Embracing the Message to Love

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On October 2nd I had the honor of being invited to speak at a special commemorative event at the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church in Vashi up by Navi Mumbai. After last Sunday’s message to the congregation, the Archbishop extended this invitation to come for breakfast, the service and the public meeting during which I would give a 10 minute talk about love and forgiveness. This church has quite a history as it was founded by the St. Thomas Christians, the followers of St. Thomas the apostle who visited India in 52 AD. As we arrived there was frankincense and lovely Gregorian chants pouring out into the courtyard outside the sanctuary. My friend and guide, Daisy Alexander, (Principal of Rizvi Law College ) explained that they do everything according to historic ritual. The air was filled with Divine presence and I immediately settled into a deep meditation. I had not planned what I would say, but simply surrendered to Divine guidance on what was most appropriate for that time, place and congregation. After the mass I was ushered up to the front of the church and sat with the Archbishop and other bishops and priests. I was the only woman sitting with them and the only westerner in the church. I did not feel the least bit different because of this. The beautiful music unified all of us and when it was time for me to speak, I simply spoke what was in my heart. I began by telling them that terrorism was the extreme opposite of love, and therefore, love was the only answer to disempower terrorism. If we refuse to be terrorized, terrorism ceases to be. “If you only remember one thing from this talk today, it is to love like an extremist. Go forth and love with all your might, with all your heart and soul – and love your neighbor as yourself. In this way, you will bring increase peace in yourself and in your world.” This message was met with great appreciation amid the tears, the smiles and the nodding of heads. I felt so blessed to share this message of love on the day of Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday to this devoted group of Indians. After the meeting, we celebrated with a glass of spiced gooseberry juice for a traditional Kerala lunch. This time the Archbishop made sure I had a fork and spoon and insisted I use it!

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