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Steps of Ascent 5: The Way of the Master

“I have thrown fire on the world. Look! I watch it until it blazes.” —Jesus, The Gospel of Thomas

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IN MY PREVIOUS POST I spoke of a restoration process underway since the Fall, so far made in two approaches.  The first one was initiated with Abraham and the nation of Israel. The second approach, from the physical plane as was the first, was initiated with King Solomon.  Both failed to bring mankind back into the Garden state and alignment with the governance of the Kingdom of Heaven. 

      The third and forth approaches were from the mental and spiritual planes respectively and was initiated by the Master Jesus Christ, the incarnate Lord of Love.  Both of these approaches failed as well due to the hardness of men’s hearts and failure to comprehend his dual command to love the Lord God above all and one’s neighbor as oneself, which embodies the essence of his life and teachings.

This post is about the third approach which led to a fourth for him personally, opening the Way to restoration and ascension for all of mankind.  The following is from my book SACRED ANATOMY. 

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The Way of the Master                                        

       There was a Man sent from God—an incarnate God Being—who returned to Heaven with his human capacities restored to their glorified state.  His name was Jesus and he was called “Master” by those who loved and followed him closely. 

       Putting these cycles of restoration in a certain perspective, Uranda called them “Sacred Schools” in that they were periods of spiritual education, a time when human beings were taught by great spirits and masters how to function spiritually in each level of ascent as the restoration continued to unfold. Jesus initiated the second cycle, at the level of the mental plane, and opened the door to the third, the level of the expression of Spirit, with his two Great Commandments of Love. But those to whom he brought the Way back into the “kingdom of heaven” either didn’t comprehend him or rejected him out of hand and sought to erase him from the face of the Earth by destroying his personal temple.  This time it was men who failed to defeat the Divine Design for restoration, as it was beyond their reach.

       Jesus dealt with human consciousness from the “mental plane approach.” He offered tranquility, a quality of the Spirit of the Single Eye in the second plane of being, to minds frantically busy with the letter of the law and the prophets.  “Peace, be still,” were words he often spoke before preaching and ministering to his disciples. He took issue with the Scribes and Pharisees, for example, which he blatantly characterized as “hypocrites” and “whited sepulchers full of dead men’s bones” for  the way they allowed the letter of the law to overshadow the “spirit that giveth life.” 

      He came to fulfill the law and the prophets, not to impose them upon the faithful in order to “lord it over them.” Above all, he met and dealt forthrightly and in singleness of purpose with his own human mind and restored order and beauty to his house of Being.  “Get thee behind me, Satan” were his words of rebuke more than once to his own human mind and through it to the collective mind in the larger body of mankind.

       He brought one law, the law of love, to replace the many laws that were on the books and enforced in order to keep the people subdued and under control. That law was stated as two Great Commandments: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all of thy heart and all of thy mind and with all of thy strength,” and “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” 

In giving this one law of love, He began opening the third level of consciousness and plane of being, the spiritual-expression plane approach, which is made from the level of the heart.  It is simply the expression of the spirit of God in living, which brings a realization of the presence of God in one’s temple and an outpouring of blessing into one’s world.  We have seen how this level is the domain of the Spirit of Blessing.

       “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God,” He taught, and in so teaching began to open the way leading up into the fourth level of consciousness, which is the plane of being connecting heaven and earth and the level of awareness of divine identity. The Spirit of Purification reins here to bring clarity to the heaven.

In order to enter this level of consciousness, where one knows with assurance one’s own divine presence in the world, the heart must be purified by the continual and consistent outpouring of the Holy Spirit of Love.  It is the only way—and the Master Jesus went that way, even though no one at the time was willing to go with Him.  “I am the way, the truth and the life,” He proclaimed and then proceeded to exemplify for all who had ears to hear and eyes to see. 

