ACT YOUR NATURE!

In one of my more lively Lectio Divina meditations (Phil 2:5), the thought came to me to act my nature. What an out-in-left=field thought! Especially at this season of Holy Week 2018, what in the world could that mean?

I have actually had this thought before and I think I put it in my book series entitled Spiritual Apes, but I am not positive. At 78 years of age, I am not positive abut anything except about the need to use the restroom frequently. Here are my thoughts on acting your nature. This is not my typical blog– it is very long.

WHAT IS NATURE?

You have heard of the Laws of Nature, and natural medicine, but this has to do with the very essence of what it means to be.  This subject of Nature, like all ideas about philosophy and religion, takes on a multiple layer of meaning, depending on the assumptions held by the one defining it. Read the reference in New Advent on “nature” to find out the complexity of this subject. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10715a.htm

For my part, I gravitate towards a more simple exaplanation of nature, rather than the more historical approach of disecting it to death. Nature, in my view of reality had to do with being, a class of existing. As I learned it, reality has three categories of nature, divine, human, and animal. These three are separate and distinct. I based my notion of three universes on this concept. The notion of three natures might seem insignifcant at first glance, but it is at the very center of the plan of salvation, the story of Genesis, The Resurrection that we commemorate this week, and our own journey to Forever.

DIVINE NATURE — God’s nature is to be. In God’s own words, “I am who I am” (Exodus 3:14) Unlike the family of gods on Mt. Olympus, the divine nature is just beyond our limited ability to grasp it and contain it. We call it a mystery, the same way the early Hebrews thought of God living on the highest levels of a mountain, covered in mists and clouds.

I have come to think of it as pure energy, or energy that is alive, 100% of its nature. If God is pure energy, then we can’t touch it without frying our neurons. It is beyond dark matter and energy, above the theories that seek to unifiy all reaity into one, and so simple that it just is, or as some call it, the Alpha and Omega. Humans do not and cannot live in this level, we who are just bound to this one gassy rock in space and time. We have not found if there is anyone else out there, although our intelligence says it is possible (See the Drake Equation). https://www.seti.org/drakeequation. The problem for me is that the language of mathematics and physics are limited languages and only describe what they see. They are the best tools we have to see the universe, but one of matter, time, space, and energy.

Divine nature means God lives in pure energy, energy that is living, the product of the love of the Father for the Son and the Holy Spirit. God has one nature, divine, but there are three persons within that nature, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The reality is much greater than the feeble attempts to use human words to describe that which cannot be contained within the human experience. In a few moments, we will look at six scenarios that reflect the nature of God. We can describe them but not define them. We don’t know enough. The concept of mystery is essential to any attempts to describe God.  Far from being untrue, mystery penetrates to the deepest levels of our humanity as

HUMAN NATURE – Divine nature can create human nature and animal nature but not the other way around.  Adam and Eve discovered this the hard way. Humans have always wanted to be god. In fact, it is the strongest desires we humans have, with sexuality being a close second. There is a reason God put not being our own god as the First Command. More on that later.

Genesis is a marvelous story about what it means to be human. This archetypal ancient myth of relationship with God and then losing it because of disobedience and wanting to be god, brought sin into the world. We say all people are born with Original Sin and Baptism cleanes us from that sin of Adam and Eve and establishes our new covenant with God, one written in our hearts (Jeremiah 31:31). Man is good in our nature, not evil. Matter is good not evil but the effects of Original Sin are that matter deteriorates and will not live forever. We just die, even though we try as hard as we can to prolong life.

Christ came to save us from death and it is in that moment that all humanity has a chance to live forever, as God intended. Intrinsic to being human is the ability to choose. The integrity of being human has to do with using reason and obedience to God being God and Humans being Human.  Easter is a time to celebrate victory over death, that Christ, the Second Adam, conquered sin (Original Sin) and allowed us to be adopted sons and daughters of the Father, if we choose. Choosing has reponsibiities. We are not god. We must be obedient to the will of the Father, as Christ taught us. We must not be led into the temptation of hinking that, just because we are free to choose anything, anything we choose corresponds to God’s will. Human nature is obedient to Divine nature, not the other way around.

Something happened to Human Nature when a young Jewish maiden said “yes” to the invitation by God to be the mother of His Son, Jesus Christ. The divine nature, once more, reached down in time to give humanity a chance to be what was originally intended in the Garden of Eden. Jesus was like us in all things but sin. He had no Original Sin but accepted the human condition, feeling pain, being hungry, getting angry, temptations to be god (notice the lower case), and finally to die. All of this I read each time I do my Lectio Divina because my only reading is Philippians 2:5. Now, human nature has two natures in the person of Christ, both divine and human. There is no other human who has this duality. The Scriptures tell us that God overshadowed Mary with the Holy Spirit and she will full of grace. Mary was the number one human, in terms of changing time, but she was not God, i.e., having a divine nature.

