Several months ago, a group of us in Tallahassee, Florida met to talk about forming a discernment group to see if anyone is interested in forming a Lay Cistercian prayer group. After our initial prayer to ask the Holy Spirit to be with us and for us to be open, we introduced ourself. We gave who we are, where we are practicing our Faith right now (parish) and a word or two about why we are here. I bring this up because each one of us identifies who we are by our name. Granted, as time goes on, we learn more about each other as we dig deeper into our Faith journey, what we believe, our struggles, our triumphs. All of these things define who we are in our own minds, and also in the minds of those with whom we meet.
I thought you might be interested in reading an excerpt from a book I wrote some years ago entitled Who Does God Think He Is, Anyway? God?
A God That Matters
“If humans ever voted for a God, it might be someone to save them from oppression, and tyranny. A God who is powerful is seen as being able to vanquish his enemies. The Old Testament saw God as “El Shadai”, the powerful one who lived on top of the mountain. In the New Testament, the paradigm changed. If you would be a leader, said the Master, you must learn to serve others. The real God came to free us from ourselves, our limitations of merely living in the physical and mental universes. The real God doesn’t save you from anything outside of yourself.”
The Physical Universe
God set in motion the laws God set in motion the laws God set in motion the laws God set in motion the laws God set in motion the laws of matter, energy, and of matter, energy, and of matter, energy, and of matter, energy, and of matter, energy, and time.
The Mental Universe
God set in motion the God set in motion the God set in motion the God set in motion the God set in motion the limitless potential of the limitless potential of the limitless potential of the limitless potential of the limitless potential of the human mind. human mind. human mind. human mind. human mind.
The Spiritual Universe
God set in motion the God set in motion the God set in motion the God set in motion the God set in motion the guidelines of spirituality, guidelines of spirituality, guidelines of spirituality, guidelines of spirituality, guidelines of spirituality, opening the doors to opening the doors to opening the doors to opening the doors to opening the doors to Heaven for those who Heaven for those who Heaven for those who Heaven for those who Heaven for those who choose.
You must live in three universes to be spiritual. You must live in three universes to fulfill your human destiny.
FIRST UNIVERSE: PHYSICAL, the universe of matter, elements, gases, the earth, animals and plants. Humans live in this universe as animals. Science studies this universe to find out about life.
SECOND UNIVERSE: MENTAL, the universe of the mind, love, meaning, and reason. Only humans live in this universe. Humanists live in this universe. Critical thinkers live in this universe to find out about life and meaning. You need this universe to make the jump to the next one.
THIRD UNIVERSE: SPIRITUAL, the universe of pure thought, pure energy, pure love. The third universe has two parts. It begins while we live on earth and continues when we go to heaven. Humans learn what it means to be spiritual on earth, then continue to find out about life, meaning in heaven. We are destined for forever, not the grave. Do you automatically go to heaven? It depends on your relationship with God, your family, and your friends.
A God That Matters…characteristics
A God That Matters Would Not Live in Matter.
Read Philippians 2:5-11. Think about it! Would you want a God that will die? One that deteriorates? One limited by decay? One confined by space and time? One subject to the properties of matter, as we know them today? One that evolved from monkeys? One that makes little God Juniors? One that is solely male? One that has to learn by assimilation of ideas? Even if God were billions of years beyond us in the evolutionary process, which I do not believe, that Being would still be subject to the limitations of matter. Matter may be infinite, but it is not the stuff of which God is made. Infinity of matter is still finite. So then, what kind of God do we have?
Our God is not like us, yet the Master become one of us to show us the way. What a God we have. Wow!
We are not a game that God plays to amuse Himself.
Humans like to play games. Men, in particular, seem to have a propensity for playing power games, like King of the Universe. The Caesars, Alexander the Great, Attila the Hun, Genghis Kahn, Napoleon, Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Pol Pot, Slobodon Milosovich, Irish Republican Army, Ulster Constabulary, Saddam Hussein, and Osama bin Ladin, all tried to use armies to take over territory under the guise of some righteous cause, such as peace, usually in the name of God. How primitive! Men have always tried to play God. When God gave the Ten Commandments, which one was the first? Read Deuteronomy 5:6-7.
With your eyes, all you can see is visible reality.
But, take a look at reality from the side. Three universes are stacked on top of one another. Using the laws of Nature, all reality evolves towards one end point called Omega. Christ said he was the Alpha and the Omega.
A God that matters helps you to see what you cannot find by yourself. What kind of God would create humans, give them human reasoning and the ability to choose freely what is good for them or what is bad for them? We can discover a lot about the physical universe…we live in it with all other matter, energy, and time. But, we could not lift ourselves up to the next level without help (Genesis 2-3). Some people call that evolution. No problem. We needed help to make it to the next level, as Teilhard de Chardin says to the next level of existence (the biosphere). Why do all species except do not have the ability to reason and make free choices of what is good or bad for them? Why is that?