      Here was the Lord of Love himself incarnate on earth attempting to gather human beings back under his wings, “as a hen with her brood,” but they “would not.”  The gospels say Jesus wept over the city of Jerusalem.  It was not for himself that he wept but for what he saw human beings were doing to themselves.  He came to initiate the process by which human beings could come out of the state of dying souls and back into the state of original innocence as living souls, only he was met by all sorts of resistance and considerable opposition. 

      When it became apparent to him that he was not going to be allowed to initiate that process for the whole body of mankind through His personal hedge of followers, he accepted the responsibility himself of ascending to the third and fourth planes of being.  But he did not stop here.  There had already been too much failure in the past.  He went all the way through the remaining three levels of being: the fifth which is that of radiance under the domain of the Spirit of Life, the sixth which is that of wisdom under the domain of the Spirit of Truth, or the Womb, and finally the seventh, the dwelling place of the Spirit of Love, with his transfiguration, resurrection and ascension into heaven.

       He stepped from earth back into heaven from whence he had come—and from whence we all have come—giving the simple and apparently achievable instruction to simply follow him: “He that believes in me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.” (John 14:12)

      Going unto the Father is the first step and the last that leads to union with God and glorious transfiguration.  He established agreement on earth with His Father in heaven, and where two agree on earth as touching anything “in my name” (in the vibration of love), it shall be done of them by the Father in heaven.  He was able to step, body, soul and spirit, back into the realms of light by reason of the working of this law of love, and the process of ascension manifested in His humanity.

      Each one of these steps of ascent, from one level of consciousness to the next, manifested changes in his outer form.  They each had their impact on Him physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Throughout this process he experienced amazing feats of all sorts: levitation, transfiguration, command of the wind, mental telepathy, long distance healing power,  a potently radiant and highly charged personal atmosphere that when but touched by those around him in faith, wrought healing, power to raise the dead, and many other miracles of transformation. The greatest transformation was that of his own consciousness to the clear, absolute realization that “I and my Father are one.”   He attained to the vibration of the Father, who is love, as he himself had long since earned the title of “Lord of Love.” 

       Probably the toughest of all the outer manifestations of change to move through was his betrayal and subsequent crucifixion. Yet move through it he did, maintaining His connection with his Father and thereby maintaining the continuity of the cycle he had initiated which took him step by step back into the Realms of Light from whence he had come.  He surely saw that experience as a door through which he had to pass in order to go the Way he had chosen. Death with its seeming finality was to him but the shadow side of eternal life itself, and not just for his spirit but for his own body temple as well. 

      The door that leads into the light is always hidden in the shadow, because it is closed.  He opened that door and found resurrection and ascension on the other side, and he opened it with unconditional love for and forgiveness of those who had put him on the cross.  His heart was utterly purified in the fire of love he shared with his Heavenly Father, and which he sought unceasingly to share with his disciples and the world which his Father so loved and had sent him to save.  His outer form was transformed by the Spirit of Purification as He moved through the fourth plane of being on his way up in the ascension process.  Indeed, he became the Spirit of Purification himself at the fourth level of being, the crossover point between spirit and form, and burned his way through the thick veil of the impure heart of humanity. 

      In a service entitled “The Way of the Master,” Martin Cecil describes these events in a remarkably clear and thought-provoking presentation.  He refers to a “tone” sounded:

What a task!  What an unbelievable undertaking, and yet He did it, in spite of everything . . .   He established what we have called the true tone of life for man, an actual vibratory radiation that has been sounding on earth all down the centuries . . . .  It was set of course not by a man as such but by the Lord through a man.  That trumpet tone has been sounding without diminishing for nineteen centuries . . . .