Man’s nature is to find the purpose of life, find his or her purpose in life, discover the scope of reality, learn how it all fits together, learn the meaning of fierce love, and learn how to live…Forever.  The nature of man, that for which we were created is to know, love, and serve God in this life, and be happy with Him in the next. We are not just humans like the animals, but spiritual apes, our destiny being Heaven. Christ helps us to fulfill what it means to be human, making up for us what Adam destroyed. (Romans 5)

Because Christ is both God and man, he can make atonement for the sin of Adam and Eve. He give himself up totally, even to death on a cross, to buy back what was lost, to open the gates of Paradise again, to allow us to be adopted sons and daughters in good standing. He makes all things new. When Adam and Eve sinned, their offense was measured by the one offended, in this case, someone from our human nature offended someone from the divine nature. To reoncile with the one offended would take someone from the divine nature to become human to say they are sorry. That is called the reparation hyothesis. Read Romans 5: 12-21 for St. Paul’s take on this comparison between Adam and Christ.

The nature of a human is to be what he or she is supposed to be, determined by the one who made us. Because of Original Sin, our default, human nature, we cannot move to the Spiritual Universe without washing away the stain of sin. Christ came to take away the sin of the world (not just sins), Original Sin. When we are baptized with water, it cleanes us symbolically from the act of disobedience by Adam and Eve, but it does not take away the effects of sin. We must still die, suffer pain, go through temptation, suffer bad days as well as have good days, and seek to find meaning and purpose in a world that is not our natural state. The Kingdom of Heaven is the state where we are and are headed, not the world. Chapter 5 of Galatians speaks to this state and how we must use the Holy Spirit to rise above our normal, default nature. That is why I wrote my three volumes entitled Spiritual Apes to attrempt to show how man, wounded by the disobedience of Adam and Eve can rise to new life with Jesus’s passion, death, and resurrection. This return to the Father to atone for our collective disobedience completes the obedience of the Son to His Father, prepared since the beginning of time itself.

Sin, or missing the purpose of our nature, is not acting our nature. Adam and Eve tried to act as God with disasterous consequencee. When we commit certain sins, not consistent with our human nature but more in common with our animal nature, then we do not act our nature but rather act as an animal. That is called sin, or missing the purpose of our nature. Componding the intricasy of the action, is the fact that Jesus became one of us by not acting his nature, or divine status, but taking on the nature of a sinful human. If we did that, it would be like one of us becoming an animal, such as a dog, in our nature (not just acting like one) because of love in order to allow all dogs to go to heaven. Read Philippians 2:5-12.

Sin is like having a hole in your boat of life. Water keeps coming in unless you plug the leak. If you can’t find the leak or fix it, then you must bail out the water…forever. Christ is the plug, the patch that makes all boats new again. We won’t get there without work, thanks to the sin of Adam and Eve, but equally thanks be to God, we have a living patch to help us until we reach the far shore of Heaven with Christ.

As a Lay Cistercian, I am becoming more and more aware that I am more like Adam and Eve than I thought. I have terrible temptations to place me at the center of my life and it is a struggle to be not just human but spiritual, the purpose for which I was created. I went through a stage that, if I read the Bible over and over, I would not have such a diffitult time loving Christ with all my heart, my mind, and my strength, and to love my neighbor as myself.  I now realize that it is not the number of prayers you say or how many prayers you can say in a day, but how you love others as Christ loved us, that is the norm for my spirituality. The Cistercian practices and charisms, especially humility, obedience to visible authority that is not me, hospitality to others, and daily prayer to the Father that I not be delivered into templation, all make up where I am now in my spiritual journey.

ANIMAL NATURE — Animals, indeed the rest of human life, are not human. They do not know that they know. You can’t ask a dog to join you for coffee next Thursdays and expect that he will show up. You can”t count on a monkey to cook Duck la’orange.  Why is that?  The nature of an animal is to be what it is.  You can related to a tree as a living entity says Martin Buber, renowned Jewish philosopher and creator of the “I-Thou and I-It” approach to relationship. You just have to let the tree be a tree and you be you. You can’t make the tee into something it is not.

http://www.sparknotes.com/philosophy/iandthou/summary/

On this Easter, Morning Prayer Psalms states in the Canticle of Daniel, Chapter 3.

Bless the Lord, all you works of the Lord. 
Praise and exalt him above all forever.
Angels of the Lord, bless the Lord. 
You heavens, bless the Lord.
All you waters above the heavens, bless the Lord.  
All you hosts of the Lord, bless the Lord.
Sun and moon, bless the Lord.
Stars of heaven, bless the Lord.

I have had a problem with “Stars of the heavens” blessing the Lord.  How can the world of matter and time, energy and elements all praise the Lord?  They do so by being what they were created to be, fulfilling their destiny, even though inanimate.  Animal nature praises God by being what they were intended to be. Can we humans do no less? For someone to act according to our animal nature instead of our human nature is called sin. We revert back to our animal roots and heritage. Humans do not have an animal nature because God raised us up beyond acting like an animal.

