Here is a quote from Dostoyevsky's The Brothers Karamazov. I've been praying with this quote a lot lately:
Love [people] even in [their] sin, for that is the semblance of Divine Love and is the highest love on earth. Love all God’s creation, the whole and every grain of sand in it. Love every leaf, every ray of God’s light. Love the animals, love the plants, love everything. If you love everything, you will perceive the divine mystery in things. Once you have perceived it, you will begin to comprehend it better every day. And you will come at last to love the whole world with an all-embracing love.
The belief contained in this statement so attracts me. It matches my learning from my cancer and chemo that we all need each other in so very many ways. We are all needy. We are all so greatly blessed. Our weaknesses are what make us strong. Our connection to God and to all God's people and all God's creation is what makes life worth living. "The divine mystery in everything" is what makes life fascinating and can energize us to deal with whatever we face.
At every Mass we pray "gather us all into one by the power of the Holy Spirit." This is a bigger prayer than it may seem, for all of us can grab at the illusion the we be "independent," "individual," "achievers who achieve on our own power." Cancer - and other sufferings as well as all our failures - teach us about just how very needy we are and how graced we are. The word "religion" comes from the Latin word religio whish means re-binding together (think of the word "ligament"). The work of religion is to lead humankind to a binding oneness with God and all God's people and all God's creation. I love how Dostoyevsky said it!
So now I head into several days of chemo after-effects, and embrace them as best I can as friends who want the best for me. All the notes I receive, all the fantastic kindnesses that you show me, all the memories from the Holy Land, and the divine mystery in everything sustain me. Thank you so much for your love.