Friday, September 10, 2021

I GREET THE DIVINITY IN YOU

   When members of the Hindu faith greet one another,  they say,  "Namaste", which means, "I greet, (bow to) the Divinity in you."  They recognize the presence of Divinity in one another.

   In our own way, we Christians can understand the meaning of this custom.  When Moses asked Divinity's name, Divinity answered, "Yahweh."  "I am that I am."  In today's language. God said, "I am Living, Divine Existence."  

     Everyone and everything that exists is a created image of Divine  Existence.  And thus everyone and everything is a created, space/time image of the Universal Christ, who is Divinity in the Universe and World.  .  This is is why St. Paul proclaimed, "Christ is all in all."  (Col. 3:11)  So we can truly say to one another, "I bow to the Divinity in you."  

    As we look at ourselves and one another, we should be conscious of the fact that we are looking at a created expression of Christ, who is God in human form.  St. Paul said, "Ever since the creation of the world His invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what He has made."  (Rom. 1:20)     

   In today's society, in fact especially in today's society, we should take some time to remind ourselves that Divinity is present in everyone we meet and in every part of the world around us.  We must learn to see and appreciate that everyone and everything s a blessed image of Jesus Christ, who is the true presence of Divinity on earth. 

    Omnipresent Divinity shows itself as the omnipresence of Love.  As I have mentioned before, Thomas Merton told us of the time he and a fellow monk went to town for some shopping.  When his brother Trappist went into a store, he stayed outside and looked around and realized that we was totally in love with every person he saw.  He was seeing Divinity present in everyone, making everyone a living image of Jesus, who is the True Christ, the true presence of Divinity in our humanity.  
 
   Our Christ consciousness  enables us to see the presence of the Divine in everyone.  Unhappily we can also see those in whom Christ is being crucified.  So it is very important that our love should  know no exceptions.  Christ gives us all the insight, the strength of soul to love everyone without exception.
        
   In Christ we have eyes to see the presence of Divinity's grace in everyone, in ourselves, our families, communities, corporations, political leaders,  et al.  We all have the ability to create a truly graced society.  We are all called and enabled to work to work toward building a truly human society in which we can see and bow to, God's universal, saving Love.          
      
   Our keen awareness of Divine Existence in ourselves, one another and in the world is called our Christ consciousness, our ever present awareness of Divinity in human form here on earth.  Moreover, our Catholic faith is universal.  We can see the equivalent consciousness of Divine presence in people who are not Christians, e.g., Jews, Hindus, Native Americans, and all people of good will. 

   We who live in the Catholic faith believe that we have access to the fullness of faith.  At the same time we should not believe that we are superior to any others.  In some of us, our faith can be poorly informed, even prejudicial.  The simplest soul in the world can be a great beacon of faith compared to some of us.

   Our faith is not some abstraction floating in the air.  It needs a compatible culture in which to live, grow and thrive.  That is why Church teaching, especially the almost forgotten teachings of Vatican II, leads us to be fully involved in the everyday world so we can live our faith to the best advantage for today's society.  A faith disconnected from the everyday world is a useless faith.  Even Trappist monks and cloistered nuns pray for us in our everyday world.  "Thy Kingdom come, on earth as it is in Heaven."

  The prayer does not mean that we should wait for God to straighten out our failings.   God has already given us the grace and strength to correct our own failures.  we Americans do not need to have the truly collapsed national culture we have created. Pope Francis is calling  a synod of bishops to develop contemporary ways to get the laity involved in today's society.  I pray that the bishops are capable of leading such a very badly needed effort.   

   Let us keep in mind:  God is with us.  God is within us!.   we are living, acting images of Christ, who has given us His Spirit. When we see a person let us be away that we are looking at an image of Christ.  And let us greet that person accordingly.  Let us remember that we are living in a fallen culture of e.g., fallen politicians, polluting and greedy corporations, failing urban schools, lingering rancid racism, , etc.  In all these example and more, people are being cheated of the opportunity to thrive.  In them, Jesus is being crucified anew.  

   We have eyes to see Christ in everyone, without exception.  From within everyone, Christ will look at us.  As long as we are doing whatever we can to alleviate his suffering and make Him more honored and obeyed, he will greet us with the great blessings, "Well done, good and faithful servant."

