others as ourselves. Too often we don’t know how to love ourselves because of our brokenness, sinfulness and weakness. (The afternoon talk focused on Love as Life in Relationship to one Another) When we do abide in love we find our highest joy.
God’s love comes to us on our way to somewhere else. The Bishop suggested we mediate on Life as Relationship to God.  Following questions, the ladies were given time to consider the talk or to just take some quiet time on the labyrinth or saying the rosary with the Society of Mary. There was also a table where 'Love Notes' could be created and the opportunity to pray at the cross. Several ladies took time to check out the books Rickie Sherrill had for sale through Good Books New Mexico.

After lunch Bishop Vono spoke on Love as Life in Relationship to Each Other. His afternoon talk will be posted next week.

Videos of the Bishop's morning talk (in 2 parts) are at:
http://youtu.be/CqfENkTMrms         (Part 2)