Relationships help us explore the vast resources, gifts, and the limits within each of us. Relationships bring to life the continuum of emotions, the stretch of intellect and the physical dimensions of who we are. It begins at birth with the bonds between parent and child, leans through childhood with extended family and then into puberty and adolescence with explosive growth. The whole process continues in adulthood, multiple times, revealing the essence of being over days and decades. Reality says the essence of who we are continually deepens with every day, every sunrise, every choice.
There are the extraordinary connections that somehow dare us to become more than who we are or who we thought we were. These are the relationships that reveal our capacity for awe and wonder, challenge assumptions and dump illusions and delusions. Raw truths become apparent and our capacity for compassion, love and empathy expand with grace and fortitude. Realistic and humbling perceptions of self are juxtaposed with the mirrored images from those relationships. Honesty with self and others develops a deeper hue and demands a new and genuine fidelity to those deepening truths and perceptions. There is an intellectual harbor for this lifelong exploration, and the articulation of each awareness becomes a precious exchange of the newly discovered insights. The beauty of who we are and who we can be is somehow more palatable and much more real. Actions and behaviors find new purpose and direction, and are founded on truths, not illusions, as relationships develop and deepen. Life-changing, each connection draws out more of who we are and what truths are at home within us. We emerge and re-emerge over time nurtured by friendships and partnerships, connections enabling us to become who we are meant to be. Every nuance of this lifelong journey demands more of us than we imagined possible and grants us the same: gifts and joys we could never have imagined.
In essence, we make one another human. We draw out the best in each other, and sometimes we solicit the worst. Either way, we demonstrate to one another who we are at that moment in every interaction. We impact one another whether we like it or not and whether we know it or not. By existing, we are part of one another’s existence and constitute for one another what goodness looks like and what shapes hurts and fears take. There is this terrifyingly simple truth that we cannot know self without knowing others. And so, with the fresh breath of every sunrise, we continue to make one another more human by stirring and sharing the unknown capacities and the unsuspected gifts each of us has. Genuine gentleness and kindness open the doors to a world where truth and honesty can build love and respect, the kind that leads to sincere awe of the greatness that lives within created beings.
The simplicity and the power of the Magnificat in the Gospel for the celebration of the Assumption of Mary points to that sort of intimacy in relationship, that deep grasp and understanding of Other, and the humble sense of gratitude for the gift of connection.
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
and has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children forever.“
While structure and rituals have purpose and meaning within Catholicism, the core of it is all about relationships, definitley about the journey of being flawed and human and always about becoming more than we thought we could be.