Ever wonder why humans alone are the only ones in the whole universe with reason, the ability to reflect on matter, time, and energy and ask why, how, when, where, and what? Our destiny is one that was originally set to last forever except for the sin of Adam and Eve. Christ restores the convenant relation with God to such an extent that we become heirs of God’s kingdom.  It is with this enthusiasm and mindset that the Easter Pascal Mystery proclaims, “O Happy Fault” of Adam and Eve. The joy of the Resurrection is real and on-going as members of the Church Universal (one, holy, catholic, apostolic). It is why we call it the GOOD news, why we will give up all we have and follow Christ, why we try to love God with all our minds, all our hearts, all our strength, and our neighbor as ourselves. (Deuteronomy 6 and Matthew 22:37). The Resurrection is the nuclear fission of our spiritual journey, producing energy from our interface with the heart of Christ Jesus.

Animals don’t go to heaven. It is not their nature, but it is your nature.  Before you get all bent out of shape, realize that you have the power, just like Jesus has with you, to bring your pets, indeed anything that you link to the will of the Father, to heaven with you. It is only in, with, and through Christ that any of us can live forever. John 11:25-28 gives us a hint of  the path to forever.  Jesus has come to console Mary and Martha over the death of their brother, Lazarus. He teaches them: “I am the resurrection and the life.[f] Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” 27 She said to him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah,[g] the Son of God, the one coming into the world.”  At this celebration of our salvation, Jesus is reminding us that, we too, must prepare our hearts to live forever.

RULES OF NATURE (BEING)

Think about the three levels of nature (divine, human, animal). One is higher than the other. Animals are not human, whatever you define that to be.  There is a reason ontongy recapitulates philogeny. Animals may be living but they are not sentient, they do not know that they know.  Animals do not automatically get to heaven.

http://2000clicks.com/graeme/langwisdomsayingontogenyrecapitulatesphylogeny.htm

Humans do not automatically get to heaven, either, but with the exception that we have a choice. One of the reasons for Baptism, other than being adopted by God, is that it takes away Original Sin, into which all humans are born because of the sin of Adam and Eve. The reason we have reason, seems to me to be because we can realize our future and prepare now to live Forever. Humans are not animals. God is neither human nor animal in nature, but has three distinct persons (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). All is these concepts are for humans so that they can at least have some notion of who God is. One of the reasons God had to become man is because He loved us so much he had to explain to humanity how to seek first the kindgom of heaven so that the priorities are correct. God’s nature is so far beyond our true understanding and comprehension that we must use imprecise words like “nature” and “person” to describe the love that is a person, three persons, to be exact.  Here are a few “rules” that may help (or confuse you) explain the levels of nature.

Each level of nature is autonomous and the lower one cannot move higher to the next one. What sounds like a mouthful of marbles means we can be god by adoption, and animals cannot be us. Adam and Eve tried to move up to this level and offended God (a concept used so that our poor human understanding can make sense of it). That is the archetypal sin of Adam and Eve and one that is number one even in our own time. “You are not me; I am not you; God is not you, and you, most certainly, are not God.” ==Michael F. Conrad

So, how can we get to heaven? Here is what happened. God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son to be one of us. (John 3:15-18; Philippians 2:5-12) Jesus is both God AND man. As such, he apologized to the Father for the sin of Adam and Eve (Romans 5) and allowed all of us to have the possibiiity of moving to the Kingdom of Heaven.  Heaven is God’s playground and He can allow anyone He wants to play there. We are of human nature but God has adopted us to be sons and daughters and heir of the Kingdom, such was His love for us. Jesus only give us one command: love one another as I have loved you.  Of course, that is everything there is.

God did not make the animals heirs of the Kingdom. God did not make the angels divine nature. St. Paul writes in Hebrews, 1:

The Son Is Superior to Angels

For to which of the angels did God ever say,

“You are my Son; today I have begotten you”?

Or again,

“I will be his Father, and he will be my Son”?

And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says,

“Let all God’s angels worship him.”

Of the angels he says,

“He makes his angels winds,
    and his servants flames of fire.”

But of the Son he says,

“Your throne, O God, is[c] forever and ever,
    and the righteous scepter is the scepter of your[d] kingdom.
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
therefore God, your God, has anointed you
    with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”

10 And, “In the beginning, Lord, you founded the earth, 

and the heavens are the work of your hands; 11 they will perish, but you remain;     they will all wear out like clothing; 12 like a cloak you will roll them up,     and like clothing[e] they will be changed.

But you are the same, and your years will never end.”

13 But to which of the angels has he ever said,

“Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet

In Baptism, God lifts us up from our human nature to be able to live forever in Heaven, even though we are not God. Jesus is God. Jesus is our Mediator. Jesus lifts all things up to Himself …Forever. This is how the three types of nature interact with each other. In the divine plan of salvation, thee resurrecction from the dead means we have the HOPE to live Forever. Therefore, as a Lay Cistercian, looking at all of these ideas about resurrection, salvation, adoption, love, sacrifice, and deeth, I want to focus on loving God with all  my heart, all my mind, all my strength, and my neighbor as myself. (Deuteronomy 6 and Mattthew 22:37).

