The Way of Connection
Second Week of Lent 2019
By: Jeanne Connolly, Director of Charism and Mission
“But I say to you who listen, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. …. Do to others as you would have them do to you. … expecting nothing in return… Be merciful, just as our God is merciful. Do not judge, do not condemn, Forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you; …The good person brings good things out of the good treasure of the heart; the evil person brings evil things out of evil. What comes out of the mouth is what’s overflowing in the heart.” (Luke 6: 27-28, 31, 36-38; 45)
It is said that confession is good for the soul, so I am confessing here that I was never taught to read the Bible and I don’t read scripture daily. With that said, I can share that I am still surprised when life lessons “appear” in scripture just when I need it. My most recent aha came as I was reflecting on what collaboration really means and what it really involves.
The definition of collaboration is simple, two or more people/groups working together toward a common or shared purpose. The practice of collaborating on the other hand, is much more challenging. Collaboration happens when we know in our whole being that we are connected to all others and to all of creation. It happens when we take the time to listen to different voices, and to assure that all contributions are valued. Collaboration happens when our words and actions are congruent. Collaboration happens when we focus on nurturing the relational energy between the distinct parts and not on the parts.
A collaborative mindset leads to a collaborative culture. The attributes of a collaborative mindset include many of the teachings of Jesus that are the most difficult to hear and even more difficult to follow. It begins with an open and humble heart and mind. It breaks down when we believe our ideas are the only way, and that “we know best.” To create a collaborative environment, we must be open to other perspectives and ways of doing things. All too frequently time and tradition cloud the lens from which we view things. We become so accustomed to our ways that we fail to see possibilities for the new, the creative, and the different.
A collaborative culture requires a deep respect for the other. Respect allows us to build and rebuild relationships. Without respect there isn’t trust, and all healthy relationships require trust … trust in the basic goodness of the human heart and trust that each of us is working together for the sake of the whole. Without humility, respect, and trust there isn’t a solid foundation for acceptance, non-judgement, forgiveness, mutuality, or transformation.
Compassionate God, guide me so that what comes out of my mouth shows a heart overflowing with love, mercy, and compassion. Grant me the grace to live the way of love.
Where have I fallen into judgment, mistrust, condemnation? How has this impacted my relationships with others?
What guidance do I need most from God now?