     When He did proceed through the creative cycle in His own personal experience on earth He did what He might to assist those who were present with Him to come along into an experience of greater understanding, but they didn’t get very far.  You may recall, in the Gospel of John, Philip and Thomas, two of the disciples, had no faintest idea as to what it was that our Master was talking about.  He’d been speaking: “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.”  And He said, “I go to prepare a place for you.”  That’s the way He was going, moving through these successive levels of consciousness in the creative cycle, the ascending cycle, thereby preparing the way.  Nobody was going with Him at that time.  The disciples were completely at sea. They enjoyed being with Him, they loved Him, but they didn’t know what was happening and apparently no one has known since. Some beliefs have been generated, some ideas have been produced, and there may have been a little truth back of some of these things. But only now, when it begins to surface and come within the range of present human experience, does it once more become meaningful.  It becomes meaningful to the extent that it is experienced; not to the extent that it is thought about or discussed, or to the extent that doctrines are established; it means something only on the basis of actual experience.  So because there begins to be some actual experience it begins to be meaningful . . . .  (Excerpted from Third Sacred School, Vol. 2, Chapter 28)

       It is the experience that this One Divine Man undertook himself that has established what the body of mankind is to experience and has experienced since he set this tone and sounded it all the way through the seven levels of being as he ascended with his body temple restored to its glorified state.  This is the path that all of mankind has been invited to take and that we each must travel if we are to experience fully the salvation which he brought, the path leading well beyond worship of God to resurrection and ascension in sacred union with God.  Until the reality of such union is actually known, man shall continue his search for Eden outside himself and worship God at the foot of altars made of wood and stone — but not for long. ♦

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The purpose of restoration relates primarily to the return of this world, the earth and the fulness thereof, to the One whose world it is, through Man restored.  In my next post, “The Transmutation of Planet Earth,” I will give in-depth and specific consideration to the divine design by which the Earth is restored to the One who is responsible for it.  Until then,

Be love.  Be loved.

Anthony

tpal70@gmail.com

Kenosis, Self-Emptying Love — “The Jesus Trajectory”

“It was not love stored up but love utterly poured out that opened the gates to the Kingdom of Heaven.”  

Generosity of spirit is innate with everyone.  We are born to be givers.  This pandemic, along with hurricanes and wildfires, is bringing out the spirit of giving in us all, heralding in a new day and shaping a new world.  When I see it acted out in movies and news stories, I tear up with joy and longing for the return of generosity to our world.  A passage from my poet friend Don Hynes expresses what I feel today: 

   The old earth claws for purchase
   but the turning is profound,
   reaching from the furthest stars
   to the roots of trees,
   a new heaven poised beyond
   the horizon, beginning even now
   to shape the world anew.

This passage from Cynthia Bourgeault’s THE WISDOM JESUS touched a place in my heart of deep sadness for the state of the world mingled with profound love for this Man she honors and celebrates so exquisitely personal.  How little we know of his colorful character from the Four Gospels.  The Gnostic Gospel of Thomas and the Gospel of Mary Magdalene give us a taste of his more candid expressions, some rather blunt and thought provoking:  “Whoever is near me is near the fire. Whoever is far from me (the fire) is far from the Kingdom.”  He was no gentle lamb, nor a “sweet Jesus.”  His generosity of spirit still shines through his words and deeds recorded in the New Testament, all of which were written down four to five decades after his departure, all from oral traditions.  Yet they inspire and compel us to be better and do better than we have been and done heretofore—even to be ablaze with love as he was.  Cynthia introduces this passage with poetry by Rumi: 

Yet in the midst of suffering,
Love proceeds like a millstone,
hard-surfaced and straight forward.
Having died to self-interest,
she risks everything and asks for nothing.
Love gambles away every gift God bestows.

The Jesus Trajectory

The words above were written by the great Sufi mystic Jalallu­din Rumi.  But better than almost anything in Christian scripture, they closely describe the trajectory that Jesus himself followed in life. He certainly called us to dying to self, but his idea of dying to self was not through inner renunciation or guarding the purity of his being but through radically squandering everything he had and was. John the Baptist’s disciples were horrified because he banqueted, drank, and danced. The Pharisees were horrified because he healed on the Sabbath and kept company with women and disreputables, people known to be impure. Boundaries meant nothing to him; he walked right through them.

