The Joy of Belonging

The Joy of Belonging

October 6

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We have heard the story of the encounter between Jesus and Mary of Magdala, two people who love each other. Jesus says, “Mary.” She recognizes him and says, “ ‘Rabboni,’ ” which means Master” (John 20:16). This simple and deeply moving story brings me in touch with my fear as well as my desire to be known. . . . Often I am tempted to think that I am loved only as I remain partially unknown. I fear that the love I receive is conditional and then say to myself, “If they really knew me, they would not love me.” But when Jesus calls Mary by name he speaks to her entire being. She realizes that the One who knows her most deeply is not moving away from her, but is coming to her offering her his unconditional love. . . . Mary feels at once fully known and fully loved. The division between what she feels safe to show and what she does not dare to reveal no longer exists. She is fully seen and she knows that the eyes that see her are the eyes of forgiveness, mercy, love, and unconditional acceptance. . . . What a joy to be fully known and fully loved at the same time! It is the joy of belonging through Jesus to God and being fully safe and fully free.

Henri Nouwen

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