With this season feast of our salvation and adoption as sons and daughters, we once more  place our hearts next to the heart of Jesus and humbly ask God to have mercy on us, grateful that God has graced us with his blessings and energy.

SIX WAYS TO APPLY NATURE TO HOW I VIEW REALITY

I always like to apply the principle to examples that flow from it. When I do Lectio Divina on Philippians 2:5-12, I grow deeper and deeper into the way in which all things fit together to God’s glory. It is no wonder that St. Thomas Aquinas said, when asked about all the great things he had learned about God, “All of this is so much straw, compared to what it really is.” Praise be to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and forever. The God who is, who was, and who is to come at the end of the ages. Amen and Amen. –Cistercian doxology.

The following thoughts are about how nature influences my thinking on certain topics, such as:

  • The purpose of life
  • The purpose of my life
  • What reality looks like
  • How it all fits together
  • How I can love fiercely.
  • How to die well.

If you want additional thoughts on these six questions everyone must answer before they die, I wrote a book entitled, Six Thesholds of Life. You will find it in the Store section of this blog.

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF LIFE? —

The purpose of life for an animal is to be what it is, to live,procreate, sustain itself, then die. The purpose of life for a human is to act its nature, to be born, live, find authentic love, discover meaning then die. For one who chooses to be an adopted son or daughter of the Father, it is all the above plus, to love God with all our heart. our minds, our strength and our neighbor as ourself. For God, the purpose of life is to be who he is. Because the higher nature created the lower natures, the purpose of life must be one consistent with who God is. It is God’s playground and He sets he laws. We did not create the animals, the divine nature did.

WHAT IS MY PURPOSE OF MY LIFE? —

Animals don’t get to choose what their nature is. Humans can choose between being god or choosing to do God’s will.  The center of your life is that which, if you took it away, everything else would fall. It is the one principle upon which your future is based, the ground of your being, the reason life makes sense. For me, it is Phil. 2:5. I realize I won’t know everything all at once and that meaning fill unfold for me as I realize all the linkages to everything else that is. Jesus, being both divine and human, gave me a pathway to follow. I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, Jesus tells those who love him. Follow me and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart. Meekness here does not mean weakness but the realization that my pupose is in tune with God’s purpose.This is called resonance rather than the way the world thinks which is called disconnance.

When the late Stephen Hawking looks out at the totality of all that is, he uses his immense intellect and lifetime of learning to measure what is and speculate on what could be. When I look out at reality, with my poor knowledge of everything, hoping that the words of the Word to us are true, I use not my own feelings and intellectual linkages of all that is but that of Christ, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. It takes the pressure off of me to unlock the door of my destiny. The divine nature is the measurement for all of reality (physical, mental, and spiritual) and not mathematics, physics, chemistry, even logic. The true measurement of God is Philippians 2:5, the emptying of self, not clinging to the divine, choosing the chaos of Original Sin, although there is no sin in the divine nature. For this reason, every knee must bend in the heavens, on the earth, and all creation to the glory of the Father. What a wonderful inspiration for we humans, caught in the depths of our own fantasies, to save us from ourselves and open the door to Forever.

WHAT DOES REALITY LOOK LIKE?

Reality for the divine nature is eing 100% of divine nature. God is one. With God, there is no past, no future, only present. With God, there is no two, only one. With God there is a tick but no tock. God lives in the eternal now, existing with pure energy, pure knowledge, pure love, and pure service. God is love. Having said all of this, anything we can do to describe God must be done through Christ because Christ is God. He came to SHOW us how to live our lives in such a way that we have a chance of living in the eternal NOW with God. No one has seen the Father but the Son, or anyone to whom the Son has reavealed him. (Matthew 11:27)  In my thinking, Christ gave us a glimps of God. We can’t see God but we can see Christ. Christ is both divine nature and human nature, the only one is all of reality who can tell us what we can’t see. Christ told us only one thing we must do, “love one another as I have loved you.” Everything we do is built to support that command, the one command that comes from God, the one command that comes from Christ. As a Lay Cistercian seeking God in all that I do each day, the Rule of St. Benedict, Chapter 4, Tools for Good Works, helps me to measure myself against the Life of Christ. I always come up short and in need of conversion of life, each day. I am happy to say with St. Paul in Philippians 3:8-26:

New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)

More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ,[a] the righteousness from God based on faith. 10 I want to know Christ[b] and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, 11 if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

Pressing toward the Goal

12 Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal;[c] but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Beloved,[d] I do not consider that I have made it my own;[e] but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly[f] call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let those of us then who are mature be of the same mind; and if you think differently about anything, this too God will reveal to you. 16 Only let us hold fast to what we have attained.

