Saturday, November 10, 2012

Real and Lasting...Happiness

In the last post, I referenced the Pope's resent letter in which he spoke about "the need to rediscover the journey of faith so as to shed ever clearer light on the joy and renewed enthusiasm of the encounter with Christ". What we are being asked to do, is to become more aware of who we are by our Baptism. In This Sacrament of Initiation, we are anointed by the oil of chrism so as to become sharers in the priesthood of Jesus Christ. That same anointing also consecrates us, calls us forth, to be the ones who are to continue Prophetic Mission of same Jesus Christ. We are called to be, as He was, fearless prophets. We are to be prophets, messengers of hope. We are a resurrection people, are we not? As such, we are all, by our consecration, called to spear words of encouragement to a world that has lost sight of its original blessing. God saw all that He had made and indeed it was very good. That essential goodness was not lost in the fall. Humankind lost something in the fall. The essential goodness of all of the rest of creation was in no way diminished. As it was before the fall, so it was after the fall. Humankind was changed. Nature was not. Fallen humankind lost its vision of real truth. As a consequence, all the rest of creation was, and is, to the present day, in grave danger. All of creation is in danger of being destroyed by those who have lost sight of that which has real and lasting value. We are being called and challenged to look beyond what is seen, to the life that is unseen. We are asked to let go of the certainties, so as to embrace the challenge that is inherent in the new, as yet, unanswered questions. We are never alone on this real journey of faith. The Holy Spirit, the same Spirit Who hovered over the original chaos is with us, and will never desert us. We may, and do question the workings of the Spirit. This is healthy, and good. Prophets do not pay lip service. They question, because they really care. The truth has nothing to fear from questions. The truth is always the truth, and a sacrament of, The Truth, God. Jesus The Christ was sent to us as The Truth. The fullness of the revelation of God. That is why the Pope encourages us to encounter Christ. I may be so bold as to add the encounter is to be with the living Person Of Jesus Christ. You can only have an encounter with that which is alive. In the '60s there was a book called "Good old plastic Jesus”. I kept it close for many years until it fell apart. “Plastic” Jesus, it was pointed, was and is, a thing. We used to see him on the dashboards of cars, not the place for an encounter. An encounter is not just meeting a person. It demands more than a passing conversation. An encounter demands of us time, presence, attention, respect, honesty, mutual trust, leading to shared feelings. Implicit in the encounter is the willingness to continue the relationship even through the storms that will inevitably occur. Storms are part and parcel of every real relationship. Storms, challenges reveal to each of us, who we really are. At times we are not ready of the truth. Life is so much easier when we are in denial. Denial lasts for so long. Eventually we are forced to face our truth. The truth will set us free…..but first, it will tee off the ego, the false self. The result is out and out war. Our greatest ally is truth. From our experience, with encounters we will have what it takes to get gut honest with The Source of all strengths and healing. We will be led to a different, and deeper understanding, of the seven ritual sacraments. They are Sacraments spelled with a big "S". I like to think a Ritual Sacrament as :the opportunity to encounter the living person of Jesus Christ, the result of which change takes place in my life and that change is brought about by the power of The Holy Spirit. The result of each encounter is change. NOT the change we want, or we think is best for us. The Holy Spirit will transfigured and transform into the creation God intended us to be, not who we would like to be, or the person we think we should be, or ought to be. Being who God has created us to be is the source of real and lasting happiness. It will be the cause of great disquiet in our lives. In these tough times, we are to make an act of faith in the Real Presence of our Good Shepherd God. The valley of darkness lasts for only so long. We journey through the valley of questioning and rejection guided by the light of inner and lasting truth. This truth is slowly revealed. The beauty of this inner truth is revealed again, and again, in each mountain top, resurrection experience. With each encounter, we will be challenged to reflect, through a new set of lenses, who the living person of Jesus Christ really is. This will lead to what?