What seemed disconcerting to nearly everybody was the messy, freewheeling largeness of his spirit. Abundance and a generosity bordering on extravagant seemed to be the signa­tures of both his teaching and his personal style. We have already noted this in two of his parables, where the thing that sticks in people’s craws is in each case the display of a generosity beyond comprehension that it can only be perceived as unfair. But as we look further, that extravagance is everywhere. When he feeds the multitudes at the Sea of Galilee, there is not merely enough to go around; the leftovers fill twelve baskets.  When a woman anoints him with expensive ointment and the disciples grumble about the waste, he affirms, “Truly, I tell you, wherever this good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her” (Matthew 26:I3). He seems not to count the cost; in fact, he specifically forbids count­ing the cost. “Do not store up treasures on earth,” he teaches; “do not strive or be afraid—for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke I2:32). All will come of its own accord in good time and with abundant fullness, so long as one does not attempt to hoard or cling.

It is a path he himself walked to the very end. In the gar­den of Gethsemane, with his betrayers and accusers massing at the gates, he struggled and anguished but remained true to his course. Do not hoard, do not cling—not even to life itself. Let it go, let it be-“Not my will but yours be done, 0 Lord.  Into your hands I commend my spirit.”

Thus he came and thus he went, giving himself fully into life and death, losing himself, squandering himself, “gambling away every gift God bestows.” It was not love stored up but love utterly poured out that opened the gates to the Kingdom of Heaven.

Over and over, Jesus lays this path before us. There is nothing to be renounced or resisted. Everything can be embraced, but the catch is to cling to nothing. You let it go. You go through life like a knife goes through a done cake, picking up nothing, clinging to nothing, sticking to nothing. And grounded in that fundamental chastity of your being, you can then throw yourself out, pour yourself out, being able to give it all back, even giving back life itself. That’s the kenotic path in a nutshell. Very, very simple. It only costs everything.

Now, I wouldn’t say that Jesus was the first or the only teach­er in the world ever to have opted for this more reckless and extravagant path, the kenotic way to full union. But it does seem that this was the first time such a teaching had ever been seen in the Near Eastern world, and along with its newness also came confusion. It was a concept so far ahead of its time that even Jesus’s closest disciples couldn’t quite stay with it. They’d catch it and they’d lose it. Paul catches it exactly in his beautiful kenotic hymn, then loses it in the long lists of rules and moral proscrip­tions that dominate his epistles. And as the church took shape as an institution, it could not exceed the wingspan of its first apos­tolic teachers; what they themselves did not fully understand, they could not hope to accurately transmit. Thus, as we will see in the next chapter, right from the start the radical simplicity of Jesus’s kenotic path tends to get roped back into the older and more familiar ascetic models, with a subtle but distinct disso­nance that we will be keeping our eyes on.

“It only costs everything.”  Cynthia’s words in this passage take me back half a century to the awakening phase of my spiritual transformation.  I was in my late twenties, just starting up my chiropractic practice in Denham Springs, Louisiana, eager to give my gift to the world and hungry for patients to serve. The going rate for an office visit back then was $15, up from $5 a decade earlier.  Even with such a low fee, however, I felt restricted and handcuffed by the tradition of a “fee for services.”  What price can one place on health? On life itself? Health is priceless and life is a gift freely given by God to all human beings. It didn’t feel honest for me to place a price tag on my services, so I dropped my fees altogether and placed my services on a “giving basis.”  This launched me into the most rewarding and enjoyable fourteen years of my entire career. (This was before the widely available use of credit cards and insurance coverage of Chiropractic care.)

