All sorts of things and situations can breed fear and form crippling patterns that imprison us and reduce our freedom to love. Fear may be aroused by love itself as we fear the terror of loss or of being possessed. . .. Essentially fear, not hate, is the contradiction of love; it paralyzes love and undermines faith. [ . . . .]
If fear opposes love, attention cultivates it. In fact the pure attention that is prayer is itself a manifestation of love. Christian mystical wisdom says that the work of contemplation is a work of love, not primarily a moral or intellectual work; not a platonic kind of knowledge or an extraterrestrial kind of wisdom; but love. Love is personal, relational; it is embodied in the present. And when it is strong enough, it casts out fear.
After Meditation: “The Lamb” by Linda Gregg in CHOSEN BY THE LION (Minneapolis: Graywolf Press) 1994, cited in The Writer’s Almanac 2.19.2022 firstname.lastname@example.org.
It was a picture I had after the war.
A bombed English church. I was too young
to know the word English or war,
but I knew the picture.
The ruined city still seemed noble.
The cathedral with its roof blown off
was not less godly. The church was the same
plus rain and sky. Birds flew in and out
of the holes God’s fist made in the walls.
All our desire for love or children
is treated like rags by the enemy.
I knew so much and sang anyway.
Like a bird who will sing until
it is brought down. When they take
away the trees, the child picks up a stick
and says, this is a tree, this the house
and the family. As we might. Through a door
of what had been a house, into the field
of rubble, walks a single lamb, tilting
its head, curious, unafraid, hungry.