The Transforming Power of Love: Weekly Summary — Center for Action and Contemplation

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The Transforming Power of Love: Weekly Summary

The Transforming Power of Love

Saturday, November 14, 2020
Summary: Sunday, November 8—Friday, November 13, 2020

We have strayed so far from love; and yet, love is the essence of who we are, and how we are called to treat one another. (Sunday)

Love even for enemies is the key to the solution of the problems of our world. Jesus is not an impractical idealist; he is the practical realist. —Martin Luther King, Jr. (Monday)

When we live out of the truth of love, instead of the lie and human emotion of fear, we will at last begin to live. (Tuesday)

Embracing a love ethic means that we utilize all the dimensions of love—“care, commitment, trust, responsibility, respect, and knowledge”—in our everyday lives. —bell hooks (Wednesday)

“Revolutionary love” is the choice to enter into wonder and labor for others, for our opponents, and for ourselves in order to transform the world around us. —Valarie Kaur (Thursday)

Love is our foundation and our destiny. It is where we come from and where we’re headed. (Friday)


Practice: Lectio Divina with A Love Supreme by John Coltrane

We end the week inviting you to contemplate the soulful music of saxophonist John Coltrane’s composition “Psalm” from his album A Love Supreme. In “Psalm,” John Coltrane plays the “words” of his poem that was included in the original liner notes. He put this handwritten poem/prayer on the music stand in front of him, and “played” it as if it were music. Practicing Lectio Divina with this song may deepen your sense of prayer and add possible ways to pray. If you enjoy the practice with “Psalm,” we encourage you to try praying with other music. That is one of the beauties of Lectio Divina: it encourages us to “pray always.”

  • Before clicking on the following link to listen to John Coltrane’s “Psalm,” settle your body and begin with silence, asking God to be present in your listening.
  • Listen to “Psalm” and read along with the words from the poem that appear on the screen. Listen more than once. As you listen again, notice if any image, word, emotion, or memory is called forth in you.
  • When you settle on an image, word, emotion, or memory, sit silently with it and bring your attention back to it when your attention strays.
  • Ask God to reveal what this image, word, phrase, or emotion might have to say about your life today.? How is it connected to your spiritual journey?
  • Rest silently with your image, word, phrase, or emotion. Offer it to God. Wait patiently on God.
  • What would you like to express to God about the experience of praying with this piece of music? Take some time to journal about your experience.

Here are the opening lines of “Psalm”:

I will do all I can to be worthy
of Thee O Lord.
It All has to do with it.
Thank You God.
There is none other.
God is. It is so beautiful.
Thank You God. God is All.
Help us to resolve our fears &
In You All things are possible.

John Coltrane, “Psalm,” A Love Supreme (Impulse! Records: 1965).

For Further Study:
Allen Dwight Callahan, A Love Supreme: A History of Johannine Tradition (Augsburg Fortress: 2005).

Michael Curry with Sara Grace, Love Is the Way: Holding on to Hope in Troubling Times (Penguin Random House: 2020).

bell hooks, All about Love: New Visions (William Morrow: 2000).

Valarie Kaur, See No Stranger: A Memoir and Manifesto of Revolutionary Love (One World: 2020).

Martin Luther King, Jr., A Gift of Love: Sermons from Strength to Love and Other Preachings, foreword by Coretta Scott King (Beacon Press: 2012).

“Perfection,” Oneing, vol. 4, no. 1 (CAC Publishing: 2016). In particular, the essays “Perfection: A Problem and a Solution” by Joseph F. Schmidt and “To Love without Exception” by Jack Jezreel.

Richard Rohr: Essential Teachings on Love, ed. Joelle Chase and Judy Traeger (Orbis Books: 2018).

Image credit: Woman and Child (Silence) (detail), Jean-Francois Millet, 1855, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois.
Inspiration for this week’s banner image: This faith, this love, this Holy Mystery—of which we are only a small part—can only be awakened and absorbed by the silent gaze of prayer. —Richard Rohr
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