17 Brothers and sisters,[g] join in imitating me, and observe those who live according to the example you have in us. 18 For many live as enemies of the cross of Christ; I have often told you of them, and now I tell you even with tears. 19 Their end is destruction; their god is the belly; and their glory is in their shame; their minds are set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship[h] is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. 21 He will transform the body of our humiliation[i] that it may be conformed to the body of his glory,[j] by the power that also enables him to make all things subject to himself.

  • The effects of having a human nature is that I must pray that I not enter into templation each day.
  • Each day, I must read the Tools for Good Works in the Rule of St. Benedict and pray that I might be converted to do just a little bit better than before. Some days I advance, some days I regress.
  • Each day, I must remind myself that heaven is my destiny.
  • Each day, I must reaffirm that I profess nothing to the love of Christ.
  • Each day, I must take up my cross and try to follow Christ. I do not have a Simon of Cyrene to help me carry it but I do have my Lay Cistercian faith community and the monks to support my efforts, when I join with them in Eucharist and Liturgy of the Hours.
  • Each day, as part of my human nature, I seek to find the meaning of love, exemplified by the Magnificat of Mary to the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit, and fortified by the blood of martyrs, such as the Seven Cistercian Martyrs of Our Lady of Atlas.  http://www.lovingjustwise.com/martyrdom.htm If you get a chance, look up this inspiring story, one that says a lot about our noble, human nature.

For some, reality is only what you can see and measure. That is part of it, but only one part. There are three parts to reality, all three distinct, all three needing to have their own instruments of measurement. Divine nature is beyond all three universes yet all three universes are linked by the divine. The Father is creator of all matter, all time, all that is. All nature glories the Father by being. It is only humans who disobeyed the order of nature and wanted to be God. We place all humans in the archetype of Adam and Eve, but it is much more complex and mysterious that just a story. It tells of what it means to live in our reality but it also says that there is a part of reality that is invisible beyond measurement, beyond physical energy, that of the energy of pure love. God just is. The equation for God is 3=1.

Acting your nature as an animal is being consistent with who you are, in this case, an animal. You are not human. The gulf between human nature and animal nature is wide. The gulf between God and man is too great for man alone to bridge the divide. One of the reasons Christ had to come to earth as one of us is this: the bridge builder between God and man. Jesus became one of us so that we could be with God Forever, but consitent with our nature. We are not God.  We do not have divine nature, even though our human nature has been adopted by God so that we could be heirs of the kingdom of heaven.

Perhaps in a billion or so years, when science has developed the capacity to formulate the energy of God into the equation of reality, we might begin to have a glimmer of what is. Right now, we use Faith (the trust that the words of Christ to us are true in John 11:21-26. Trust or Hope is all we have, but, like the command for us to love our neighbor as ourself, it is all there is.

HOW DOES REALITY ALL FIT TOGETHER?

Once I have begun to discover the ramifications of what reality looks like, how can I makes sense of it all? In my Lectio Divina, I thought about several things to help make all reality one.

THERE IS BUT ONE REALITY WITH THREE DISTINCT UNIVERSES, PHYSICAL, MENTAL, AND SPIRITUAL.

  • I don’t stay up at night wondering about how all of this fits together.
  • I do know that there is but one truth, one which is the same for science, philosophy and spirituality.
  • I do know that there is a difference of thinking in science and that we are only beginning to explore the realm of quantum mechanics (micro reality) and how it interacts with relativity (macro reality).
  • I am not smart enough to know how this is, but all signs point to the future that we will move beyond what we know now to something more profound in the future.
  • Spiritual universe is in constant interaction with the physical and mental ones. All are one, interacting with each other. The measurements each universe are different and the realities very different. I know that not all spiritual systems lend themselves to such adaptation. Not all thinking leads to the truth. Humans have reason for a reason. Not all humans have the same discernment of the mystery of life. Their conclusions are therefore at odds with the truth.
  • Christ tells us he is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. The problem is, not everyone has principles of spirituality that agree on what that is.

EVERYTHING RELATES TO EVERYTHING ELSE

In trying to come up with one theory of all that is, the mistake people make is in assuming that all realiy is just what we can see, such as physics and the Grand Unified Theory (GUT). I am not a physicists and don’t pretend to know how this plays out over time. What I do hold is that all of these attempts to unify reality into one theory that explains how thing are miss the point because reality is not just matter, time, space and energy, but have a dimension not considered, spirituality. Unless you capture the totality of reality, you are only looking at part of the elephant, like the blind men of India describing an elephant https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory_of_everything  Unlike some people who try to limit science, I think we are on the right path of discovery but lack the ability to see and meausure all that is.  I think you can measure what is spiritual, but it demands assumptions not universally accepted, and probably never will be. The principle with which I measure spirituality is the Christ Principle, the energy of love, but not human love. This love is essentially unmeasureable, the energy of God. We can tap into it through the Church and the interactions of our hearts with the heart of Christ but it is a mystery. A mystery is the deepest part of our human experience, just beyond our ability to see it clearly. We see it as though looking through a foggy window. This is part of the reason I like to use the haunting photo of a cup in the frame of a foggy window. I know there is something on the other side of the window because Christ tells me it is so, but I can’t describe it scientifically. I know that it makes sense, based on the historical context of the Resurrection and the fulfillment of human nature. 1 Corinthians 13:12.

