Skip to main content
Center for Action and Contemplation
An Expanding Love
An Expanding Love

Loving the “True You”

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

An Expanding Love

Loving the “True You”
Wednesday, March 17, 2021
St. Patrick’s Day

I very much enjoyed my time with Bishop Michael Curry, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, when we worked together on the Reclaiming Jesus project and when I had dinner at his house in New York City. He reminds us why we must accept God’s love for us before we can love another:

I’ve come to see that the call of God, the love that bids us welcome, is always a call to become the true you. Not a doormat. The true you. Not an imitation of someone else. The true you: someone made in the image of God, deserving of and receiving love.

There is a Jewish proverb, “Before every person there marches an angel proclaiming, ‘Behold, the image of God.’” Unselfish, sacrificial living isn’t about ignoring or denying or destroying yourself. It’s about discovering your true self—the self that looks like God—and living life from that grounding. Many people are familiar with a part of Jesus’s summary of the law of Moses: You shall love your neighbor as you love yourself [Mark 12:31]. Yourself. Loving the self is a required balance. If we fail in that, we fail our neighbor, too. To love your neighbor is to relate to them as someone made in the image of God. And it is to relate to yourself as someone made in the image of God. It’s God, up, down, and all around, and God is love.

Sometimes we can only recognize God’s love for us through the love we receive from another person (whom God has loved well). The important part is that the flow of love gets started. Bishop Curry continues:

The ability to love yourself is intimately related to your capacity to love others. The challenge is creating a life that allows you to fulfill both needs. . . .

I’ve seen it happen enough times to be confident in saying it. Perhaps loving others saves us from the confusion, the frustration, and ultimately the neurosis that comes when we try to center the world around ourselves. Or perhaps it allows us to step outside the self enough to see ourselves with some distance, for a better perspective on what’s missing. Or maybe when loving ourselves is hard, practicing loving others strengthens the muscle enough to turn the force inward. . . .

Love is a commitment to seek the good and to work for the good and welfare of others. It doesn’t stop at our front door or our neighborhood, our religion or race, or our state’s or your country’s border. This is one great fellowship of love throughout the whole wide earth, as the hymn goes. It often calls us to step outside of what we thought our boundaries were, or what others expect of us. It calls for us to sacrifice, not because doing so feels good, but because it’s the right thing to do. . . .

God’s love is everywhere, in all things, and that includes you.

Bishop Michael Curry with Sara Grace, Love Is the Way: Holding on to Hope in Troubling Times (Avery: 2020), 95–97, 23, 49.

Story from Our Community:
When I was 20, after many years questioning the Catholic Church and many years of self-destructive behavior, I had an “amazing grace” experience and felt the love of God enveloping me. After this, my life changed significantly for the better, as I have attracted Love and try to give Love. Thank you Father Rohr for helping me to look beyond dogma and for reaching out to all faiths. God is love…this is what we all need to hear. —Mary B.

Image credit: Dorothea Lange. (1936) “Bum blockade.” All heading north. South of King City, California. Difficult to get a record of this movement because these men wouldn’t be photographed as a result of Los Angeles police activity (detail), photograph, public domain.
Image inspiration: Who do we shut out from our love? May we walk bravely into the horizons of love allowing our hearts to expand and radically include.
Navigate by Date

This year’s theme

A candle being lit

Radical Resilience

We live in a world on fire. This year the Daily Meditations will explore contemplation as a way to build Radical Resilience so we can stand in solidarity with the world without burning up or burning out. The path ahead may be challenging, but we can walk it together.

The archives

Explore the Daily Meditations

Explore past meditations and annual themes by browsing the Daily Meditations archive. Explore by topic or use the search bar to find wisdom from specific teachers.

Join our email community

Sign-up to receive the Daily Meditations, featuring reflections on the wisdom and practices of the Christian contemplative tradition.

Hidden Fields

Find out about upcoming courses, registration dates, and new online courses.
Our theme this year is Radical Resilience. How do we tend our inner flame so we can stand in solidarity with the world without burning up or out? Meditations are emailed every day of the week, including the Weekly Summary on Saturday. Each week builds on previous topics, but you can join at any time.
In a world of fault lines and fractures, how do we expand our sense of self to include love, healing, and forgiveness—not just for ourselves or those like us, but for all? This monthly email features wisdom and stories from the emerging Christian contemplative movement. Join spiritual seekers from around the world and discover your place in the Great Story Line connecting us all in the One Great Life. Conspirare. Breathe with us.