Sue Ellen always wanted to be a molecular biologist like her Mom. She would spend hours at the microscope looking at life. As she got older and obtained her Ph.D., it seems that so many doors were opening she had trouble keeping up with her field. Along with two other colleagues, she was nominated for a Nobel Prize in Medicine. Sue Ellen never considered herself a spiritual person, such as going to church, reading the Bible, but every time she looked at living cells, she would marvel at the invisible force that propelled these cells to survive. She knew there was a supreme force out there somewhere. Sue Ellen believed in what she could see. Like an iceberg, most of the values we hold dear are invisible reality hidden under the surface. As Sue Ellen matured, she began to deduce that life propels itself towards a higher level, in this case God. She began to integrate her science with the thinking that enabled her to explore the wonder of spirituality. Although she could never articulate her thoughts, she came to see that all like was linked together in a grand design that moved forward towards an unseen destiny. She wanted to be part of that destiny. Do you think Sue Ellen was a spiritual person?
A God that matters is universal.
Everything in space and time has limits. God has no limits because God does exist not in space and time. Think about i! God told Moses that he simply is. A limited God would not be powerful enough to make an unlimited universe without space and time. Not enough energy for that. What is the source of power? Nuclear Fission? Try pure love! That sounds like it is a bedtime story. Or is it? Even the Big Bang, if you believe that hypothesis, had to have a spark to ignite it. Like cooking hamburgers, someone must light the charcoal. If pure love is a form of pure energy, it is the missing part of the formula for reality. But, there are no chemicals, gases, elements in the spiritual universe. How can there be energy? Yet, energy is the constant that binds all three universes together. Ever think about pure energy? Some characteristics: no source, no decay, no readings at 80% of capacity, no way to measure it because it is off-the-scale. Heaven is the interface between the love of the Father for the Son and the love of both produces a person, the Spirit. Read John 14:24-31. The greatest source of power in all universes is love, and that interaction depends on you for the spark. How wonderful!
Patricia Ann had been disturbed for some time with her church. She had seen what she considered the rigid, superficial trapping of Sunday Liturgy. She looked around and did not see anyone doing anything to be of service to others. Everyone, she thought, was a hypocrite. She was very discouraged and started looking for a place to call home. After twenty years of trying this and that way of thinking, she just happened to return to her old church for Sunday Service. When she went in people greeted her by name, remembering her from over twenty years ago. It was as though she had attended for the first time. This time, Patricia Ann heard people plead for help for projects for the homeless, migrant workers, prison ministry, and education. She found what she had searched for all these years, right in her own backyard. The rigid and cold church had changed, or was it Patricia Ann that changed?
A God that matters won’t let you won’t let you flounder.
Without your human mind, you would not be able to know God. When Moses went up on the mountain to talk with God, had he not had his intelligence, he would not have been able to receive The Law. Imagine a goat going up on the mountain instead of Moses. Goats don’t have what we have–the ability to choose God. God did not give his commandments to a mountain goat. What God did not give Moses was how to make his name known to other people. He trusted Moses to come up with that solution, just like He trusts you to make the Word known to those around you.
In a sense, Moses was the universal translator of who God is to those around him. You, too, must translate what God wants and who God is, not what you want. Some people think they are doing God’s will, but are far from it. Read Matthew 23:13-32.
A God that matters gives you the tools to gives you the tools to find meaning.
A God That Matters Does Not Give You Does Not Give You Obstacles You Can’t Reach.
FULFILLING YOUR DESTINY AS A HUMAN. MISSION IMPOSSIBLE?
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to discover the purpose accept it, is to discover the purpose for your existence and then do something about it.
1. Spirituality helps you by using your mental abilities to discover a spirituality that is dynamic–one that does something positive and good for this world in which you live. Not all spirituality is authentic but only one given to us by God.
2. Without help, this would be mission impossible indeed. With the help of the Master, we have a friend to help us.
3. To find God, God must help you by getting rid of the obstacles that hinder your mind. You have a chance to become spiritual and a chance to find out what that means for you. Contemplation helps you to go to a place where you dare not look…in the depths of your spirit.
The spiritual universe is not just going to church on Sunday, although that is part of it. This spiritual universe is voluntary. You must want to live in it. It is a perspective that says our destiny is to be with God in Heaven.
Here is a question. If you don’t have a spiritual center, and you divorce, can you survive? Of course you can. You can choose to have a wonderful life while on earth. You make lots of money, you have a wonderful family, good friends to be with you, you can travel and enjoy nature. Life can be humanly rewarding. Spirituality means you believe there is something more than mere human living– you must fulfill your destiny as a human being. That destiny can only be accessed through spirituality. Your destiny is not on this earth, but to be with God…Forever.