For me, I am content to know that everything fits together because God is one and I am one with God through the Christ Principle. Without the Resurrection from the dead and ascension to the Father, none of this matters, and we, like the animals, live, eat, procreate, grow old, and then die. I am more than an animal.  Our natural state, for those who choose, is now a Spiritual Ape, not merely human, but living in the world but not destined to be there…Forever. All of this has to do with Hope, as in Philippians 3:18-21.

HOW TO LOVE FIERCELY?

This fifth question each person must ask themselves does not only end up with the correct answer. There is only one correct answer. Adam and Eve took the test and failed to pass. Christ took the test and passed because, in part, he is not only the question but the answer to the meaning of what is fierce love.

ENERGY AS THE ONE CONSTANT IN ALL THREE UNIVERSES

When I do my Lectio Divina on Phil. 2:5, one thing always strikes me. This is love, not as a human would have it using human nature, it is divine love, love that comes from God’s nature, 100% of his nature. It is the love of the Trinity for each other, love that is infinite, energy that would fry our neurons if we even could approach it, like we would do if we got closer to the Sun. This is the pure energy of love, that of which Pierre de Chardin spoke about in his writings, The Phenomenon of Man.

A few website you might like to access to learn more about this phenominal person.  https://teilhard.com/about-me/ and, http://www.teilharddechardin.org/

“The day will come when, after harnessing space, the winds, the tides, and gravitation, we shall harness for God the energies of love. And on that day, for the second time in the history of the world, we shall have discovered fire.” From “Toward the Future,” 1936, XI, 86-87

We, who are of merely a human nature, cannot appreciate the fierce love God has for us. We don’t possess the capability or the capacity to have pure knowledge in our minds. Christ is our mediator, a filter, a capacitor that allows us to get a glimps of the mystery of faith. It is a glimps that I may have had a couple of times when I was in the fourth stage of Lectio Divina, contemplatio. All I can remember is a strange feeling of peace and contentment, one where I did not struggle to believe, a place of happiness at just being in the presence of Being. This is one of the reasons I want to be  a Lay Cistercian and continue to explore the practices and charisms of the Strict Observance Cistercians (Trappists).  This is one of the reasons I selected Philippians 2:5, “…have in you the mind of Christ Jesus,” as my purpose in life.

For me, the only constant in all three universes (physical, mental, and spiritual) is energy. It takes a different form in each universe depending on its nature.

SPIRITUAL UNIVERSE:  energy– this is the energy of love, a sign of contradiction with the physical and mental universes, a cloud of unknowing rather than knowing, the emptying of being God to take on the nature of a servant, the death and resurrection of Christ to show the depth of His love, the gentleness of overshadowing Mary with love without killing her human nature, the infinite mercy of God to deal with humans who constantly rebell against what is truth. This is the Law of God.

MENTAL UNIVERSE: Human energy — this is energy of a world that exists  in both pysical and mental universes under the influence of Original Sin, a place where we must struggle to learn and build up our knowledge of what is, how to live with each other without killing each other off, struggle with our purpose in life, having reason to be able to choose what is. Human energy is the power of the human mind to learn, but also the collective knowledge of those who have gone before us and wondered about why things are. This is the Law of Human Reason.

PHYSICAL UNIVERSE-  Natural energy — this is the energy that exists both as humans affect the nature world, as in knowing more about medicine and improving our ability to fight diseases, but also the energy that exists in nature not affected by humans, such as the natural progression os what is in planets, galaxacies, and also in matter, times, and energy itself. This is the Law of Nature. Everything is born and dies.

Energy, each universe having part of the one continuum, has energy. Being divine in nature, God is above the mental and animal natures. God can influence human history through Christ, his Mother, the Apostles, and, not the least of all, us.

WHAT HAPPENS TO US WHEN WE DIE?

This is at the heart of the Resurrection moment, the end result of Jesus going through all that suffering and betrayal, the fulfillment of what God started in the Garden of Eden. God wants all of us, all of us, to have a chance to live Forever. Humans, just using human nature and animal nature could not achieve that. It took God’s emptying himself to take on our nature that allowed Christ to teach us and show us how to prepare ourselves for what Heaven is like.

Humans are not designed for Heaven, which is why Jesus had to become one of us to show us how to prepare to live Forever. Forever is not among the experiences or concepts we can fully appreciate. We do not know what living in an eternal NOW is like. We can’t even manage space travel without unknown consequences, much less live in a place where all there is, is all there is, without space, time, and matter. It is remarkable that anyone would even want to go there at al, much less give up their lives and die to get there. This is the sign of contradiction at work again.

