Take a Break for Faith Podcast Transcript
Take Five for Faith monthly meditation podcast – Right Relationship.
Welcome to your Take Five Monthly Meditation. This month’s theme is “Right Relationship.” A friend offers this reflection on the theme, to help us settle in:
I once knew a woman who prided herself on her disdain for worldly goods. “Life doesn’t consist of possessions,” she would say, “it’s all about relationships.” And yet she treated her relationships like possessions. One wrong word from a friend and she played the aggrieved martyr. One wrong action and she cut people out of her life. She didn’t have friends, she took hostages. Those close to her were always guessing what would set her off next.
The fact is that anything can be treated as a possession—even people. I know a few people who might not think it’s true of them but who treat their family as a possession, a sort of trophy to display to others. Their main concern is to look good in their own eyes and in the eyes of others. Their kids miss out on their real presence almost as much as the kids whose parents have abandoned them.
Some people even treat God as a possession. They think they’ve got God in their hip pocket or on their dashboard or otherwise at their beck and call. They would rather control a false god than risk a relationship with the true and living God.
But God is not a possession and neither are we. In fact, God continually invites us to enter into a real relationship with him. God will never treat us as objects. Shouldn’t we return the favor?
Let’s move more deeply into our theme by looking at it metaphorically.
In reflecting on “right relationship,” let’s begin with God’s relationship with us. One metaphor scripture used to describe the sacred relationship between God and God’s people is that of betrothal and marriage. It is a relationship God initiated; what followed in salvation history has been a drama in which God’s people at times have accepted and reciprocated, but other times have rejected that relationship.
God desires intimacy with us. The ultimate fulfillment of this desire is accomplished in Jesus, who became one with us in an act of loving solidarity. And we continue to see God’s solidarity and faithfulness in our daily lives, especially in our times of need.
Who of us can say we are not in need? When we receive the Eucharist, each one of us approaches the altar in need. It is need and relationship that moves our will to say “yes” to God’s invitation to celebrate the liturgy together. The Lord, a God of mercy and justice, hears us in our need, rescues the distressed, and consoles the brokenhearted, as we hear in Psalm 34 and have witnessed in our own lives.
What does God ask of us but love? We express that love in prayer and worship, in thanksgiving and praise, and in loving action on behalf of others. In the process our minds and hearts and lives are transformed. This transformation affects our relationships with our families, coworkers, friends, and everyone with whom we come into contact.
The relationship between spouses can beautifully imitate the saving mystery of the relationship between Christ and his church. Christ loved the church and laid down his life in order to make her holy. A right relationship between spouses is a love that reflects and models the relationship of Christ with his church—a love that is self-gift, sacrificial, nourishing, cherishing, and a cause for rejoicing because it is holy.
There were some who wanted to follow Jesus, but on their own terms. The gospel tells us some of Jesus’ followers could not accept his more challenging teachings, so they returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.
So we ask ourselves: Is our way of practicing right relationship with others truly reflective of our relationship with God and our love for Christ? Are we faithful to the love Jesus called us to when he said the greatest commandments were, “To love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind,” and “To love your neighbor as yourself”?
The Second Vatican Council teaches that we, as members of the Body of Christ, have a “universal call to holiness.” If we begin to understand right relationship and enact it in our lives and teach it to those we love, its reality and sanctifying power will prove to be dramatic. Nothing is impossible for God.
Understanding and practicing right relationship with others can help prevent, overcome, stop, or heal unhealthy relationships, abuse, and violence, whether it happens in a family, on a date, between friends, in the workplace, at school, or in church. Right relationship is indeed a path to holiness. And holiness, a gift made available to all, brings joy and peace.
Let’s continue with a meditation that helps us further connect the theme of right relationship with a life of holiness:
How does this sound for a life plan? Share your possessions with one another so that you earn and spend with the good of the community in mind. Make choices with an awareness of the needs of all—and with an openness to listen to God and those around you—and let that inform your priorities. Keep your feelings and desires appropriate to the relationships you’re in.
Sound good? Catholicism calls these ways of living poverty, obedience, and chastity. They are values people in consecrated life—those who pledge themselves to a religious community—commit themselves to formally. These folks can help us see how our own lives can be holy and consecrated. The word “consecrated” means dedicated to the sacred. Pray and support those in religious life, and do what you can to encourage others to live a consecrated life in right relationship with God and each other. And strive to live such a life yourself.
We close our monthly meditation with two scripture quotes: the first is taken from the letter of James: “My dear brothers and sisters, be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.”
The second quote is from the Gospel of Matthew: “Do for others what you would like them to do for you. This is a summary of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.”
This concludes our Take Five Monthly Meditation on “right relationship.” We hope you have found it of benefit and we welcome your comments and feedback. You can find us at TakeFiveforFaith.com or on Facebook. The music for this month’s podcast is by Philipp Weigl. The Take Five Monthly Meditation is produced by TrueQuest Communications. Thank you for joining us this month and have a blessed day.