This way of serving wasn’t original with me but was already being successfully modeled by Dr. William H. Bahan and his brother, Dr. Walter Bahan, up in Derry, NH, who were seeing upwards of a hundred patients a day.  I began attending his seminars and discovering that there were a number of chiropractors practicing on a giving basis. Six years into this new way of serving—called “GPC” for God Patient Chiropractor—I wrote an article for ONTOLOGICAL THOUGHT, a journal of The Ontological Society, while attending an Art of Living Class conducted by the Universal Institute of Applied Ontology (the art of being).  The article is entitled “How Do You Live, Doctor?”  I’ll share it in my next post. Until then,

Be love. Be loved. Be for-giving.

Anthony

tpal70@gmail.com

Kenosis: The Path of Self-Emptying Love

IN THIS SERIES, I will explore the path of “Kenotic Love” as seen through the passionate heart and Christened mind of one of my favorite authors, Episcopal prelate Cynthia Bourgeault, who has rekindled in my heart an ecstatic love for the Man whom Mary Magdalene called “Rabboni”— and who knew her as his Beloved Companion — the romantic story about which I wrote a post back in August, 2018,  The Gospel of the Beloved Companion, which would be a timely read in this day of the rising Divine Feminine. Also my October post Fifth Way Love, A Romantic Path to Transformation.

In this post I will share excerpts from Cynthia’s book THE Wisdom Jesus — Transforming Heart and Mind.  This passage speaks to Jesus’s character and his message to humankind.  Christianity does not teach the Kenotic path that Jesus literally went down.

JUSUS  

There has always been a strong tendency among Christians to turn him into a priest —“our great high priest,” in the powerful metaphor of the New Testament Letter to the Hebrews. The image of Christos Pantokrator (“Lord of All Creation”) dressed in splendid sacramental robes has dominated the iconography of both Eastern and Western Christendom. But Jesus was not a priest. He had nothing to do with the temple hierarchy in Jeru­salem, and he kept a respectful distance from most ritual obser­vances. Nor was he a prophet in the usual sense of the term: a messenger sent to the people of Israel to warn them of impend­ing political catastrophe in an attempt to redirect their hearts to God.

Jesus was not interested in the political fate of Israel, nor would he accept the role of Messiah continuously being thrust upon him. His message was not one of repentance and return to the covenant. Rather, he stayed close to the perennial ground of wisdom: the transformation of human consciousness. He asked those timeless and deeply personal questions: What does it mean to die before you die? How do you go about losing your little life to find the bigger one? Is it possible to live on this planet with a generosity, abundance, fearlessness, and beauty that mir­ror Divine Being itself? These are the wisdom questions, and they are the entire field of Jesus’s concern. If you look for a comparable category today, the closest analogy would probably be the Sufi sheik who wields the threefold functions of wisdom teacher, spiritual elder, and channel for the direct transmission of blessing (baraka), in a fashion closely parallel to Jesus’s himself. The sheik is a distinctly Near Eastern category, and it probably best preserves the mantle that Jesus himself once wore. . . .

In order to go up one must first go all the way down.  For flesh to rise, spirit must first descend.  To ascend, one must fully incarnate.  I love how deeply Cynthia understands the kenotic path Jesus took.  

THE PATH OF KENOTIC LOVE

SO FAR WE have been looking at Jesus as typical of the wisdom tradition from which he comes. An enlightened master recognized by his followers as the Ihidaya, or the Single One, he teaches the art of metanoia, or “going into the larger mind.” Underlying all his teaching is a clarion call to a radical shift in consciousness: away from the alienation and polarization of the egoic operating system and into the unified field of divine abundance that can be perceived only through the heart. But how does one make this shift in consciousness? It’s one thing to admire it from a distance, but quite another to create it within oneself.