Are you powerful enough to keep yourself from dying? Why not? What kind of power would it take to keep you from dying, or conversely, living Forever? Humans don’t have the power or the technological intelligence needed to live Forever. God does, because God live Forever. The great act of love (emptying self) to allow humans to live Forever (Phl 2:5-12) is at the heart of the Resurrection and Ascension to the Father in glory. It means we are adopted sons and daughters and heirs of the Kingdom of Heaven. What Heaven is, is not clear to be. I know I want to be there. I hope in the words of Christ to his faithful ones who have not seen and yet believed. I trust that there will be some sort of containment field in Heaven to shield us from pure energy destroying our minds and hearts. Jesus said there are many mansions in his Father’s house.

 

Let’s summarize. God is God. Humans are human and everything else that lives is animal nature. Divine nature created human nature and animal nature (all all matter, time, and energy).

 

EXAMPLES OF ACTING YOUR NATURE

What follows are some of my thoughts about the three types of nature (divine, human, and animal) as they apply to some key concepts of our Faith.

WHO IS GOD?

Divine nature –  God is the one who is. God is one in nature but three in persons (Father, Son, Holy Spirit). Jesus has both a divine nature and a human nature and exists on the level of God.

Human nature — God does not have a human nature. Jesus Christ, God’s Son has both a divine and human nature. He is one with God in his divnity and humanity.

Animal nature– God does not have an animal nature.

WHO ARE ADAM AND EVE?

Divine nature –  God is the one who is. God is one in nature but three in persons (Father, Son, Holy Spirit). Jesus has both a divine nature and a human nature and exists on the level of God. God made the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve are not God although they wanna be.

Human nature — God does not have a human nature. Jesus Christ, God’s Son has both a divine and human nature. He is one with God in his divnity and humanity. Adam and Eve have human nature, not divine nature. Adam and Eve do not have an animal nature, although they are Spiritual Apes. Adam and Eve were created to take care of the human and animal nature, not the divine nature.

Animal nature– God does not have an animal nature. Adam and Eve do not have an animal nature.

 MARY, THE MOTHER OF GOD

Divine nature –  God is the one who is. God is one in nature but three in persons (Father, Son, Holy Spirit). Jesus has both a divine nature and a human nature and exists on the level of God. God made the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve are not God although they wanna be. If Jesus was not God and Man, Mary would not be the Mother of God but only the Mother of Jesus, as Islam and Jewish theology holds. Mary does not have a divine nature, only Jesus has that. We cannot adore or pray to Mary because that would be against the First Commandment. Mary is not God and has only a human nature.

Human nature — God does not have a human nature. Jesus Christ, God’s Son has both a divine and human nature. He is one with God in his divnity and humanity. Adam and Eve have human nature, not divine nature. Adam and Eve do not have an animal nature, although they are Spiritual Apes. Adam and Eve were created to take care of the human and animal nature, not the divine nature. Mary is not God and has only a human nature. The Apostles are not God, only human. No one goes to the Father except through the Son, or anyone to whom the Son chooses to allow. (John 14:6) As members of the Body of Christ, together we rise from the dead with Christ and ascend to the Father with Christ as our mediator. By ourselves, we cannot approach the Father. Human nature is affected by the Original Sin of Adam and Eve and we have its effects with us today. We must die. Christ overcame death by his Resurrection and Ascension. As our mediator, we use the human nature of Christ to give glory to the Father, something that Adam and Eve did not do, something that the living Body of Christ does each day.

Mary’s soul magnifies the Lord. Think of that! Christ is the magnifying glass making all things clearer, larger, brighter, and more detailed. Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life (John  14:6). Using the lense of Christ, our Faith is magnified so that we can see what cannot be seen, and hear what cannot be heard. As a Lay Cistercian what that means to me is the ability to place my heart next to the heart of Christ in silence and solitude and wait. Like Mary, the Mother of God, we ponder all these things in our heart.  When we say we pray to Mary or the Saints, that is not entirely true. What is true is that we can only pray to God and, since we hold that people in Heaven actually live in Christ, we ask them to join us in giving praise and glory always through Christ. We do not pray to Mary directly, only to ask her to join us with Christ in our lifting of our minds and hearts to God.

Animal nature– God does not have an animal nature. Adam and Eve do not have an animal nature.

ORIGINAL SIN

Divine nature –  God is the one who is. God is one in nature but three in persons (Father, Son, Holy Spirit). Jesus has both a divine nature and a human nature and exists on the level of God. God made the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve are not God although they wanna be. If Jesus was not God and Man, Mary would not be the Mother of God but only the Mother of Jesus, as Islam and Jewish theology holds. Mary does not have a divine nature, only Jesus has that. We cannot adore or pray to Mary because that would be against the First Commandment. Mary is not God and has only a human nature. There is no sin in the divine nature. Sin means to miss the point, failure to hit the bulls eye, the inability to do live according to one’s nature. 

