Tuesday, October 20, 2015

METANOIETE II



              Metanoiete II
               
At the very beginning of the public ministry of the Jew, Yeshua, as he came down from the hills of Galilee to the seaside, he is quoted as saying to his soon to be followers:
    
     “The present moment is the right time.
     Change the way you think [“Μετανοιετε”!]
     for the Kingdom of God is
     WITHIN["ηγγικεν"]you. 
     Believe this ‘good news’" [Mk.1:14-16]

For saying this, this man ultimately was laughed at, ridiculed, accused of madness, rejected by his fellow Jews, by his neighbours, by his family and ultimately accused of treason as an enemy to Caesar, found guilty by a compromised jury of his peers, beaten, crucified and killed on a cross.

Two thousand years later I have come to believe what he said. Through reading and prayer, I have come to believe much more. From the guidance and teaching of Father Thomas Keating, OCSO, I have come to believe not only that God is within me, but also that I am within God, and furthermore,  that I am God inasmuch as a human can be by Divine grace.

All of my Catholic teaching indicates to me that I should bite my lip before saying those words because saying them makes me a heretic. It is only through contemplative prayer, far beyond understanding, and far beyond simple faith, is the realization that the entire Cosmos is God’s manifestation of Himself, the Word of God. The two, Father and Son, are One in the union of the Holy Spirit, and we, through God’s Grace, are created to be participants in this Divine Menage a Trois.
Thus, every breath we take, every move we make, is a participation in God’s own life. God indwells each and every one of us, in the sameway,and thus
   
  “Whatsoever you do to the least of these my
   brothers you do it to me!” [Mt.25:40]

We are literally surrounded by God, swimming in God, and invaded by God at every present moment of our lives. For us to “live in the present moment", in the here and now, in this small activity in which we are engaged, is to be living in the Grace-filed life of God. God is closer to us than we are to ourselves, it just takes a whole life sometimes to begin to appreciate it; sometimes longer.

It doesn’t have to be in a Church or while on our knees or while even being aware of it, it just IS the way things are. As Jesus said, “The present moment is the right time.” This is why Zen and Christian contemplative prayer speak so to each other. The word “GOD” that we have invented to talk about what lies within and without all of us, IS the Tao described in the opening verse of the great spiritual classic of the East, the Tao Te Ching:
   
   “The Tao that can be spoken is not the
    eternal Tao.
   The name that can be named is not the

    eternal name.
   The nameless is the origin of Heaven and

    Earth.
   The named is the mother of myriad things
   Thus, constantly without desire, one

    observes its essence.
   Constantly with desire, one observes its
    manifestations.
   These two emerge together but differ in

    name
   The unity is said to be the mystery
   Mystery of mysteries, the door to all

    wonders.”

Much as Christianity chooses to try to describe God’s Word in our feeble attempts:

           “In the beginning was the Word
           And the Word was with God
                    And the Word was God.
           (The Word) was in the beginning with God
          All things began through Him
          And without Him
          Became nothing which has become.
          In Him was life
          And the life was the light of men.
          And the light shines in the darkness,
          And the darkness could not comprehend it.
          It was the true light that which enlightens
                    every man coming into the cosmos.
          He was in the cosmos,
          And the cosmos began through Him
          And the cosmos did not know Him.
          To His own He came,
          And His own did not receive Him.
          But as many as received Him,
          He gave them the right
          To become the children of God.
           And the Word became a human
          And pitched His tent with us.
          And we beheld His glory,
          Glory as of an only begotten from a Father
          Full of grace and of truth.
          No man has ever seen God,
          The only begotten of God,
          Being in the Heart of the Father
          He has proclaimed Him.”
                                                                  [Jn. 1:1 ff]
                                                           
                                                                  Charlie Mc