This is where spiritual praxis comes into play. “Praxis” means the path, the actual practice you follow to bring about the result that you’re yearning for. I think it’s fair to say that all of the great spiritual paths lead toward the same cen­ter—the emergence of this larger, non dual mind as the seat of personal consciousness—but they get there by different routes. While Jesus is typical of the wisdom tradition in his vision of what a whole and unified human being looks like, the route he lays out for getting there is very different from anything that had ever been seen on the planet up to that point. It is still radical in our own time and definitely the “road less taken” among the various schools of human transformation. I will fill in the pieces of this assertion as I go along, but my hunch is that a good many of the difficulties we sometimes run into trying to make our Christianity work stem from the fact that right from the start people missed how different Jesus’s approach really was. By trying to contain this new wine in old wineskins, they inadver­tently missed its own distinct flavor. In Jesus everything hangs together around a single center of gravity, and you need to know what this center is before you can sense the subtle but cohesive power of the path he is laying out.

What name might we give to this center? The apostle Paul suggests the word kenosis. In Greek the verb kenosein means “to let go,” or “to empty oneself,” and this is the word Paul chooses at the key moment in his celebrated teaching in Philippians 2:9-16 in order to describe what “the mind of Christ” is all about. Here is what he has to say:

Though his state was that of God, yet he did not deem equality with God something he should cling to.

Rather, he emptied himself, and assuming the state of a slave, he was born in human likeness.

He, being known as one of us,
humbled himself, obedient unto death,
even death on the cross.

For this, God raised him on high
and bestowed on him the name
which is above every other name.

So that at the name of Jesus,
every knee should bend in heaven and on earth and under the earth.

And so every tongue should proclaim
“Jesus Christ is Lord!” to God the Father’s glory.’

In this beautiful hymn, Paul recognizes that Jesus had only one “operational mode.” Everything he did, he did by self-emptying. He emptied himself and descended into human form.  And he emptied himself still further (“even unto death on the cross”) and fell through the bottom to return to the realms of dominion and glory. In whatever life circumstance, Jesus always responded with the same motion of self-emptying—or to put it another way, of the same motion of descent: going lower, taking the lower place, not the higher.

What makes this mode so interesting is that it’s almost com­pletely spiritually counterintuitive. For the vast majority of the world’s spiritual seekers, the way to God is “up.” Deeply embed­ded in our religious and spiritual traditions—and most likely in the human collective unconscious itself—is a kind of compass that tells us that the spiritual journey is an ascent, not a descent. Most students of the wisdom tradition consider this upward ori­entation to be one of the foundational attributes of sophia peren­nis itself, its origins no doubt archetypal.  While my own work with the wisdom Jesus has led me to disagree, it is hard to deny that the idea of spiritual ascent has been around for a long, long time. In biblical tradition, the image of the spiritual ladder goes all the way back to the headwaters of the Old Testament, with the story of Jacob’s dream of the ladder going up to heaven. It is probably five thousand years old. Christian monastic tra­dition returned to this image and developed it still further, as essentially the roadmap for the spiritual journey. The seventh century teacher John Climacus (“John of the Ladder”) even took his monastic name from this powerful image, and through his influential teachings it became the underlying philosophy of monastic practices such as lectio divina and psalmody.

Ascent mysticism was very much in the air in Jesus’s time as well. Earlier in this book I spoke of the Essene community, that apocalyptic Jewish sect whose visionary mysticism and ascetic practices were probably the most immediate formative influ­ence on Jesus. At the heart of the Essene understanding was a particular strain of spiritual yearning known as merkevah mysti­cism. Merkevah means “chariot,” an allusion to the Old Testa­ment story of the prophet Elijah being taken up to heaven in a chariot. This dramatic episode offered a vivid image of ascent to God, which the Essenes saw as applying both individually and for the entire people of Israel. “The end of the world was at hand,” and all eyes were gazing intently upward as Jesus took birth on
the earth.