Human nature — God does not have a human nature. Jesus Christ, God’s Son has both a divine and human nature. He is one with God in his divnity and humanity. Adam and Eve have human nature, not divine nature. Adam and Eve do not have an animal nature, although they are Spiritual Apes. Adam and Eve were created to take care of the human and animal nature, not the divine nature. Mary is not God and has only a human nature. The Apostles are not God, only human. No one goes to the Father except through the Son, or anyone to whom the Son chooses to allow. (John 14:6) As members of the Body of Christ, together we rise from the dead with Christ and ascend to the Father with Christ as our mediator. By ourselves, we cannot approach the Father. Human nature is affected by the Original Sin of Adam and Eve and we have its effects with us today. We must die. Christ overcame death by his Resurrection and Ascension. As our mediator, we use the human nature of Christ to give glory to the Father, something that Adam and Eve did not do, something that the living Body of Christ does each day.

Mary’s soul magnifies the Lord. Think of that! Christ is the magnifying glass making all things clearer, larger, brighter, and more detailed. Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life (John  14:6). Using the lense of Christ, our Faith is magnified so that we can see what cannot be seen, and hear what cannot be heard. As a Lay Cistercian what that means to me is the ability to place my heart next to the heart of Christ in silence and solitude and wait. Like Mary, the Mother of God, we ponder all these things in our heart.  When we say we pray to Mary or the Saints, that is not entirely true. What is true is that we can only pray to God and, since we hold that people in Heaven actually live in Christ, we ask them to join us in giving praise and glory always through Christ. We do not pray to Mary or any other of the Saints, directly, only to ask her to join us with Christ in our lifting of our minds and hearts to God.

Original Sin is the archetypal sin that is at the root of the condition we find around us. Humans are not evil creatures or have a rotten nature. Our nature is wounded by Orginal Sin and we suffer the effects. Jesus became one of us to free us from Original Sin through Baptism and to allow us to be adopted sons and daughters, heirs of the Kindgom of heaven. Christ gave his Body, the Church, the power to make all things new through the forgiveness of sins and the admonition to love each other as Christ loves us. Any sin is not acting our nature because the rules for how to live in the 

Animal nature– God does not have an animal nature. Adam and Eve do not have an animal nature.

Original Sin affects all human, animals, all reality, outside of the divine nature. Everything is born, lives, and then dies. For humans, we have reason for a reason (to get to Heaven) and find meaning (to survive in Heaven). 

 

LEARNING POINTS

  • I am not you; you are not me; God is not you; and you, most certainly, are not God.  –Michael F. Conrad
  • Man was created to live in Heaven. Adam and Eve committed the Original Sin, wanting to live in a nature that was not their own. Because of that, someone had to atone for their sin. The act of disobedience is measured against the one offended not the one offending.
  • God had to atone for the sin against God. Jesus took on the nature of a servant/slave to reconcile humanity with the Father.
  • Jesus is both God and Human (Phlippians 2:5-12).  Jesus had to suffer, die and be resurrected as the price of the atonement.
  • The Resurrection, according to the Scriptures, is the ultimate sign of the mystery of Faith, the proof for those who believe, that God’s words to use are true.
  • Without the Resurrection, Faith is dead and without merit. God is not God, if there is no Resurrection. All we do on earth will end up in death, without the Resurrection. If there is no Resurrection, the words of Christ as just philosophical meanderings, a good way to live your life, but not capable of allowing us to live in the Kindgom of Heaven.
  • Christ makes all things new in each age, just as he did when he walked the earth.
  • St. John says that the Scriptures: “…are recorded so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believe this you may have life through his name.” (John 20:30-31)
  • The Resurrection allows humans to act their nature. It is the fierce love that God had for us that He sent His Son to move us from Human Nature to being adopted sons and daughters of the Father and heirs of the Kingdom of Heaven.

READ THE FOLLOWING SCRIPTURE AND COMMENT ON IT 

Romans 6 New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)

Dying and Rising with Christ

What then are we to say? Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For whoever has died is freed from sin. But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

12 Therefore, do not let sin exercise dominion in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. 13 No longer present your members to sin as instruments[a] of wickedness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and present your members to God as instruments[b] of righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

Slaves of Righteousness

15 What then? Should we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that you, having once been slaves of sin, have become obedient from the heart to the form of teaching to which you were entrusted, 18 and that you, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. 19 I am speaking in human terms because of your natural limitations.[c] For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to greater and greater iniquity, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness for sanctification.

20 When you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 So what advantage did you then get from the things of which you now are ashamed? The end of those things is death. 22 But now that you have been freed from sin and enslaved to God, the advantage you get is sanctification. The end is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The purpose of the Resurrection is for you, member of the Body of Christ, to fulfill your destiny as a human being, “…to know, love, and serve God in this lifetime and be happy with God in the next.” (Baltimore Catechisms, Question Six)

For some, the Resurrection is the ultimate stumbling block, a sign that Christ is just a passing reed shaken by the wind, a seed planted on rocky ground, a fig tree that never bore fruit.

What is the Resurrection for you and your journey? Looking back at all that you read in this reflection on the Resurrection, how does everything fit together?________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Praise be to God the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and forever. The God who is, who was, and who is to come at the end of the ages. –Cistercian Doxology

 

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