  

              

       









     

       

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

 AMERICA'S SPIRITUAL COLLAPSE

     I was in high school during World War II.  After D-Day, June 6, 1944, I bravely fantasized running onto the beach at Normandy with the invading Americans.  I would have proudly done everything I could for my beloved America.  Today I mourn for it.  

      I fear that an ever increasing number of us have lost respect for our  unalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all Americans, and for the rule of law contained in our Constitution.  

     our nation is experiencing an historical change.  The predominate color of our population is changing from White to Black and Brown.  In strong reaction, a frightened and frightening portion of White Americans, deeply committed to the notion of White privilege, have fallen into mindless, soul-sapping, aggressive social and political anger, and even violence against our fellow Americans of color.  Such behavior is not only immoral, but in its intensity it has it has fallen to the depth of our losing our God-given human dignity and integrity.  The result is that America is losing its soul and is falling beyond moral collapse into spiritual collapse.  

     We are losing touch with our deepest selves--with our humanity itself and with God.  If we continue on this path we will lose not only ourselves but our democracy and our country.  

     This spiritual collapse has been a long time coming.  I can think back to the 1960's when our World War II and 1950's culture fell apart and was followed by the naive immaturity of the Hippies, Woodstock and the "Coming of the Age of Aquarius," with its naive vision of "peace and understanding."  Unhappily, what followed was the 1970's and the "Me Generation."   

      We are choking in the ashes of an educational, religious and cultural collapse.  What we have left is a society in which people are murdered on the streets and in places of employment almost every day.  Today a former employee murdered eight of his former co-workers.  Then, in a symbol of our times, he killed himself.  Our culture is killing itself.  

     Too many of us have forgotten who we are as humans, Americans and the People of God.  We are living a lie.  St.  John tells us that Satan is the Father of Lies.  (Jn. 8:44)  And perhaps the worst lies are the lies that we tell to ourselves.  It is immoral to lie; it is spiritual collapse to not know or not care that you are lying.  

     Many corporate executives lie to themselves and believe that they deserve to be paid hundreds of times more than the employees.  Lies flood the Internet.  The self-deluded Evangelical preachers lie about their "messages" from God.       

     We are drowning in political lies.  President Trump told 30,000 lies during his tenure in office.  There is a reason for his behavior:  he is the victim of the emotionally and spiritually brutal treatment inflicted on him by his father.  But as president, he found a vast number of  Americans who, in their own way, had begun to lose their sense of truth and humanity.  Together, they formed a perfect storm. 

      The storm particularly showed itself on January 6th when a mob of demented Trump followers attacked our Capitol, causing five deaths and coming horrifically close to harming and maybe causing the death of members of Congress and even of Vice President Pence.  

     And yet, the storm continues.   A politician appeared on TV and calmly stated that the lethal attack was no different from an ordinary day when tourists visit the Capitol.  In Arizona, Trump's followers are  conducting a recount of votes, idiotically looking for bamboo in the ballots.  The House of Representatives removed a member from her duties because she told the truth, while, as above, it permits other members to tell truly insane lies.  Such human emptiness is beyond immorality.  It is a fall into evil!

     So, what are the People of Christ called to do in this present spiritual collapse?  Well, the Catholic bishops have one answer:  denying Communion to President Biden because he is "pro choice" regarding abortion.  And then what?   

     What are the Catholic laity (ever decreasing in number) being trained and commissioned to do in their everyday lives to help bring our society back to life?  They are the Church in today's broken society.  The Spirit of Christ fills the world, giving them the grace of enlightenment , strength and vocations to get actively involved in our society to help make it ever more clearly the Kingdom of God on Earth.  

     They are personally engaged in society every day.  And they enjoy the grace of Christ to give them insight into the worlds of the family, education, work, politics, etc.  They are the ones called by God to physically, morally and spiritual care for and elevate our society to make it more Christ-like in justice, order, peace, respect, etc., etc., all of which are expressions of love.

     So I suggest that the bishops put down the Book book of Canon Law and pick up the Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles and see how the Church really should operate.  Of course, I recommend as absolutely necessary, that they read the teachings of Vatican II, for which they have never shown a real understanding or will to implement.  

     In the meantime, may God give the laity the insight and will to implement their faith to help bring our everyday society one little step closer to being the Kingdom of God on Earth that Jesus prayed for.