Hi Everyone, I pray that all had a wonderful Easter and are experiencing the resurrection in a profound new way this day and in the days to come. As we begin, let us center ourselves in Christ Jesus. Allow yourself to rest in the present moment to know God’s presence with you. It is good to be still as we pray for the Lord to speak to our hearts. This week we continue our series of meditations as they flow out of a reading The Book of Privy Counseling written by the anonymous 14th century Christian monk who also wrote The Cloud of Unknowing.
Meditation #4: “Salvation Through the Passion of Christ Alone”
Let us examine a statement made by our 14th century spiritual director and author of The Book of Privy Counseling1. “As all men were lost in Adam when he fell from the love which made him one with God, so all those, who, by fidelity to their own path in life, manifest their own desire for salvation through the Passion of Christ alone.” I would of course say “all men and women.” And, I do think we need to unpack our directors’ statement; “lost in Adam when he fell from the love which made him one with God.” It seems to me that we must be careful not to think that God who is Love withdrew Love from us, as much as we allowed a veil to cover our sensibilities to the presence of God who is Love and the reality that we, all people, are created in the image of Love. Sin has caused spiritual blindness that has allowed us to believe the lie that we are able to deliver ourselves from our blind state, by keeping us unaware that we are indeed blind. We think that we can enlighten ourselves, but we do not even know who we are as God’s image bearers. Nor, do we know God with us. In short, we cannot see the truth that we are created in the image of Love and that Love, God, is with us. The image of Love is fully intact, undisturbed, yet hidden. We are blind to the image, which seeks a deep awareness of its union with the Creator of the image to be revealed. Love created is crying out, reaching out, yearning for, uncreated Love which is its Creator. Deep cries out to deep. This is the hunger we all know, yet have difficulty identifying and filling because we are distracted and, in many ways, clueless as to how to do so. However, if we will just be still, open, and responsive to the truth of God with us and our true nature as those created in the image of God, the blindness will be lifted. But how? We have already established, and if we are honest experienced, the futility of trying to accomplish this deep awareness and union, which we call salvation, by way of our own intellect, power and strength. We want to know ourselves and we want to know God. We somehow even know that the created image of Love, in which we are all created, is crying out to Love our Creator, but it seems just beyond our ability to embrace this reality and know this way of being. So how? The answer is quite understandable. But we must “let go” of any notion of self-sufficiency, even when not fully certain of what we are doing. By faith we must rest in God’s Holy Presence; open, nonjudgmental and in the moment. Open to the practice of holy habits, that help us move toward inner stillness. We must rest in and surrender to God’s presence and activity, which is occurring deep within each human spirit and soul. This is humility in the form of full receptivity. We set aside our defensive, judgmental, preconceived notions by saying in our hearts, not my will but your will Lord. In the moment; for each moment is a gift from God, created by God, given to that we may come alive, be purified, and to simply be as we are and for God to be as God is. In this, we may know purity of the human heart/spirit and see God. This is the loyal life, the life of fidelity, of which our spiritual director is speaking. This is a life path which we freely choose. When we make this loyal commitment and begin to walk this with God path, we find that will do God amazing things. We find, as we journey, that we develop a deeper and deeper desire for our own salvation, and we discover this to be God’s desire for us as well. In short, we discover God’s desire/will for our lives and lo and behold it is our desire/will as well. I think this is what the psalmist is telling us when he said…
Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. NRS Psalm 37:4
Fidelity of life then becomes a road by which one’s deepening loyalty to God mystically reveals our deepest desires, which we discover to also be God’s desire, God’s will, for our lives. Again, we must not understand this as works that make us good enough, instead, on the contrary, we must simply and with all humility know that we cannot accomplish the full awareness of the union with God we so dearly desire by any effort, but instead by way of non-effort, which is surrender to a life of fidelity to God. No matter how much we do we will always fall short. This realization alone is quite humbling. So, what must occur? The answer is, we must be exposed to, become intimate with, and responsive to, the Love we seek, and only God can make this happen. God, who is Love, must reveal God’s very self to the image of Love, who is us. Because we are a stiff-necked people this would have to be an extravagant, even ultimate, demonstration of Love. Love would need to be so overwhelming that it would break our pride, open our eyes, and set us free. In short, it must be Love capable of wiping away the sin that binds and blinds. Thus, our growing desire while we walk the faithful path, becomes now mingled with the grace of perfect Love. This is the way Love is given and revealed to us in the Passion of Jesus Christ. This is Love that saves us from ourselves and brings us to salvation in Christ Jesus. While we embark on the faithful journey God opens our eyes to Love who Created us. This, in turn, deepens our faith, our loyalty, and brings to us an awareness of Love and of our union with God “in Christ Jesus,” which has always been. The lie that God is not with us is exposed. Don’t let go of your Easter experience, hold onto it. Allow the Love of God to draw you ever closer, become united with God “in the resurrected Christ.” In this, all becomes new and our eyes are opened to who we are as God’s image bearers and to the reality of God with us, now and forever.
1 I am quoting from the William Johnston translation of The Cloud of Unknowing and the Book of Privy Counseling, Doubleday, April 2005, pg. 145. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website www.theawakeninginstitute.com or call 321-298-8801 for details on upcoming classes and seminars.
Next week, Meditation #5 “Our Offering to God”
May God Bless You All, Gene Yotka Please go to www.theawakeninginstitute.com to subscribe to our weekly newsletter, “Awakening.”