Spiritual reading is so essential for a healthy spirituality. To be healthy, we must be taken ever deeper. This journey that takes us deep is the work of the HOLY Spirit within us, and so can be trusted, even if not liked. None of us are comfortable with facing the honest truth that is part and parcel of this journey. There is consolation in that adage, we are as sick as our secrets. The more we grow in honesty, and honesty is progressive, the more free we are to enjoy that which our God has dreamed for us…. There is a newness about our life. Our life is not boring.
Spiritual reading does this for us. Yes!! It is a blessing and a curse. It is a sacrament in the broad understanding of that word. It is sacrament (with a small “s”) in that sense is: Each and every person place event, action, that brings in touch with the deeper realities of life and ultimately with Reality Itself, that reality we call God. Last week in the quotation from Fr. Rolheiser we were taken to a new and deeper understanding of who we are as today’s living presence of the historical Jesus, we as the contemporary Christ are in the constant need of being reminded who we really are. WE must have that constant reinforcement of our innate dignity. Why? Because, the Devil, the father of all lies, wants us to believe in the lie. The lie is that we are not who we are really called to be, we have to earn, deserve, and qualify for the unconditioned love of God. That love comes to in so many ways and through so many channels. Here is some of what Fr. Rolheiser has written, speaking of The Incarnation;
"When Jesus walked around Palestine, people were healed and forgiven, not to mention given eternal life, by touching him ,and being touched by Him and simply by relating to him. If we the ongoing incarnation, and we are, then this is true also for us (and not just in the sense of it happening through the institutional churches, important as that is)......The mystery of the incarnation is extensive. It is not just the institutional churches that carry on, carry forth, and carry the mystery the mystery of God in human flesh. ALL LOVE THAT IS IN GRACE IS THE WORD MADE FLESH. To touch it is to be touched by Christ; to touch with it is to touch with Christ because it is the ongoing incarnation. From Augustine through Pius XII, we are told that this is wild doctrine, something beyond our limited imaginations, and measured hopes. Nobody dares hope for us as much as God has already given in the incarnation.
What are we given there? The power, literally, to block death and hell. If we love someone, that person cannot go to hell because Christ is loving him or her. If we forgive someone, that person is forgiven because Christ is forgiving him or her. If children of ours, or anyone else we love, no longer go to church, our love for them and their love for us bind them solidly to the Body of Christ. They continue to touch the hem of Christ's garment as surely as did the woman in the gospel who suffered with a hemorrhage. The end result, unless they reject their bond to us, will be like hers, namely, healing.... it is Christ who is doing this. We, as St Paul so clearly assures us, “are the body of Christ”. He recognizes how difficult it is for us ordinary people to believe, accept, and act upon. So he concludes the chapter with these words:
" Part of the difficulty in believing in the incarnation is precisely the fact that it is too good to be true: God is not hidden and hard to contact; forgiveness, grace, and salvation are not the prerogative of the lucky and the few; we don't have to save ourselves; we do not have to live our lives perfectly to be saved;...human flesh and this world are not obstacles, but part of the vehicle to heaven; we can help each other on the journey; love, indeed human love, is stronger than death; and to love someone is indeed to say; "you at least will never die.!"
This spiritual reading does take one deeper, and so it is indeed, sacramental. This will lead us to pray for the simple faith, to believe in the very simple words of scripture;
"You are my Beloved daughter/son, in you, I am, well pleased", another translation goes like this "You are my beloved child; in you I take delight!" How often do we take time out to join our Father God in His delight of who we are, and in where we are? We cannot think our way into a new way of enjoying being ,God's delight, we must take the action to join God in his delight, of us. We have been given the gift of imagination. Let us dream of new ways to celebrate this great gift of God's great delight in us, each one in his/hers own unique way. Again, to quote Thomas Merton, “Be, who you already, are”. The question would be then, who are you?
Let the dreaming continue….