To rise requires energy, in the spiritual realm as well as the physical one. And thus, the vast majority of the world’s spiritual technologies work on some variation of the principle of “conservation of energy.” Within each person there is seen to reside a sacred energy of being (sometimes known as the “chi,” or prana, the life force). This energy, in itself infinite, is measured out to each person in a finite amount and bestowed as our basic working capital when we arrive on this planet. The great spiritual tradi­tions have always taught that if we can contain this energy rather than letting it leach away—if we can concentrate it, develop it, make it more intentional and powerful—then this concentrated energy will allow us to climb that ladder of spiritual ascent. 

This ancient and universal strategy is really at the basis of all genuine asceticism (that is, asceticism in the service of conscious transformation, not as a means of penance or self-mortification). And there is good reason for this: the strategy works. Through the disciplines of prayer, meditation, fasting, and inner witness­ing the seeker learns how to purify and concentrate this inner reserve and to avoid squandering it in physical or emotional lust, petty reactions, and ego gratification. As self-mastery is gradu­ally attained, the spiritual energy concentrated within becomes strong enough and clear enough to sustain contact with those increasingly higher and more intense frequencies of the divine life, until at last one converges upon that unitive point. It’s a coherent and powerful path of inner transformation. But it’s not the only path.

There’s another route to center: a more reckless path and extravagant path, which is attained not through storing up that energy or concentrating the life force, but through throwing it all away-or giving it all away. The unitive point is reached not through the concentration of being but through the free squan­dering of it; not through acquisition or attainment but through self-emptying; not through “up” but through “down.” This is the way of kenosis, the revolutionary path that Jesus introduced into the consciousness of the West.
(to be continued)

THE PRAYER OF ST. FRANCIS

I will leave you to ponder this original prayer of St. Francis, believed to be written by a French Franciscan and based on a little known admonition Francis wrote to his friars, according to James Twyman. 

Where there is charity and wisdom, there is neither fear nor ignorance.

Where there is patience and humility, there is neither anger nor disturbance.

Where there is poverty (simplicity) with gladness, there is neither covetousness nor greed.

Where there is quiet and meditation, there is neither concern nor wandering.

Where there is love of God to guard the house (cf. Lk. 11:21), there the enemy cannot gain entry.

Where there is mercy and discernment, there is neither excess nor severity.

I am deeply thankful to God for life, for health, for serenity of mind and peace of heart.  I am particularly thankful at this time of harvest when we celebrate Thanksgiving for the abundance of Mother Nature as she clothes the trees with new leaves in the wake of devastating hurricanes.  I am profoundly thankful for my companion in life, Bonnie Lee, and for all our family on the West Coast.  Thank you, Lord, for the gift of their presence in our life and in our world.  To my readers and blog followers, a heartful appreciation for traveling with me these past several rich years of sharing the meditations of my heart.  I always enjoy your responses.  Until my next post,

Be love. Be loved. Be Thankful

Anthony

tpal70@gmail.com

“When Love Is The Way. . . .”

“If Humanity ever captures the energy of Love, it will be the second time in history that we have discovered fire.”

Bishop Michael Curry of the American Episcopal Church, spoke these words at the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Princess Meghan Markle at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle.  (The clip is only 13.5 minutes)

In a message, which took to church not only those in attendance at the royal wedding of Britain’s Prince Harry, 33, and American actress Meghan Markle, 36, on Saturday — but millions watching from across the world — Bishop Michael Bruce Curry preached on the “redemptive power of love.”

Curry, the first African-American presiding bishop of the American Episcopal Church encouraged all receiving his message to discover the power of love to make of “this old world a new world.”

For many, his impassioned sermon — punctuated with themes of politics, social justice, civil rights and quotes from Martin Luther King Jr. and the controversial Catholic theologian Pierre Teilhard de Chardin — was a highlight of the historic matrimonial ceremony.  (NPR via KRVS)

Bishop Curry, with all the passionate emotions of his African-American heritage, preaching to a stiff-upper-lip British congregation, appeared to make many uncomfortable, but not without giving jovial response to his occasional wit and humor.  My response was one of awe and deep appreciation for this powerful, clarion voice sounding in the wilderness of a world gone mad.  I will read his recently released book LOVE IS THE WAY.  This man is a modern day disciple who has received the power promised and already given by Jesus to all of Humanity, waiting no longer to be received and released into the world.  He among others are doing it with full voice. 

Of course I disagree with the bishop where he puts the traditional Christian spin and rationale on the crucifixion and sacrificial death of the man in which the Lord of Love incarnated.  Let’s call it what it was in fact: a futile attempt to extinguish the Light of the World by those to whom he brought and gave the Power to Love one another.  It was an abomination; a slap in the face of God . . . and it did not have to happen. This beautiful prayer he spoke with his Heavenly Father tells us that his work on earth was finished well before his crucifixion.  In his own words taken from the Red Letter Edition of my King James Bible:  

“Father . . . . I have glorified thee on earth: I have finished the work which thou gaveth me to doAnd now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were and thou gaveth them me; and they have kept thy word. Now they have known all things whatsoever thou gaveth me are of thee. For I have given unto them the words which thou gaveth me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee and they have believed that thou didst send me. I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them. And now I am no longer in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. (John 17:5)

That was His work. And He had already finished it and ascended back to his Father from whence He had come.  The crucifixion was not part of the plan of salvation.  Christianity made it so by projecting it heavenward.  It was not by shedding His blood that salvation was given to humanity; but by shining the Light of His Father’s Love and revealing Him on Earth through his living example.  What a mockery has been made of his life and purpose for incarnating in the world of mankind.          

Other than that, the bishop’s powerfully delivered message struck a joyful chord of agreement in my heart:  

“Someone once said that Jesus began the most revolutionary movement in human history.  A movement grounded in the unconditional love of God for the world – and a movement mandating people to live that love, and in so doing to change not only their lives but the very life of the world itself.  I’m talking about power. Real power. Power to change the world.”

I personally have much to take to heart in his sermon.  I feel the love in my heart for humanity, for those in my immediate world—my family and close friends.  But what about my expression of love?  When those close to me tell me they don’t feel my love, it gives me pause.  Is my heart closed to the world and to those in my world?  I know that my heart is ecstatically open upward to my Lord, especially while sharing His healing love in my attunement service.  Is not that enough?  Apparently not.  I don’t go around saying “I love you” like I see many doing, almost habitually.  It just doesn’t feel genuine to me; not my style. I feel that my actions of generosity and service are sufficient, my smile and acts of kindness; my doing unto others that which I would that they should do unto me.  Is not living the Golden Rule an adequate expression of love?

A fire burns with increasing intensity in my heart these days, and at times bursts forth in anger at certain provocations.  Impatience with the ugly, idiotic and thoughtless behavior in my world and in the larger uncivilized world, particularly during these last few weeks of political upheaval with our presidential elections. 

As I watch the election coverage, I am in awe of the way American democracy is working.  Samantha said recently on The Today Show “We can agree to disagree. But we don’t have to hate one another.” That tone of hate which sounded for four years has drawn out the worst of us.  A new tone has today begun sounding at the top of our nation’s leadership, and it is already drawing out the best of us.  It’s all about resonance, isn’t it? 

At times, I seem to have misplaced my sense of compassion and empathy with the world.  I know it’s simply purification of my heart, and the heart of humanity, from which none of us can extract ourselves.  And I know that this, too, shall pass. Let it be quick and painless, Lord.  Not for my sake, but that none should perish, but come to know peace and the eternal wonder of Life.  And Life is truly wonderful! 

Can you imagine how wonderful it must have been in Eden before we fell to this low level of mere “survival of the fittest,” as we say of the animal kingdom ?!  Cannot the power of Love re-create Eden on Earth through us today?  A possible direction to go in with my next post. Your thoughts?  Until my next post,

Be love.  Be loved.

Anthony

tpal70@gmail.com

 

 

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